Learning to read is one of the most important things your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.
We want your child to love reading and to want to read for themselves. This is why we work hard to make sure children develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.
At Longstone CofE (VA) Primary School, our aim is for all children to leave school, in Year six, as proficient readers. We aim to do this through:
Nurturing children’s early language development, so they continue to build a substantial bank of vocabulary, as well as nurturing their early decoding skills and deepening their understanding of texts.
Igniting their enthusiasm and desire to read a range of genres and for a range of purposes.
Providing opportunities for children to use their reading and allowing their reading skills to shine to themselves or to an audience.
We start by teaching phonics in Reception using the highly successful ‘Read Write Inc’ phonics programme. Children learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell. The children also practise reading (and spelling) ‘common exception words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’. These words are not phonetically decodable.
Our daily morning phonic groups are streamed, so that children work with other peers, who are working on the same graphemes. This allows staff to target their teaching to the group and their needs. Children continue to access phonics until they have learnt and consolidated all of the graphemes. We assess children’s phonic knowledge regularly, so we that we can ensure they are in the most suitable group. Children will move to a different group, when they are ready to learn the next set of graphemes or they will receive one-to-one support, if we think they need some extra support.
Children read aloud daily during phonics but in addition to this, once children can blend sounds together to read words, they are given an individual reading book, which matches the graphemes (the sounds) and the common exception words they know - this does wonders for their confidence. Children in Reception and KS1 read on a 1:1 basis, at least twice a week with teachers, teaching assistants or reading volunteers or three times a week, if they need more support. Also, we encourage family members to read these books with their child at home at least three times a week and make comments in their child’s reading record. If children need to work on their fluency skills after learning all the graphemes, they continue to work through our school reading scheme – these are levelled books which match the child’s current reading ability.
When children have developed a good fluency in their reading (usually in Key Stage 2 - Years 3, 4, 5 and 6), the children have access to Accelerated Reader books, which guides children to read suitable books aimed at their current comprehension level. Children in KS2 are also heard to read on a 1:1 basis, once every two weeks or at least twice a week, if we feel they need extra support with their fluency. This is on top of providing all children with daily class reading time
We recognise that systematic, high quality phonics teaching is essential, but additional skills and opportunities are needed for children to achieve the goal of being a well-rounded reader, namely comprehension. Alongside fluency, from Reception onwards, children’s comprehension skills are developed during Whole Class Reading sessions. During our Whole Class Reading sessions, children hear, read and enjoy high quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts, which (where possible) are linked to their topics across the curriculum. We set high expectations, so all books and extracts shared with children are aimed at the top end of the age groups.
In Reception, comprehension skills, such as inference and sequencing, are taught verbally through ‘book talk’, whereas from KS1, the expectation is that children’s thoughts and written comments are increasingly recorded in their reading journals. In KS1, we teach the comprehension skills of vocabulary, inference, predicting, retrieval and sequencing. In KS2, we continue to develop all the reading skills from KS1, plus summarising, commentating and authorial content. All these skills are linked to a dog character to support memorable learning for the children.
During our reading sessions, we recognise the importance of developing a rich and extensive bank of vocabulary; therefore, we discreetly teach vocabulary directly linked to the text. A range of activities are used during our Whole Class Reading, such as creating character profiles; answering questions and visualising a text. Our Whole Class Reading follows a flexible structure of diving into our class reading book; book talk activities and exploring comprehension domain questions.
We firmly believe reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments. Children have the opportunity to enter the wide and varied magical worlds that reading opens up to them. As they develop their own interest in books, a deep love of literature across a range of genres, cultures and styles is enhanced. Through the teaching of systematic phonics and reading comprehension, our aim is for children to become fluent and confident readers who can apply their knowledge and experience to a range of texts through the Key Stage 2 curriculum.
In addition to this:
Parents and carers will have a good understanding of how they can support reading at home, and contribute regularly to home-school records.
The % of pupils working at age related expectations and above age related expectations within each year group will be at least in line with national averages and will match the ambitious targets of individual children.
There will be no significant gaps in the progress of different groups of pupils (e.g. disadvantaged vs non-disadvantaged)
Teachers regularly read a class reading book to their class to develop reading for pleasure; to excite and engage the children and to expose them to new and varied vocabulary. On top of this, across school, children and staff all take part in ERIC time (Everyone Reading in Class), which gives children time to read any type of text from cook books to farming magazines and beyond. Staff also model reading for pleasure during this time, so that children see reading is a culture of our school.
We have provided our children with enrichment days and activities to further develop their love of reading, such as World Book Day; our Spring Reading Challenge and Storytelling Week.
Reading is a key life skill and we strive to embed a culture of reading into the core of what we do. We provide ample opportunities for children to read both independently and aloud. Reading and quality literature is implicitly interwoven into our curriculum. Furthermore, reading at home is encouraged and promoted through class incentives, such as stickers and awards.
Suggested Reading List
Encouraging Your Child to Read
Boys and Reading
Accelerated Reader Programme
Accelerated Reader (AR) is a system which we use with all children, who are on the latter stages of our school reading scheme and those who are ready to read chapter books – mainly children in KS2. It helps to accelerate progress in children's independent reading and understanding due to them being able to answer comprehension questions in a quiz form at the end of their book. Click on the button below to access more information about Accelerated Reader at Longstone School. Use the buttons below to see if your book is on Accelerated Reader and to access the quiz for your book.