Our reading curriculum develops the ‘big five’: phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension (National Reading Panel Report, 2000). We are committed to providing rich, comprehensive reading experiences, offering pupils a range of opportunities to develop as fluent, enthusiastic and critical readers. Classrooms and the library provide a print rich environment. Reading displays include library corners, favourite books, book reviews, book of the week, author displays and collections of books on a similar theme.
We develop reading fluency through echo and reciprocal reading. This is where pupils have the opportunity to hear the words on the page spoken by their own voice following modelling by an ‘expert’ reader. We teach pupils to read accurately but quickly. We develop prosodic knowledge, which is the patterns of stress and intonation in a language. We develop reading fluency through carefully planned provision.
We aim to develop reading behaviours which increase:
stamina – pupils are able to read more text for a longer period whilst retaining understanding;
accuracy – pupils make less substitutions, omissions, mispronunciations, additions when reading a ‘cold’ text;
enjoyment – pupils read more and are more willing to explore a wider range of literature;
confidence – pupils tackle challenging texts with greater willingness and show improved tenacity in teasing out meaning;
engagement – pupils offer more extended contributions in group discussions about challenging texts.
Planned, explicit vocabulary teaching is threaded throughout our curriculum (Closing the Vocabulary Gap, 2018). We aim to teach the rich depth of words (etymology and morphology). We develop ‘word consciousness’, fostering curiosity and interest in words. We teach pupils to become ‘word detectives’, encouraging them to ‘magpie’ words.
Our curriculum pays attention to Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary (Bringing Words to Life, 2013). We draw upon Word Aware (Parsons and Branagan, 2014), using the STAR (select, teach, activate, review) process (Biachowicz and Fisher, 2010) to teach ‘Goldilocks’ words (Stahl and Nagy, 2005). In Year R and Year 1, we use Talk Boost for whole class and small group interventions. Planned, explicit vocabulary teaching is threaded throughout the curriculum.
Comprehension strategies include prediction, questioning, clarifying, summarising, inference and activating prior knowledge. We develop reading comprehension through carefully planned provision. Texts include a variety of fiction, non-fiction, travel writing, diaries, poetry, newspapers, magazines, comics, biographies and autobiographies, and can be in any format (print, online, e-books).
We teach reading in a variety of ways including:
Whole class reading – adults read aloud a class reader from our reading spine. This builds enthusiasm and enjoyment for reading. It influences independent reading and tunes pupils in to book language whilst developing pupils’ vocabulary.
Booktalk – dialogue about books is vital (Tell Me by Aiden Chambers). Pupils’ questions and intrigue about stories – their plots, characters and settings – lead to rich discussion and feed children’s love of books and reading. Booktalk is part of our English lessons.
Guided reading – groups are targeted through daily sessions, which focus on explicit modelling of successful reading strategies. Texts are selected at instructional level (90-94% accuracy) but also informed by the teacher’s knowledge and understanding of the pupils’ interests, background (prior knowledge) and previous experiences of texts.
Directed activities related to texts (DARTs) – independent activities develop pupils’ reading skills. These activities may include follow up comprehension questions, sequencing stories, character speech bubbles, group discussion or summarising text.
Reading buddies – pupils in Upper Key Stage 2 hear younger pupils read once a week. This has a dual benefit. It raised the older pupils’ self-esteem. It encourages the younger pupils to become readers and read for pleasure.
Individual reading – some pupils are heard read every week by a team of volunteers. These volunteers encourage a love of reading and also support comprehension by asking questions and developing vocabulary.