At Duston Eldean Primary School, we believe reading requires two broad skills: word recognition and language comprehension. Word recognition involves the skill to translate sounds of spoken language into words (blending) but later advances to reading with fluency. Understanding of the language being read transforms into language comprehension.
Developing Spoken Language.
Becoming a fluent, skilled and attentive reader starts at the earliest stages, even before children encounter a book for the first time. The development of spoken language is the key to supporting children on the initial stages of their reading learning journey. Evidence suggests that exposure to language from an early age which is inline or above that of the child’s chronological age helps to develop literacy skills more effectively.
The Importance of Reading.
We recognise the importance of reading in our school and that developing a love of reading is one of the most effective ways a school can raise attainment. Through our ‘Talk for Reading’ approach, the use of high-quality texts of differing genres and our grasp of the National Curriculum, we develop our children into becoming life-long readers. The skill of reading is developed across all areas of the curriculum, allowing our children to maximise every opportunity to learn and explore and promote a love of reading.
Reading great literature opens children up to ideas, experiences, places and times they might never otherwise experience in real life. By regularly updating our whole school reading spine, and our new poetry spine, we can keep our children up to date with the latest award-winning texts, as well as promoting a positive reading for pleasure culture. This helps to inform children’s opinions about books and authors and promotes literacy language about personal experiences and books they wish to recommend to others.
Our whole school comprehension overview allows teachers to plan accurately pitched lessons for our children of all age groups to make the expected rates of progress needed for our children to develop into confident readers.
Our Reading Environment.
In our key stage two classrooms, our high-quality library of fiction texts are now available for all children to access at any time, developing understanding of language comprehension and building fluency. The reading of our non-fiction texts also takes place in our ‘Eldean Tree’ themed library, which the children visit on a weekly basis and where books can be borrowed to foster reading for knowledge and pleasure. Ongoing investment in our non- fiction books means our children can access high-quality topic related texts, selected by our specialist subject leaders to develop children’s ongoing learning throughout the teaching of a foundation subject and beyond.
Each classroom across the school has its own reading area, including comfortable furniture, along with cosy cushions and throws to promote our reading for pleasure culture, imaginative play, and drama. We openly support reading for pleasure in our school, holding
regular workshops for parents and whole school events including author visits to support our passion for reading.
Ways To Help at Home.
Ultimately, in our school we want children to be reading at home on a regular basis (minimum of 4 times a week). This can be independently when the children are old enough or with the guidance of an adult for our younger children. We want to create a partnership with our parents to support every child’s success in reading.
We organise parent information evenings at the beginning of every school year to remind our parents of the reading expectations as well as engaging with parents in a supportive capacity to offer help and guidance where needed.
Regular reading with your child promotes quality family time as well as supporting their academic progress. The National Literacy Trust quote ‘young people who read outside of the classroom daily are 13 times more likely to read above the expected level for their age.’ (2012). Parents can also encourage their children to read through comic subscriptions and regular trips to our local village library. Our annual ‘Reading Summer Challenge’ organised through the national organisation ‘The Reading Agency’ is a popular way to encourage our children to read over the long summer holidays. Engagement in this challenge in recent years has led to extremely high levels of success at our school and within the county.
We are also lucky enough to have some very generous parents who volunteer to come into school to read with our children on a regular basis. After receiving training from the English Lead, volunteers will read with children on a weekly basis to help our children to develop their reading skills as well as their confidence levels.
In our early years, children are provided with blue diaries where reading entries should be made every time a child reads. They read decodable books (matched to their phonetic ability) as well as books from our school library to promote reading for pleasure. Through parent workshops, they can also log in to our yearly subscription through the Oxford Owl provider to read a wider range of books to support word recognition through oral blending. In all other year groups, children are provided with reading logs that should be filled in every time a child reads at home. This can be a high-quality text from the classroom shelves or a chosen book from home. Teachers in our school will check the entries made in reading logs to ensure reading is a regular occurrence at home and to understand the types of texts children enjoy reading. This also supports our teachers to ensure children are encouraged to read a wide variety of genres, to support the overall picture in a child’s reading journey.
Reading will be a point of discussion at family consultation meetings as a mark of celebration and children will be measured against their reading behaviours on our school reporting systems. To be an outstanding reader at our school, children should be reading at least 5 times a week with regular entries into their reading logs.