At Timothy Hackworth Primary School, we strive to create an atmosphere that fosters a love of reading. Once we have captured a child’s interest in reading, we hope they will be a reader for their entire lives. We regard reading as one of the most important life skills, because it is the key, which unlocks the door to a world of knowledge and sparks imagination and interest.
Our school is proud to be part of the Literature Works initiative, which aims to promote reading for pleasure at school and at home. This approach involves a four stage process, which engages and immerses pupils deep into a text and from this, children write high quality pieces of writing. This reading into writing approach supports the children to with making progress in both areas of literacy.
Reading in Early Years (Nursery and Reception)
In the Early Years we provide a rich ‘Book’ experience, by giving endless opportunities to share books with adults. This develops a child’s enjoyment of books and other printed material, teaches them how to handle books and gives reading a real purpose. Together children can talk about stories or information, join in with familiar phrases and sing favourite rhymes, songs and jingles. Also they begin to make up stories of their own based on outdoor experiences, role playing adventures, or toys and jigsaws they have made. The Early Years has high quality book areas, where the books are accessible, owned and loved by children. With the addition of story props, sacks and boxes filled with desirable objects to enthuse.
From the beginning of Nursery we teach reading through a phonics approach, following the highly successful ‘Letters and Sounds’ document http://www.letters-and-sounds.com/what-is-letters-and-sounds.html
At the very beginning, the focus is on listening to and hearing sounds, rather than recognising the actual letters (graphemes), which come later. Our children have opportunities to explore different sounds in their environment, how to make and change sounds using musical instruments and create rhythms. This teaches them the pattern, pace and expression reading requires.
Through listening, our children learn to link sounds and letters in the order they occur in words, as well as naming and sounding letters in the alphabet. Oral segmenting (breaking up letters in words) and blending (putting them back together) plays a huge part in the steps to teaching a child to read.
In Reception children learn to recognise 42 letter sounds (graphemes), read CVC words (ship, cat, hat, chop) by blending letters together, recognise ‘tricky’ words, such as she, no, go, was, the and learn letter names. When they have achieved this, they begin to read short captions and simple sentences (The farmer gets up at six in the morning). Then it’s time to practice reading books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know, with our Book Band system.
Reading in Key stage 1 (Year 1 and 2)
Reading in Key Stage 1 continues with a phonics approach http://www.letters-and-sounds.com/what-is-letters-and-sounds.html, where systematic, daily, discrete teaching takes place, with opportunities for the children to practice and apply their skills in the context of reading. At this stage, we emphasise that reading for fluency is important, therefore by giving children opportunities to re-read familiar books, we build their confidence and they begin to feel like real readers!
By the end of year 1, the government require children to complete a phonics test.
‘The Phonics Screening Check is meant to show how well your child can use the phonics skills they’ve learned up to the end of Year 1, and to identify students who need extra phonics help. The Department for Education defines the checks as “short, light-touch assessments” that take about four to nine minutes to complete.’
At Timothy Hackworth Primary School, we take every measure to ensure that children are not stressed about this test. The children are used to phonics in their lessons and we incorporate the test into normal every day lessons.
More information for parents can be found at:
By the end of year 2, the government require children to complete a Reading test to check what they’ve learnt in Year 2.
Again, we make the children feel as comfortable as possible about these tests. Children complete the tests with their teacher’s supervision in small groups and children are often unaware that they have even undertaken them.
More information can be found at:
Reading in Key Stage 2 (Year 3 – 6)
Within Key Stage 2, the emphasis on learning to read shifts to reading to learn. At this point, texts become longer and less familiar, reading becomes more fluent and the pace of reading is quickened.
However, if children are not reading fluently, they will still be working on the ‘Letters and Sounds’ phonics programme and be reading colour banded books.
During whole class literacy lessons, teachers use chosen class texts in blocks and spend quality time on reading through and analysing them. Children will explore the further texts during guided reading sessions, and in these reading lessons, children will take part in a range of activities which deepens their understanding. Teachers focus on the assessment areas of retrieval, vocabulary, inference, summarising, predictions and comparisons.
Also, to help pupils with reading comprehension skills, children in Year 4, 5 and 6 take part in a 10 week programme called Comprehension X. Project X Comprehension Express ensures explicit modelling and supported practice of the 10 key comprehension strategies.
How can you help?
Children benefit hugely from exposure to books from an early age and finding books that fire your child’s imagination and interest is key. Make reading fun! Remember to keep reading to your child. This helps them to grow a vast vocabulary and understand the meaning of books. Children love routine, and reading is something that you and your child can look forward to every day. Some love fiction others non-fiction! It can be stories, information books, magazines, annuals, comic, signs, list etc. It all counts! Please don’t say, ‘This is too easy.’ Instead, encourage your child to read whatever they have a love of, as it develops their fluency and expression.
In Reception, parents are invited to a coffee morning, where the teachers explain how we teach reading. During the meeting, they will share lots of suggestions on how to help your child read. Your support really does get your child off to a soaring start and encourages them to make good progress!
One simple way is to help your child to sound out the letters in words and then to ‘blend’ the sounds together to make a whole word. Try not to refer to the letters by their names.
If you have any further queries about how we teach reading, please don’t hesitate to get in touch here
Favourite books and stories of 2018 – 19
Towards the end of the academic year, teachers asked the children to use their Pupil Voice to vote for their favourite story that they had studied during Literacy lessons. The titles that were voted for were the ones that teachers used for the reading into writing process.
Here are the results for the classes. Below each graph is a link to some of the books titles as you may want to purchase them, and read them with your children.