We believe reading is at the heart of all learning and that books should be at the heart of every child’s learning journey.
Most adults have fond memories of their favourite childhood stories, there is something magical about getting totally lost in a good book whatever your age. At school we encourage children to develop a love of books and reading which we hope will stay with them beyond primary school.
Our Approach to the Teaching of Reading
As reading is a key life skill, it is taught in English lessons and used across the whole curriculum.
At Church of the Ascension, we promote the importance of reading for enjoyment and aim to ensure that all children throughout the school always have a book available to read. We focus on the teaching of reading in two ways: the teaching of decoding words and the comprehension, or understanding, of the text. Each phase in school has their own library stocked with high quality fiction and non- fiction texts which the children have access to every day.
In Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, the children use the ‘Dot Library’ where the can select books from a range within their own reading ability. Teachers ensure the children are moved to the next level as soon as appropriate, allowing the child to be challenged in their reading. Parents are also encouraged to share and discuss the books their children bring home.
In lessons the children are taught phonics in daily, high quality and enjoyable sessions. The teachers focus on developing the skill of recognising sounds and blending these together to decode unfamiliar words. This understanding of phonics will eventually lead to independent and confident readers who gain fluency in their reading, even when faced with unfamiliar vocabulary.
In Key Stage 2 the children follow a reading programme called Accelerated Reader which is a computer-based system to calculate the reading ability of each child. The children choose books from a selection within their individual capabilities and then complete an online quiz once they finish reading the book. The data collected from these online tests and quizzes allows teachers to closely monitor progress in daily reading. Parents can access information collected about their child’s reading progress by using the ‘Home Connect’ element of Accelerated Reader.
Children in Key Stage 2 also complete a reading diary as a record of their home and school reading, where they are encouraged to make comments and share their opinions, add new vocabulary and parent’s comments. This is a vital communication between home and school about the reading habits of each child.
In English lessons, as well as reading together, the children will spend some time listening to the teacher read, this allows children to hear the intonation of voice and how to develop characters within a story. Teachers use reading together for questioning understanding and encouraging children to explore themes and share their opinions. Each class will also complete book studies as the basis of English work each term.
Guided reading is a crucial part of the teaching of reading in all stages of the school. The guided sessions are timetabled effectively to allow teachers to spend valuable time sharing a text with a small group of approximately 6 children of similar reading ability. During these sessions, teachers will ask the children challenging questions relating to what they have read and develop their depth of understanding through discussion.
Throughout the school children are given the opportunity to read together and independently in a comfortable way which ensures they make progress and develop as readers. We continually strive to celebrate books and the joy of reading through whole school initiatives such as Roald Dahl Day, World Book Day and theatre visits to follow-up a book study.