Reading is the foundation and at the heart of all we do. There are some strategies we use in school and show our vision for reading and the exciting and inspiring ways that we teach and promote reading in our school.
At St. Matthews, we develop children’s reading skills alongside promoting the love of reading itself. The reading provision across the year groups allows the children to access a wide range of reading materials and provides a variety of contexts for improving core reading skills.
Text-Based English Topics
Many of the English genres that we teach are built from the children’s study of a particular text. From Year 1 to Year 6, we focus on a wide range of inspirational texts from classic to modern-day authors and poets. This includes studying the great works of Ted Hughes, C.S. Lewis and William Shakespeare to the more modern-day works of authors such as Michael Morpurgo. This exposes the children to a wide variety of literature and language while also providing a context for writing.
Whole Class Story Sessions
During these sessions, quality novels (a balance of classic texts and modern-day classics) are read aloud by the teacher to their class. This is to demonstrate to the children how to read fluently with expression and to explore other essential reading skills such as being able to self-correct if a word has been misread. Wherever possible, class sets of texts are available so that the children can have their copy of the text in front of them to follow the words on the page as the teacher reads. Wide opportunities to explore vocabulary and the effect of language occur during these sessions. Discussions about the children’s understandings and impressions that have been built up take place too. Most of all, listening to an adult read a text aloud can help to promote a love of reading. Some of these sessions take place in the whole school library, where children can find a comfortable spot to sit and enjoy the session.
Reading Comprehension Skills (Assessment and Review)
Children are equipped with a variety of comprehension skills that are built up progressively across the school. Each year group follows a different, specific reading strategies plan that is tailored to ensure that pupils are prepared to access texts and questions at their year group’s level.
Every class in the school has its library area that is equipped with a variety of quality texts. We are also in the process of developing a central school library.
Home Reading Books
Across the school, there are schemes of reading books that are available for children to choose from and take home to read, along with a reading record book for parents/carers to sign. Record books contain top tips for parents to follow and suggested questions that the children could be asked as they read’. This is to develop a love of reading and books in general. Children are encouraged to read at home daily and to use their home reading book for practising and developing the key skills of decoding tricky words, improving fluency and expression and reacting appropriately to punctuation marks. The recommended minimum amount of pages to read aloud is two per day – specifically targeting the key reading skills. Children are also welcome to continue silently reading their books to themselves if they want to as this shows that they are reading for pleasure!
In each year group, we provide extra reading support through learning support assistants and intervention teachers. Each intervention group is built according to its specific needs and supports children in any of the key reading areas that they need to work on from phonics to reading comprehension.
We also have daily reading support groups, aiming not only to listen but also to ‘watch’ children read, to improve their core skills of word recognition, expression and fluency.
For children who need further support on either the reading of high-frequency words or other specific vocabulary identified by the class teacher, learning support assistants use daily ‘Precision Monitoring’, which aims to give children short, frequent opportunities to practise their reading of these words.