Reading at TWA
At Thomas Whitehead CE Academy, our intent behind the teaching of reading is to ensure that, by the time each child leaves our school, they are able to read with fluency, have a wide and varied vocabulary, take pleasure in reading across a range of genres and have a strong motivation to read for a variety of purposes.
The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
Our Implementation of the Teaching and Learning of Reading
Our children participate in a one hour, daily English lesson where the teaching and learning is book based i.e. a specific book is chosen depending on the style of writing and grammar that the children are going to be learning in each unit. We use a wide variety of quality texts and resources to motivate and inspire our children. A book curriculum allows the teachers to personalise lessons by choosing novels and authors to engage and excite their class.
In addition to this, the opportunities, organisation and provision for the teaching and learning of reading are as follows:
All children in EYFS and KS1 are taught Phonics every day using Little Wandle and where necessary as an intervention in KS2.
A book banded reading scheme operates across the school (see Book Band Colour Overview) which comprises of a range of different schemes. Children work their way through the bands and then become free readers. All banded books used by children in KS1, and by some in KS2, are phonically decodable and children are placed on a band according to their phonic knowledge and/or reading comprehension age.
Our children have opportunities within the school day sit and read their reading book. During this time, teaching staff will listen to children read on a one-to-one basis. Each child has a reading record book which logs the books which they have read and comments on their reading. Parents and teaching staff write in this book. Children are encouraged to read at home every day and reading records are checked in school to see that this has occurred.
Each class has a longer book that the teacher reads to the children for at least fifteen minutes every day. This book is known as their ‘Class Reader’. At Thomas Whitehead CE Academy, the teacher reads and discusses the class reader book which develops the child’s love of reading, comprehension and deepens their vocabulary. The class reader book is particularly important as reading to children is a statutory requirement of the National Curriculum.
Each class reader has been specifically chosen to engage and excite the children. In some cases, the class reader may also be the book which has been chosen for their English lessons.
The class reader is very important at Thomas Whitehead CE Academy as a high percentage of our children come from disadvantaged backgrounds. By reading to our children, it is our aim to provide the following benefits:
- improve their imagination
- increase their knowledge of vocabulary
- develop greater listening skills
- develop a greater enjoyment of books
- widen their experience of other places, times and cultures
- develop their understanding of moral issues
- improve their writing skills
- internalise narrative patterns
- hear good models of spoken English
‘Stay and Read’ Sessions - (currently suspended due to Covid-19)
In KS1 and LKS2, parents and carers are encouraged to participate in the ‘Stay and Read’ sessions that have been introduced. The sessions run one morning a week where the child’s adult is allowed to accompany them into the classroom and sit and read with their child or a group of children for about 15 minutes before the school day starts. Stay and Read was introduced to develop communication links between the school, parents/carers and the wider school community. During these sessions, teachers are also able to work with the adults who have stayed and model to them how we teach reading to our children including the types of questions that we would ask to promote comprehension.
At Thomas Whitehead CE Academy, we have a whole school approach to the teaching of reading called ‘Reading Fluency’ (see Reading Fluency Overview). The aim of Reading Fluency is to improve the children’s ability to read a text with fluency and to deepen their vocabulary. Guided Reading is taught for a minimum of 1 hour across KS1 and KS2. Nursery and the EYFS teachers are also expected to follow the same approach, however at a level and timescale that is suitable for the needs of the children in their class.
The teaching of comprehension skills is separate to the teaching of Reading Fluency. However, the teacher may choose to use a text that has already been used for Reading Fluency when teaching comprehension skills. The aim of comprehension lessons is to teach the following skills:
- to identify/summarise the main ideas of a text
- to justify thoughts and views using supporting evidence from the text
- to compare, contrast or comment on ideas, characters, settings etc.
- to identify the meaning of words in context
- to discuss the author’s choice of vocabulary and its impact on the reader
At Thomas Whitehead CE Academy, it is important that the children see the importance of reading being celebrated in all areas of the school including in their classrooms. Each class has an engaging book corner that is expected to be immediately inviting. The children know and understand that any book in their book corner can be taken home and read in addition to their reading book and library book. Our book corners should be:
- separate from the rest of the class or be in a defined space
- relaxed and comfortable – consideration given to lighting, seating and creating displays at different heights, rugs and cushions, colours used effectively
- magical and intriguing – trinkets and plants and objects used to create the personal touch, drapes used to create warmth
- calm, quiet and inviting – an area in which books can be celebrated and enjoyed
How do our book areas invite the reader?
- Have a recommended book of the week from either the children or the teacher and recommended reads pinned up.
- Have an author/illustrator focus with a collection of books clearly displayed and labelled.
- Rotate texts and update the books on show/author focuses.
- Ensure core books are given their own special display place.
- Consideration given to storage- can we see book covers? Are books in baskets so that they are forward facing?
- Good quality texts and a range of texts available.
- Pictures and quotes from the children displayed.
- Books relating to current and previous topics given a high profile.
- Book covers printed and laminated and hanging down to invite the reader.
Each class has a thirty minute slot on the library timetable. Visits to the school library not only provide the children with an opportunity to change their books on a weekly basis but also to sit and read or discuss books with their friends.
Our Impact of Reading
Through the teaching of reading, our children will be able to leave primary school as fluent readers who are able to: comprehend the texts that they read; apply their broad vocabulary to other aspects of English i.e. their writing; read for pleasure or information. Our children will also have acquired many transferable skills which will be useful for the reading they will need to do at KS3 and beyond.
Reading Tests SATs and Assessments
At the end of KS1, in Year 2, and at the end of KS2, in Year 6, children will be tested on their reading skills by sitting their Reading Statutory Assessment Tests known as SATs. These tests are designed to assess how well each child is doing in relation to the National Curriculum programme of study for reading, and is primarily a test of reading comprehension. Children are given a series of texts to read, and must write answers to questions about what they have read.
There are two papers in the Reading test, each worth 20 marks. Each may include fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Children answer comprehension questions to show their understanding of the texts.
In Paper 1, children are given a booklet that contains a selection of short texts to read (between 400 and 700 words). There are questions to answer at various points within each text with space for children to write their answers. The test lasts approximately 30 minutes.
In Paper 2, children are given a booklet of longer texts (between 800 and 1100 words) and questions in a separate answer booklet. The test lasts approximately 40 minutes.
For the English Reading KS2 SATs, children are given a reading booklet and a separate reading answer booklet. The reading booklet may include fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Children answer comprehension questions to show their understanding of the texts.
The test is out of 50 marks and children have 60 minutes to complete it.
Progress in Reading Assessments (PiRA)
Children from Year 1 to Year 6 will have their progress in reading assessed routinely three times a year – Autumn Term, Spring Term and Summer Term – using PiRA. These termly tests enable our teachers to reliably benchmark every child’s performance and track their progress against national averages in reading.
Parents are encouraged to use the following websites to support their children’s learning of reading: