Following a whole school review and focus on Reading in 2019, and alongside the professional support and direction from a local educational specialist (Sarah Cook, Somerset Literacy Network), we have developed our Reading curriculum to ensure we provide our children with the opportunity to develop their word reading and comprehension skills and that they read widely, fluently and with confidence so that their imaginations are opened to a “treasure-house of wonder and joy” (National Curriculum for English).
During Guided Reading lessons, we aim for our children to develop their comprehension skills through an experience of high-quality discussions with the teacher and their peers, as well as from reading a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. Our teachers use their in-depth knowledge of the children’s reading strengths and areas for development to create small, mixed-ability groups in which the children work with their class teacher to develop a wide range of comprehension skills. We use mixed-ability groups to ensure our children’s word reading skills are not a barrier to improving their comprehension, and that by working with a range of children with varying ability there is no ceiling placed on their comprehension skills being allowed to flourish.
A typical Guided Reading session with the child’s teacher will include opportunities for independent, paired or group reading, as well as reading modelled by the teacher, a discussion about the text type being shared, with a strong focus on increasing the children’s vocabulary as they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech, and the opportunity to ask and respond to questions about the text. Depending on the needs of the group, our Guided Reading sessions aim to improve the following areas of our children’s comprehension:
Vocabulary: to help our children think about the words an author has used, what they might mean and alternative word choices that could be used to convey the same meaning
Retrieving key information: to help our children improve their understanding of a text and answer questions about it by finding evidence and copying it accurately
Summarising: to help our children to understand and to discuss succinctly the main ideas from a paragraph or text
Making and explaining inferences: to help our children hunt for clues within the text, and use their understanding of the world, to help them to infer why or how something is true or to understand a character’s feelings, thoughts or actions
Predicting: to help our children think about what might happen next on the basis of what has been read so far
Compare and Contrast: to help our children discuss similarities and differences between the text, plot or characters they are reading currently and have read before
Reading for pleasure
We encourage all of our children to read widely and regularly across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. To support our children reading outside of the school day, we use a reading initiative called ‘Read a Rainbow’, where our children can earn stickers, ribbons and bookmarks for reading regularly and recording this in their Reading Record. We value and understand the importance of support from our children’s parents and carers in helping to foster a love of reading and actively seek to involve them in our popular ‘Read a Rainbow’ idea.
Class stories At North Town Primary School and Nursery, we believe that reading a story aloud is one of the most important things our teachers can do with children. Books and stories stimulate a child’s imagination, expand their understanding of the world, introduce vocabulary and provide a model of fluent and expressive reading. This is why we ensure our children are read to every day by their teacher from an age-appropriate text related to their current Project or a children’s classic book. We believe that doing this every day also helps our children to develop vital language and listening skills and helps them to recognise what reading for pleasure is all about.