Reading at Castle Primary
INTENT – The Aims of the Reading Curriculum
Reading has a high profile at Castle Primary School. It is the key to effective learning. Children are encouraged to appreciate books, to read independently, to make good progress and to take immense pleasure in reading.
Our reading curriculum aims to:
- Develop and nurture an enjoyment and desire for reading.
- High quality, language rich books are used as a stimulus for writing and reading lessons.
- Stories are routinely read to children by a variety of adults in different contexts.
- Children are exposed to a wide range of stimulating text types in their class and school library.
- Pupils are given opportunities to apply their reading skills to real life contexts across the curriculum such as through diagrams, instructions, fact files and non-fiction texts.
- Develop independent and reflective readers who can read fluently for meaning.
- There is a focus on pupils’ fluency and reading stamina so children are able to read and comprehend challenging texts for longer periods of time.
- Read Write Inc. is used as a highly systematic phonics first and fast approach to the teaching of early reading, ensuring children learn to decode accurately and with automaticity so that they can concentrate on drawing meaning form the texts they read.
- There is explicit and progressive teaching of comprehension skills that enable children to access, understand and interpret what they read.
- Develop children who are language rich.
- Teachers ensure there are rich opportunities for purposeful book talk during reading lessons.
- Across the curriculum, children are systematically supported to build a wide and varied vocabulary.
- Drama is used to help children connect with characters they are reading about. It helps them express their understanding of texts and relate these to their lived experiences.
IMPLEMENTATION of the Castle Primary School Reading Curriculum
Reading in its entirety is a key priority at Castle Primary and is at the centre of all that we do. Teachers promote its enjoyment and importance in all aspects of our curriculum and across the school day. Teachers invest time in reading aloud to pupils in all year groups, from FS1 to Year 6, as well as discussing books they have enjoyed reading themselves. Initiatives such as visits to Bob the Book Machine are used throughout the school, to help keep pupils motivated and engaged.
Our reading curriculum has been carefully planned by the teaching staff as a whole to ensure progression in the following areas: decoding, comprehension and fluency.
The teaching of phonics
The teaching of early reading at Castle Primary is of paramount importance. At Castle Primary, we continue to develop a team of expert reading teachers who teach early reading and phonics with fidelity and passion every day without fail.
We follow the Read Write Inc. (RWInc) systematic synthetic phonics programme, which includes the use of fully decodable books that align with the order in which sounds are taught in daily phonics lessons. We have also invested in providing our children with fully decodable RWInc ‘Book Bag Books’ to take home to read and enjoy with adults in their families. This helps pupils to rehearse their application of phonic knowledge in a meaningful way that builds fluency. It also enables parents/carers to play an active part in children’s early acquisition of reading skills. Again, Book Bag Books are matched precisely to the programme of taught sounds and support accelerated progress in reading. Any pupil, regardless of age, who face challenges in learning to read is provided with high quality, one-to-one RWInc phonics tutoring every day by staff who are trained in leading reading interventions. This allows children to ‘keep up’ with the expected pace of learning rather than having to catch up’.
Reading in Reception
As well as the daily teaching of phonics as the route into decoding, in our Reception classes all children read individually with an adult as least once a week.
We also take active steps to foster a love of reading from the outset. Classrooms have a child friendly and welcoming book corner and books are also available in other areas of the classroom and in the outdoor learning environment as well. Reading materials include: stories to read to the dolls/creatures in the roleplay area; books about engineering, bridges and buildings in the construction area; information books about minibeasts in the discovery area; books about ships and boats in the water area and texts relating to art in the creative area. Books are an integral part of the Reception setting and reading and book talk is an important part of the environment. When new topics/enquiries arise, children visit the school library to get information books. We provide pupils with reasons to read. For example, adults will often scribe a story for a child and encourage them to read back through their writing.
Reading in Year 1 and Year 2 (Key Stage 1)
In Year 1 and Year 2, as well as the teaching of phonics there is a focus on developing children’s oral comprehension and reading for enjoyment.
All children have an opportunity to read individually with an adult at least once a week. This allows teachers to support children’s individual reading needs. During English lessons, teaching teams look for opportunities to deepen ‘book talk’ and to develop children’s spoken vocabulary. They spend time modelling how they make sense of the text using a strategy called ‘think-aloud’, which all staff have been trained to use.
