At Suffolks, we understand the importance of reading as a life skill and the associated future prospects of being a literate adult. By the time they leave primary school, we want our children to develop a love and enjoyment of reading, which is underpinned by specific reading strategies and models to develop higher order comprehension.
Love of Reading
As a core curriculum driver, reading is given a high priority across the school. Every EYFS and KS1 classroom has a designated book area. There are reading displays across the school which are regularly updated. We have a 10-minute daily reading sessions where pupils are given the opportunity to listen to their class teacher read a book chosen by the class or teacher.
We have a wonderful well-stocked library filled with a range of engaging books to help promote a love of reading. Children are able to select books from a wide range of genres and cultures and can take them home to share with their families. The library is also for a variety of other purposes such as 'read to me sessions, quiet space for children to use at lunchtime and a library club after school where children can engage in a variety of activities linked to developing a love of books.
Speaking and Listening
Pupils are given opportunities to speak in pairs, small groups, to the larger audience in assemblies and are encouraged to speak in front of their peers. Pupils are expected to speak in full sentences using standard English in all areas of the curriculum and this is modelled by school adults. They share their news, feedback information from reading and research and give opinions in circle time and across the curriculum. Through these activities, pupils are encouraged to listen to others, respect turn taking within conversation and ask appropriate questions.
How we teach reading
At Suffolks, we have a rigorous and sequential approach to the teaching of reading. At all stages, reading attainment is assessed and gaps are addressed quickly and effectively for all pupils. Reading books connect closely to the phonics knowledge pupils are taught when they are learning to read.
Reading: Systematic Synthetic Phonics Programme
At Suffolks, we use the accredited Read Write Inc (RWI) phonics programme to teach phonics. This is started in Reception and runs through to the end of Year 1 for all pupils. From Year 2 onwards, pupils who are not at expected standard for reading are re-assessed to determine if they still require the phonics programme. In addition, pupils who are new to the school are assessed on entry to determine if they require phonics teaching. All pupils on the RWI programme are provided with a home reading book from RWI so that the texts closely match their current decoding ability.
Early Years Foundation Stage
Following the EYFS curriculum ensures that we set firm foundations for our children. There is a sharp focus on the teaching of phonics, language comprehension and communication skills, all necessary to prepare them for the next stage of their learning. Phonics is taught daily and children have the opportunity to develop their reading skills through all areas of the EYFS curriculum.
The reading pathway outlines the different stages that our children will move through on their journey to becoming a confident, independent reader. There are 5 stages to our pathway. Reading is taught every day for 40 minutes across the school. Children are regularly assessed to see which stage of the pathway they should be working on, regardless of what year group they are in. This ensures that children are taught according to their reading needs rather than their year group needs.
Stage 1 (pre-reading)
Children listen to and learn traditional stories, poems, rhymes and songs. They develop their language by using and understanding introduced vocabulary. Repetition of keywords and phrases support the children's language development. As preparation for the RWI programme pupils play games to develop their listening skills. Children begin to orally blend and segment the words. The initial letter sounds from the RWI programme are introduced in the Summer Term for those pupils who are ready. Children take home a wordless book used for oral story telling and a reading for pleasure book to share with their families.
Stage 2 and 3 (phonics and early comprehension)
At Stage 2 and 3 the main focus is the teaching of phonics. Using the Read Write Inc (RWI) phonics programme the 44+ phonemes are systematically taught. The children are taught to blend and segment words using these phonemes. They develop fluency by reading books matched to their growing phonics' awareness. The reading lessons are split into 2 sections: phonics and group reading. The children have the opportunity to apply their phonic skills in these lessons by reading fully decodable books that match the sounds that they know. There is also a focus on developing early comprehension (both oral and written) as we realise the importance of children developing these skills alongside word recognition.
Stage 4, 5 and 5+ (Developing comprehension and competency)
At stage 4 and 5 the main focus of our reading lessons is the development of the many strands that are needed to ensure that children become confident and skilled readers. Lessons across the week focus on deconstructing a text, with a strong focus on understanding key vocabulary and phrases. Children are also taught how to answer different question types (see below) by focussing on the skills needed to answer these questions. A wide range of diverse texts and genres are used which reflect our multicultural community. Texts are also used that link to other areas of the curriculum that the children are learning about. Children on Stage 4 and 5 use the Accelerated Reader programme as their home reading book. Children on Stage 5+ are our competent readers.
As one of our 4 curriculum drivers we feel it is vital for children to develop a breadth and depth of vocabulary during all reading sessions. From Nursery to Year 6 children are given the opportunity to focus on the learning of new vocabulary. Visualisation, paired talk, thinking aloud and role play support the children in developing a deeper understanding of new words. With a developing vocabulary the children become more proficient readers.
Accelerated Reader Programme
AR is part of the Renaissance Reading software package adopted by the school to encourage and improve reading, measure growth of the individual reader and to provide quality reading for all. It allows for personalised learning targets to be set up and for progress to be easily monitored.
Your child will choose a book at their own level and read it at their own pace. When finished, they will take a short quiz on the computer. Passing the quiz is an indication that your child has understood the book. The AR books chosen by your child will provide them with the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills they have developed.
Catch-up Readers (Intervention groups)
In UKS2, children who are on Stage 3 and 2 have the opportunity to read books from the Catch-Up series. These books are perfect for older children who have gaps in their phonics knowledge but who also need to read exciting, beautifully illustrated, age-appropriate stories.
Reading at Home
Reading together for 10 minutes a day can make all the difference. Children at Stage 2 and 3 will be given a book to take home from our banded phonetically decodable text scheme to read and a book of their choice from our library. At Stage 4 and 5 children choose their books based on their AR reading level and area of interest.