Reading at St George’s
From the very beginning of their journey at St George’s, reading is given high priority for our children. Story is a regular part of learning and is used to extend vocabulary, develop listening skills and increase engagement through well-chosen texts. Staff read to children with enthusiasm and passion, demonstrating a love for reading and presenting the incentive to develop reading skills which will open up the huge world of information, imaginings and escapism that books can bring.
Each of our classrooms has a reading corner where pupils can sit comfortably to read a book. Newspapers and magazines are available in Key Stage 2 to extend reading for pleasure and in the EYFS puppets and teddies are used to encourage reading aloud and re-telling stories. In addition to our school library, each classroom has a selection of books as a mini library with a selection of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts. Each year we celebrate World Book Day with a different theme or activity, including dressing up, bringing clues from favourite books and making scenes from favourite books in shoe boxes.
Children learn phonics using the Read, Write Inc scheme and engage in a daily lesson from Reception to Year 2. After the first term, when children are exposed to individual letter sounds, children are then assessed on a half termly basis and grouped according to their attainment on these assessment activities. Parents are given opportunity to see how phonics is taught, and therefore to support their children at home, by attending a parent workshop. The Reception teacher teaches a phonics lesson to a group of children so that parents can observe and understand how phonics is taught at school. Phonics teaching continues into the first part of Year 2 (and beyond for the small group of children who do not pass the phonics screen in Year 1). Children who struggle to retain sounds and apply skills can be supported by one to one tuition to quicken their progress.
Whilst decoding is clearly an important early skill, teachers also ensure that children develop skills to demonstrate good understanding of what has been read. This starts with talk about stories and books, new vocabulary, characters’ actions and intentions and making predictions about which direction a story might take. Reading comprehension is practised through oral questioning in the earlier year groups and is developed as appropriate to the needs of the children. From Year 2 onwards, children complete a weekly reading comprehension task in order to further develop and apply their skills.
Children bring home reading books and are expected to share a book with an adult at home on a daily basis initially, and at least three times a week in Key Stage 2, as part of their homework. Children in Key Stage 2 are expected to read independently every day. Children are supported in choosing texts to take home in Reception and Year 1 to ensure that there are a range of text types and that the phonics they come across in their books matches what they have been exposed to in their phonics lessons. As they become more experienced readers, they are given more independent choice in what they read, within a level of reading books. However, teachers still monitor the texts that are being read by a child, encouraging a good range of authors and text types.
Experienced reading volunteers are employed in every year group across the school to hear readers and increase the regularity of individual reading practice. Teachers and teaching assistants hear children read regularly, with a focus on the lowest twenty percent of achievers, those who do not read regularly at home and those requiring support with their confidence. Year 6 reading buddies also support individual children through the school, hearing them read regularly.
Children are encouraged to read using ‘Reading Owls’ awards. Children can achieve bronze, silver and gold reading awards for reading a set number of books. Children are awarded certificates and owl key rings for each stage in our celebration assemblies. At the end of the year, reading prizes are awarded to those who have made excellent progress or shown significant effort in practising their skills.
Our aim is to support children in developing a love of reading for pleasure, as well as for information, by reading widely and often. We want to enable children to become enthusiastic, independent and critical readers, building a strong understanding of what they have read and the ability to demonstrate this through articulation and written work.