ReadingIn this section...
At Barrow Hedges, we understand that reading is an essential life skill which unlocks the curriculum to all children. We are committed to ensuring that every child in our school becomes a fluent reader as we know that children who leave primary school without this skill, are disadvantaged later in life.
Through our robust and rigorous phonics programme we provide children with the tools to crack the phonetic code. However, we understand that this is just the beginning of their journey to becoming fluent and confident readers. For more information on our phonics curriculum, click on the 'Phonics' tab to the right of your screen.
Our teachers deliver a strong reading curriculum that enables children to learn to read and in turn read to learn. We are proud to say that our teachers are experts in both early reading and the development of reading fluency and comprehension. We provide training opportunities for all staff and are proud to have members of staff with specific expertise in supporting reading, which we regularly draw upon. We have a whole school curriculum map for reading (see below), which has been created using the Early Years statutory framework (2021) and the National Curriculum expectations. Teachers use this resource to support planning and assessment, particularly for children that are working within a different year group. We encourage teachers to use stories, poetry and non-fiction texts across the curriculum as we understand that children, and adults, remember more when information is heard through a story.
We are passionate about developing children's love of reading. We nurture this through our engaging environments and by exposing children to a rich and diverse tapestry of literature. We provide ample opportunities for children to listen to stories both inside and outside the classroom. We celebrate books and strive to ensure the literature we share with the children is of the highest quality, including the children in the decision-making process when updating our book corners and reading areas around school.
We committed to our intention of getting all children reading, and so we use regular assessments to ensure that no child is left behind. Where a child is struggling with reading, we find this early and swiftly put into place personalised support for that child in order to address their barriers to learning.
Reading provides children with a wide and contextually rich vocabulary that spans across the curriculum. It exposes children to vocabulary that is not heard in everyday speech and subsequently enriches their own knowledge of words and their meanings. From the moment children join us in our Early Years setting, they are exposed to and a vocabulary rich environment which supports their acquisition of language and this does not stop as they move through the school. Our children have fun with language, exploring etymology and meaning in all different contexts and areas of the curriculum.
How do we teach reading?
We teach reading in a variety of ways, appropriate to a child's stage of their reading learning journey. Reading learning will include:
- Daily timetabled story times by teachers.
- Daily phonics lessons in Early Years and KS1.
- Explicit phonics and spelling rule lessons in Year 3.
- Exposing children to stories, songs and rhymes from Nursery to develop story telling and facilitate conversations around stories.
- Guided reading lessons in Years 1 - 6 which develop fluency and comprehension as follows:
- Year 1 guided reading lessons are conducted in smaller groups, whilst other children complete wider reading activities.
- Year 2 guided reading lessons are mostly structured as a whole class, focussing on explicitly teaching fluency and comprehension. Teachers will also timetable smaller group guided reading sessions throughout the term.
- Year 3 - 5 guided reading lessons are structured as a whole class, in which all children have a copy of the class text. Teachers structure the learning around the novel, developing children's fluency and comprehension whilst allowing children to become fully immersed in the story. Children will also be exposed to non-fiction and poetry within guided reading lessons throughout the year. We are very proud to confidently say that every child will leave our school having read at least 10 high quality novels from start to finish.
- Year 6 guided reading lessons are whole class. For at least one term children will work through a class novel, as Years 3 - 5. During the spring term, lessons continue to develop our children to become confident, well-rounded readers with a focus on fine-tuning all the tools and reading skills needed to be successful in the end of year assessments.
- Vocabulary lessons.
- Weekly Story Time Assemblies by the senior leadership team.
- Phonics and reading interventions, when appropriate.
- Regular assessment using PiXL (online learning tool which is used widely throughout the school for teaching, interventions and assessment).
- 1 to 1 reading with children as regularly as possible.
- Target children work with our Specialist TA for Inclusion, who specialises in reading and dyslexia.
How do we support reading at home?
We know that reading is a skill that must be practised in order to be mastered. For this reason we ensure that learning does not stop once children have left the classroom. The children consolidate learning in the following ways:
- 'Phonics Bug' decodable books matched specifically to the phonics learning of each child. The progression of these books is exactly matched to the progression of our phonics scheme. These are changed twice a week. Children will stay on these decodable books until they are secure in their phonics.
- Once children are secure in their phonetic knowledge they move onto Scholastic book banded books which carefully match their reading level.
- Struggling readers in KS2 are given books appropriate to their reading level and interest levels, for this we use Project X books, Dandelions and Barrington Stoke books.
- Once children have worked through the book bands they become 'free-readers' and are able to choose the book they borrow from school from a collection of high quality texts that match their age and interests.
- All children are encouraged to take a book from their class book corners to read for pleasure with their families.
- Children in Year 1 - 6 are set weekly English homework which may consist of reading comprehension or grammar activities.
- Parent workshops, ran by teachers and leaders at school, on supporting children at home.
- All children have access to their own Bug Club online library from home.
Other Enrichment Activities
As a school we take every opportunity to celebrate reading, and so we take part in a number of reading enrichment activities, including:
- National celebrations such as World Book Day, National Storytelling Week, Roald Dahl Day and many more.
- The Travelling Book Fair visits our school every term, allowing us to build rewards to spend in school.
- During national lock-downs and COVID-19 restrictions, we continued to spread our love and joy for reading using videos of teachers reading, The Masked Reader challenge and other engaging activities for children to enjoy (see below).
Watch us read!
Here are just a few of our Story Time Assemblies that were recorded for our children.
National Storytelling Week Assembly with Miss Wilson, Mr Shaw, Miss Campbell, Mr Pearce, Ms Davies and Mr Woolford.
The Masked Reader Competition - Can you guess who's who?
Books Make Good Pets by John Agard - Read by Miss Wilson
The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg - Read by Mrs Davies
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein - Read by Miss Hine
The Stinky Sprouts in a Rather Smelly Christmas Tale! - One of the Christmas stories that were recorded every day in the lead up to the Chirstmas Holidays, read by Miss Wilson
Miss M Wilson, English Leader