At St Chad’s C.E. Primary School, we believe that reading is an essential and rewarding life skill and so it is our aim to ensure everyone leaves St Chad’s as a reader. Reading is a fundamental skill which enables our children to access all areas of the curriculum and all areas of learning. We believe that reading is integral to our children’s understanding and appreciation of the world around them. Through text, our children will experience different cultures, obtain reassurances and build self-esteem. They will also develop their understanding of vocabulary, imagination and cultural difference. This is why reading and texts surround our children. It is a doorway to their future and is a vital tool to success.
Our ultimate aim is not to persuade children to read, but for children to choose to read independently and to have the same love for books as we do. We want our children to be excited for story time everyday and for it something they cherish and remember.
At St Chad’s C.E. Primary School, we teach children the significance of books and to have a love for reading right from the start. All classes have high quality reading for pleasure story time, where time is given for books to be read and listened to for enjoyment. As children move through our school the way reading is taught changes to suit the needs of our children and to ensure reading strategies are taught progressively.
Whole Class Reading
Once our children have completed the ‘Little Wandle’ scheme they are confident decoders who can read fluently at an expected Year 1 level. These children then progress onto our Whole Class Guided Reading lessons, for most of our children this change happens at the beginning of Year 2. In Whole Class Reading sessions the children read a selection of carefully chosen high quality texts. Throughout their time from Year 2 to Year 6, the children will cover a range of authors and genres, including texts centred around diversity.
The Whole Class Reading model follows the same format weekly. During the first session, on a Monday, the children read a selection of pages from the text. Prior to reading the children are taught 4 key words from the selection of pages. Teachers choose words from the tier 2/3 category that children need to know to help understand the text. These words are displayed for the week and actions are taught alongside each word to help make them stick. Children then use these words in their writing lessons, they are not just for reading. Previously taught words are revised and revisited throughout the guided reading sessions.
The first Monday read involves a variety of methods including echo reading, choral reading and choosing individual children to jump in. Once the selected pages have been read using these methods, the text is then re-read, again with the teacher leading through the varied methods, or through paired reading. Children spend the rest of this session re-reading the text for fluency.
The second session then introduces the focus skill for the remainder of the week. These skills are displayed in every classroom on our reading posters, and cover the reading skills of retrieval, infer, predict, language, evaluate, summarise, justify, decode, opinion and prosody. The skill is introduced and the class teacher models how to answer questions using the focus skill. The children then practice this skill themselves through independent questions. Throughout the remaining sessions of the week, the children work independently to answer written questions about the text they have been focusing on. These questions always cover language and retrieval and then the focus skill of the week. In upper KS2 the independent questions cover a range of skills. We refer to ‘The Literacy Shed’ when writing questions to ensure they are age appropriate. All our guided reading texts can be found on ‘The Literacy Shed’
Whilst children are on the ‘Little Wandle’ scheme, they take home decodable books at their level to read. After completing this scheme, they move onto our book banded home readers and take home a book from their colour band to read at home. Children in Early Years and KS1 are expected to read at least 3 times a week to an adult at home, who will then sign their diary. This progresses to 4 times a week in KS2. Children who have their diary signed the correct number of times each week receive a raffle ticket on enter our half termly ‘In It To Win It’ prize draw!
In school, as well as having whole class reading sessions, children will read with an adult at least once every week. Some of our pupils have more frequent 1:1 reading sessions to help support their progress. Staff assess fluency and misconceptions through these 1:1 reading sessions and children complete termly NFER reading test materials to further inform the ongoing teacher assessments.
As well as taking home a decodable phonics book or a book banded book, our children also select a reading for pleasure book from our library.
Through the support of our PFA we have recently opened a school library. The children visit the library once a week to select a reading for pleasure book to share at home with their family. There are also opportunities to return to the library throughout the week to change books more frequently, these open sessions are manned by some of our enthusiastic pupil librarians. In the classrooms there are also welcoming book corners for children to enjoy during the school day.
Reading for Pleasure
Story time is a key part of our school day and is enjoyed by both staff and children. It is a time to appreciate listening to a book for pleasure and enjoyment, not for completing work with.
In Early Years and KS1, story time takes place everyday and in KS2 there is a dedicated story time session at least 3 times a week. The books shared with children in story time are taken from our carefully chosen Super 6 texts (6 quality texts) and these are read to the class throughout the term. Each term these 6 texts change. The Super 6 books ensure children are exposed to an inclusive range of genres, including poetry and non-fiction throughout the term.
The impact of reading is that the children at St Chad’s read for pleasure whether this is in or out of school and have a greater understanding of what they are reading. Our children know and can discuss the skills needed for reading and comprehension. They enjoy the texts chosen for their whole class reading sessions and can discuss them with an adult. They say “I loved the twist in the story.” “It’s a really funny book, but it’s not just about a bathroom! We get to find out a lot about the characters.” Our children can make recommendations to each other based on what they have read. They can also identify authors they like to read including Louis Sachar, Roald Dahl, Katherine Rundell, Frank Cottrell-Boyce and others.
The reading levels and fluency of our pupils is improved and their attitudes towards reading are positive. Our children enjoy reading and are excited to be choosing books from our new library. They leave St Chad’s C.E. Primary School with a love of reading, which we hope will stay with them for life.