‘We shouldn’t teach great books we should teach a great love of reading’ – B.F. Skinner
At Nechells primary, we believe that the ability to read is fundamental to pupils’ development as independent learners, during their time at school and beyond.
Reading is central to our ability to understand, interpret and communicate with each other and the world around us. Success in reading has a direct effect on progress in all areas of the curriculum; therefore reading is given a high priority, enabling the children to become enthusiastic, independent and reflective readers across a wide range of literature, including different text types and genres.
Reading is a complex skill with many components. Our successful approaches to the teaching of reading encourage children to use a variety of strategies in their pursuit of meaning. It is important to lay firm foundations in this crucial area of the curriculum and establish a consistent whole school approach to the teaching of reading.
Reading should be an enjoyable experience, and allows children to develop both their imagination and their vocabulary. Independent readers should be encouraged to read for a sustained length of time allowing them to become ‘lost in a book’.
At Nechells we are committed to being a reading school. In order to fulfil this commitment we:
- Place reading and books at the centre of the curriculum.
- Recognise that being able to read is a key life skill for children, whatever their background.
- Believe that every child can learn to read with the right teaching and support.
- Acknowledge that not all children will have had the opportunity to develop a love of reading at home, so this has to be taught and encouraged at school – just like any other area of the curriculum.
- Build time for all children to read independently, read aloud and be read to during the school day.
- Develop a coherent whole-school strategy for promoting reading for pleasure.
- Believe that every teacher should be an advocate for reading.
- Develop time to training staff so they are equipped to support children’s enjoyment of reading.
- Involve parents to ensure the culture of reading that the school has developed extends into the home.
Guided reading sessions are introduced in reception and are then built upon through daily taught reading lessons in years 1 to 6.
Reading lessons focus on a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts with each class using one of our literature spine texts as the stimulus each half term.
We place a high emphasis on vocabulary with our aim being to make all pupils ‘word rich’. Texts are carefully selected as we believe that familiarity with the subject matter increases reading fluency, broadens vocabulary (you can pick up words in context), and enables deeper reading and listening comprehension.
Lessons are structured in a way to help pupils learn more and remember more. Relevant background knowledge and vocabulary is shared with pupils at the start of a unit, there are regular opportunities for retrieval practise and for pupils to transfer learning from one book to the next.
Reading interventions are organised for any pupils who are unable to access taught reading lessons due to cognition and learning needs or being new to country with limited English. For these children the focus of reading lessons is decoding and fluency. Carefully chosen schemes of work and personalised over learning opportunities are delivered in collaboration with the inclusion team and external specialists to ensure that gaps are closed and the children are able to re-access whole class reading lessons when appropriate.
A focus on ‘every child being a reader’ is the driver for all children being able to read fluently and through overlearning and pre-teaching comprehend the texts that they are accessing.
To ensure continuity and progression in reading, the English Team aims to ensure that all members of staff are trained in the whole school strategies and techniques which are currently in use and are made aware of new reading incentives as they are introduced. This is achieved through monitoring and CPD for all staff (when relevant) and induction and ongoing mentoring of new staff. Phonic training courses and appropriate reading courses are booked for all new staff and others as needed.
As children move through Key Stages and classes the goal of all teachers is to build on the reading progress already made. They consult with the previous teacher to ensure that they have a clear picture of which reading stage each child has reached and group children accordingly for reading activities. They ensure the whole school approach to the teaching of reading continues. At the end of each half term all groups are reviewed based on pupil progress. If a pupil’s progress is limited then an action plan is drawn up and support is put in place.
The whole-school approach:
- Every child has a reading book, a free choice book and a reading record.
- Every child in every class is heard and taught reading in the weekly taught reading sessions led by the class teacher.
- On a termly basis, all children complete a standardised reading test to track progress.
- All children have access to Bug Club online.
- All classes from Reception – Year 6 have specific authors for their class readers which are used for reading for pleasure.
- Every teacher reads to their class.
- Every classroom has a reading area where children are encouraged to read and borrow books.
- All children use the school library on a regular basis.
Reading for an audience is encouraged in class and assembly.