Reading in Years 3 – 6 (Key Stage 2)
In Key Stage 2 children take part in a daily whole class reading lesson. The content of these lessons has been carefully planned by our staff team to ensure that the needs of our children are fully met. Each week, a section of text taken from the story or information text that is being used to support the teaching of writing is chosen as the focus for the reading lessons for the week.
When planning reading lessons teachers follow a set structure:
- Monday: The focus of the Monday reading lesson is developing children’s fluency and reading stamina. Teachers employ a range of different strategies to support children to become fluent readers. Time is dedicated to encouraging children to pause in the correct places, and to read with expression and appropriate pace.
- Tuesday: During the reading lesson on Tuesday, teachers plan activities to broaden children’s vocabulary. Children spend time discovering the meaning of unknown/unfamiliar words and teachers model strategies that the children can use to work out the meaning of words at the point of reading.
- Wednesday: Wednesday’s reading lesson focusses on developing children’s understanding at the point of reading. Teachers’ model and explain to children, how in the moment of reading, confident and competent readers employ a range of strategies to help them understand and enjoy what they are reading. For example, we visualize what we are reading; we use our background knowledge, and we predict and ask questions in our head. Teachers spend time modelling the different strategies and set tasks that allow children to show their ‘think alouds’.
- Thursday: Thursday’s reading lesson focuses on developing children’s ability to answer questions about a text. Teachers take a particular comprehension skill (for example inferring meaning, summarizing sections of text, explaining the impact of word choices etc.) and teach children how to gather the information needed to respond to questions that assess their ability to be able to draw meaning from the materials they read.
- Friday: On Friday, the reading skill addressed on Thursday is further developed through carefully planned open-ended reading tasks. For example, if the class is studying inference, the teacher may plan a hot seating or drama activity. This encourages children to think more creatively and more deeply about what they are reading.
Provision for children who are working below/above the level expected for their age
Children with SEN and those who are working below their year group
Children who are reading at a level below that expected for their age receive additional decoding and fluency interventions that are planned and monitored by their teacher and/or the SENCO/Inclusion Leader and delivered by teaching assistants who have received training in the provision of reading support.
Reading fluency sessions use ‘echo reading’ as a strategy to help build children’s fluency. Pre-teaching is also used as a strategy to support inclusion and enable children with SEN to participate in whole class reading lessons. This includes a familiarisation session where key vocabulary is taught, the characters are introduced and the setting/context for the text is explored. Where appropriate, a vocabulary mat will be created for children to take back into class.
During class based reading lessons, reading activities are adjusted and scaffolds are put in place to ensure that children can independently complete as much of the activity as possible.
Pupils working above the standard expected for their age
During reading lessons there will be a range of tasks that children need to complete, each becoming progressively more challenging. Teachers expect and support more able readers to complete all of the challenges set. Where appropriate, teachers will guide more able readers to skip initial challenges so that they start at the challenge level that will move their learning forward.
Sometimes, children who are reading at a level above that expected for their age will be set an additional text to read alongside the class text. This could be a book with a similar theme or a book by the same author. Children will be expected to read this second text independently and then complete tasks linked to both books. For example, children could be asked to present a comparison of the themes of the two books to the rest of the class.
Measuring the IMPACT of the Castle Primary School Reading Curriculum
RWInc provides detailed assessment procedures to ensure that all children on the programme make expected reading progress across Reception and KS1, and additional support is prioritised when a pupil starts to fall behind their peers. Teachers routinely complete RWInc assessments, and pupils’ progress is closely monitored by the school’s Reading Leader, who also monitors the teaching of reading.
Three times per year, standardised Progress in Reading Assessment (PIRA) tests are used with pupils in Years 2 – 6, to track progress and identify children who would benefit from additional support in reading. Alongside these reading comprehension assessments, teachers complete fluency checks and hold diagnostic reading conversations with pupils in their classes to build the detailed understanding of each child as a reader, required to facilitate effective next step planning of the reading curriculum.
Additionally, and equally importantly, the diagnostic reading discussions teachers and the Reading Leader hold with pupils, helps the school assess the impact of the reading curriculum children have accessed over time, because it is through such conversations that children’s enjoyment in and engagement with the literature, authors, and illustrators they have been introduced to, shines through.