We view reading as a life-skill and a pleasure for life that we want all pupils to gain. The earlier pupils can read meaningfully and with understanding, the quicker they gain other skills as reading is the key to so much of the wider curriculum.
In our school children learn to read using the Little Wandle system which is based on a revised version of Letters and Sounds. Little Wandle is one of the DFE approved early reading systems and is linked to Collins Big Book reading texts which are fully linked to the phases and sounds children are being taught in school so they can consolidate their learning.
Once the child can read words we encourage fluency and expression in reading by re-reading short sections so your child feels like a reader. You can do shared reading with your child and put on silly voices to make the reading fun. You should sit with your child at least three times per week to practise the skills your child learns at school and share bedtime stories. Teachers no longer sit and hear readers as you might have experienced at school. At school now English and Maths take up the morning sessions and in the afternoons all the other twelve subjects are taught, so hearing pupils read individually is not feasible. During the mornings children are taught to read and can practise the key skills being taught.
Once your child can read fluently we use an online system called Accelerated Reader to assess the skills your child has and what standard they can read and understand. This system starts with a Star Assessment which provides all the information to staff. The system will inform staff of the reading age and zone the child can read within and also provides more detailed diagnosis of skills and areas to develop, which may be used if the child is not at the expected standard for their age. Children choose a book from their zone, some can be easy reads and some more challenging as the system has been set up to encourage reading for life. As adults we vary what we read and the system allows for children to do the same. Once they have a book in the zone the children then read and after each book they complete an online quiz. The quiz assesses their understanding of what they have read, their grasp of the vocabulary and also the wider grammar skills they have gained. Children enjoy quizzing and can quiz on any book they have read – both school and home books e.g. Christmas presents or the book you share at home.
By Year 2 children should be reading fluently and school teaching focuses on grammar and comprehension skills so that your child understands what they are reading. It is important to check that they do – some children read as if they are reading a foreign language. They can read the words but don’t understand what is going on. It is important to remind children that good readers are not fast – they are at a speaking speed to allow expression but also they check what is happening in their reading to make sure it makes sense. Regular questions at home when you share a book can help. “Why did they do that?” “What might happen next?”
Parents will be updated on their child’s reading progress three times a year – twice at parents evening and in the final annual report. If your child falls behind, we will speak to you outside of these times so that you can help them to catch up.
Reading is a lifelong pleasure and a vital skill to allow success in school and beyond. It is important that we work together to ensure your child reads well and enjoys it.
Northants Libraries offer a great free e-book service called Borrow Box. Here is the link to find out more. It is a good way to get children reading who prefer devices and it is free!