At Latchford St. James we consider reading to be a key life skill. We are dedicated to enabling all of our pupils, no matter what their background, needs or abilities, to become lifelong readers. We believe that through reading, pupils will develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually and that reading is fundamental in successfully accessing all areas of the curriculum. Our aim is for children to be able to read confidently, fluently and with good understanding, across a wide range of texts. We want to develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information. Our curriculum is designed around the needs of the pupils in our school and there are a variety of approaches we employ to enable the pupils to make good progress.
The aims of teaching reading in our school are to develop pupils who:
- show high levels of achievement
- read fluently by using and applying a range of strategies
- read with good understanding across both fiction, non-fiction and poetry
- acquire a wider vocabulary
- develop their reading in all subjects to support their acquisition of knowledge
- develop a love of and exhibit positive attitudes towards reading
- develop good comprehension, drawing from their linguistic knowledge
EYFS/Key Stage 1
In the EYFS and Key Stage 1, children take part in differentiated, daily synthetic phonic sessions, following the DfE approved ‘Letters and Sounds’. In addition to this, pupils in Reception and Year 1 participate in daily small group guided reading sessions to ensure they employ a range of reading strategies, improve fluency and comprehension. In Year 2, children transition to whole class guided reading; these sessions occur at least three times a week, with the children reading age appropriate, high quality and vocabulary rich texts. ‘Pathways to Read’, a Literacy Company scheme, is used to deliver the whole class guided reading sessions, supplemented by both non-fiction texts, poetry and shorter comprehensions. For home reading, children are encouraged to independently choose the texts themselves and to take home books that interest them. Children are expected to read at least three times per week, and there are a number of class, key stage and whole school rewards for those children who achieve this target.
All home reading books are book banded and in the EYFS and Key Stage 1 these books are closely linked to their current phonics stage. The PM Benchmarking kit is used on a half termly basis to assess children, with changes to reading levels being communicated to parents. Furthermore, half termly phonic assessments occur throughout EYFS and Key Stage 1 to ensure that pupils are placed within the correct teaching group and that progress is being made. At the end of Year 1, all children complete the Phonics Screening Test.
Additionally, class teachers use the NFER reading tests to check each child’s progress in Key Stage 1 and to inform planning. Attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally.
Key Stage 2
In Key Stage 2, whole class guided reading is delivered at least three times a week, using a range of high quality texts that are appropriate to that year group. ‘Pathways to Read’, a Literacy Company scheme, is used to deliver the whole class guided reading sessions. This is supplemented, based on the teacher’s judgement on the pupil’s needs, by both non-fiction texts, poetry and shorter comprehensions. All home reading books are book banded in order to ensure progression and challenge for all. Once children have progressed through the book bands, children become ‘free readers’ and are able to independently choose books from our extensive collection based on their interests, author preference or text type. Children are expected to read at least three times per week, and there are a number of class, key stage and whole school rewards for those children who achieve this target. Class teachers use a range of assessments to regularly check progress; for those children still reading book banded texts, half termly benchmarking takes place. Furthermore, children who don’t achieve the pass mark in the Phonics Screening Test at Year 2 have a phonic target on their IEP’s and are regularly assessed to ensure progression continues in phonic knowledge and decoding in KS2. At the end of each half term, teachers use the NFER reading tests for their year group, alongside their own teacher judgements, to assess children’s progress. Attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage Two. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally.
To support the large number of children who speak English as an additional language, we ensure that children have access to a range of bilingual books that they can read both in school and take home to be read and enjoyed with their families.
Following on from individual class teacher’s assessments, those children not making progress in reading over one term or children who are reading significantly below the required standard set for that year, will receive regular phonics and/or reading interventions, under the guidance of the SEND lead.
Reading for pleasure and the reading environment
Children at Latchford St James have access to a variety of different reading schemes (e.g. Bug Club, Big Cat and Rigby Star) to ensure they are exposed to books from all genres. We have audited and updated where needed the entire stock of children’s class and home reading books; investing in new class sets of high quality texts using Pathways to Read and Pie Corbett’s Reading Spines, amongst others. In addition to this, we have an excellent, extensively stocked school library that children have access to on a regular basis. There are a number of whole school initiatives throughout the year that celebrate our love of reading and each class chooses the ‘hook’ that is most appropriate to their class; these range from ‘reading buddies’ to ‘Starbooks café’ to whole school ‘extreme reading’ challenges. To underline the importance of reading to our children, each child receives ‘dojo’ reward points for regular reading and reading displays in each Key Stage are changed on a regular basis to reflect what the children are currently reading and to inspire discussion and debate between pupils.
The impact of all these measures will be first and foremost to see the children at Latchford St James making sustained and measurable progress through the year groups until leaving our school in Year 6. We want to ensure that all children achieve to the very best of their individual ability and to develop confidence and perseverance when faced with challenging texts. Through our regular assessments and quality first teaching we aim to identify and support any children who are at risk of falling behind their peers. We aim to develop a love of reading that continues after they have left our school, in to high school and eventually adulthood. We want to increase our children’s knowledge around books and the wider world by promoting discussion around reading and making reading as visible as possible in their everyday lives, so that they truly become lifelong readers.