Reading AT hIGHFIELD
At Highfield we aim to put reading at the heart of our curriculum. It is our mission to develop a wide range of reading skills to allow our pupils to access and understand the world around them. Furthermore, we want children to leave Highfield with a passion for reading. Not only do we know the enjoyment that reading can bring, we also know that studies show that reading for pleasure is more important for children's cognitive development than their parents' level of education and is a more powerful factor in life achievement than socio-economic background.
HOW WE TEACH READING
Enjoyment and Decoding
From the start, we encourage children to build positive attitudes towards reading through frequent story time which runs throughout the school from Nursery to Year 6. During this time, teachers aim to model enjoyment, fluent reading and expression.
During Early Years and KS1, children are explicitly taught phonics and decoding skills through our Read Write Inc Phonics programme (RWI) which includes teaching synthetic phonics, sight vocabulary, decoding and encoding words as well as spelling. For more information, see our dedicated RWI web page.
Once children have reached the end of the RWI Phonics programme (in readiness for Year 2 for most children), more emphasis is placed on the teaching of comprehension skills including:
Retrieval - finding relevant information within a text
Inference - understanding what the writer is suggesting
Defining vocabulary - understanding new words in a context
Summarise - recognising the main ideas and events of a text
Predicting - making relevant suggestions about what may occur later in the text
Link - understanding how the content within a text is related and contributes to wider meaning
Exploring language choices - understanding how meaning is enhanced through the writer's choice of words and phrases
Compare - recognising similarities and differences between authors, books and characters
These content domains are taught at least once each term through whole class reading sessions from Year 2 to Year 6 in which classes digest a range of texts including fiction novels, poetry anthologies and non-fiction texts related to their classes' theme. Lessons, which amount to two hours per week, focus on one specific skill and use a range of strategies including oral discussion, partner talk, drama.
At Highfield, we recognise the importance of expanding children's vocabulary in order for them to understand future reading and enable them to communicate more effectively. Therefore, each reading session begins with explicit teaching of new words which will appear within that lesson's reading. This is one of our strategies to help all children access challenging and engaging texts.
All reading planning follows the objectives set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage and National Curriculum, which can be found here.
Not every child makes progress in reading at the same rate and there can be many factors including English being a second language. In EYFS and KS1, children progress through carefully assessed phonics groups which reflect their current attainment. Any children who arrive to Highfield in KS2 without these decoding skills access the RWI programme to build a strong foundation to support reading. Children in KS2 who are not quite ready to access whole class reading lessons are often supported through bespoke comprehension groups which build the core retrieval and inference skills required for understanding of year group texts.
We believe that we have created a challenging reading curriculum which offers a diverse range of inspirational texts.
READING FOR PLEASURE
As well as delivering a broad curriculum filled with a wide range of text types, authors and topics, we aim to promote reading through our environment, reading events and effective use of our library.
Throughout the school, each class has a dedicated reading area which is made to be inviting and filled with books that will excite and interest the children. Book swap boxes are a common feature of classrooms allowing children to share books they have enjoyed at home with others. Furthermore, our plush toy 'reading dogs' are taken home by a di
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Read, read, read! The first thing you can do to support learning is to offer opportunities for reading at home whether this be reading to your children or having them read to you. Our expectation is that each child reads to an adult at least five times a week for roughly fifteen minutes. Even at KS2 when many children are fluent readers, reading aloud and discussing texts with an adult at home is still vital.
How regularly children read at home is tracked by teachers through our special, themed reading tracker. Children who read at least five times a week are rewarded through special themed reading badges which are celebrated in assembly.
Early phonics and decoding skills can be practised using resources found here.
There are also a range of websites listed here which can support you in finding texts which will engage children of all ages.
By using the question stems on the 'Content Domain' posters below, you can engage your child in discussion about their reading.
If possible, modelling a positive attitude towards reading by being seen to read yourself can be very powerful.