Reading at Christ Church C of E Academy
At Christ Church C of E Academy, we value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, they read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.
Because we believe teaching every child to read is so important, we have a Reading Leader who drives the early reading programme in our school. This person is highly skilled at teaching phonics and reading, and they monitor and support our reading team, so everyone teaches with fidelity to the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme in Early Years and KS1.
- We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week.
- are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children
- use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids on pages 11–20 of ‘Application of phonics to reading’
- are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.
- Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:
- prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
- comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.
- In Reception these sessions start in Week 4. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.
- In Year 2 and 3, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books and, in Year 3, this is in addition to whole-class reading.
- Children beyond phase 5, have access to a wider range of books.
Talk Through Stories
At Christ Church we believe in the value of reading often to our children.
We have carefully selected a range of engaging books to share and to extend and deepen our children’s understanding of vocabulary from the Early Years to the end of KS1.
We’ve selected stories that our children love to read and re-read.
Initially, we help children to know each story really well. We take time to talk about the characters, their motives and the plot.
We then explore the unfamiliar vocabulary and allow for children to use these words in the context of their everyday experiences. We’ve selected approx. eight Tier 2 words from each book which are words that the children are unlikely to hear in everyday conversation but would encounter in other stories or could be used their own writing.
In Early Years, we encourage the children to revisit the stories and use their new vocabulary through play. In KS1, we display new vocabulary and encourage children to use this in their writing.
- Decodable reading practice book are taken home to ensure success is shared with the family. Children also have access to a range of fully decodable Bug Club books.
- Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children from our school library.
- We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision, both online and through workshops.
Ensuring consistency and pace of progress
- Every teacher in our school has been trained to teach reading, so we have the same expectations of progress. We all use the same language, routines and resources to teach children to read so that we lower children’s cognitive load.
- Weekly content grids map each element of new learning to each day, week and term for the duration of the programme.
- Lesson templates, Prompt cards and How to videos ensure teachers all have a consistent approach and structure for each lesson.
- The Reading Leader and SLT use the Audit and Prompt cards to regularly monitor and observe teaching; they use the summative data to identify children who need additional support and gaps in learning.
Ensuring reading for pleasure
‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)
‘The will influences the skill and vice versa.’ (OECD 2010)
We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.
- We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at Christ Church C of E Academy and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.
- Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books.
- In Nursery/Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day in their free flow time and the books are continually refreshed.
- Children from Nursery/Reception onwards have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school.
- As the children progress through the school, they are encouraged to write their own comments and keep a list of the books/authors that they have read.
- The school library is visited by classes weekly and children are invited to choose books freely to share at home.
Reading in KS2
Children gain access to a rich diet of appropriately challenging texts from a wide range of genres through daily, whole-class guided reading sessions. This allows for all children in class to access the texts and, like our children in Early Years and KS1, children develop skills in fluency, prosody and comprehension.
Each session begins with reading an extract from a text with the correct expression by the teacher carefully modelling reading. There is also opportunity for children to read chorally and independently. A discussion is then had around key vocabulary.
Children then answer questions which develop skills in inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval, summary and sequencing.
There are opportunities for group, paired or independent work within each session and children are taught strategies for finding answers within the texts. Teachers use the same lesson structure throughout KS2 which means that our children become confident and fluent readers who can articulate their understanding of what they have read.
Children take books to read at home and also have the opportunity to take home a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books from our school library to share.
Children are read to often, with class texts being chosen carefully that reflect children’s