'Let your light shine' Matthew 5:16
Reading for pleasure
Reading is the gateway to all other subjects. Reading is often seen as no more than a set of skills, which if taught systematically, will lead to independent readers. However, this is not the case. Children need to balance the skills of being a reader with the will to read. Evidence shows that children who chose to read are three times more likely to read at a level than that expected for their age than their peers (National Literacy Trust: 2017). At Hawkesley we want all our children to leave the school as independent and life-long readers who have reading preferences and can express their opinions about what they have read.
Children are read to daily by an adult. This will mainly be through sharing class readers, but also includes non-fiction, poetry and other wider-reading sources. This is time to enjoy stories and language for their own sake and is not intended as a comprehension exercise. Teachers do not ask questions, but just let the children enjoy the experience.
Children have a free choice library book which they can read independently (if it is at the right level) or with peers and adults in and out of school. This supports them to develop their own reading preferences, so it is important to let the children choose the ‘wrong’ book from time to time.
Children have the opportunity to free-read. This time is not silent reading. Some children might choose to get lost in a book and read on their own. Others might share stories, jokes, poems, information books with other children. These sessions are led by the children’s reading preferences.
OU Reading for Pleasure resources:
Teachers explicitly teach learners:
- Knowledge of the alphabetic code (the letter-sound correspondences)
- The skill of blending sounds in order, all through a word to read it
- The skill of segmenting words into sounds, all-through a word to spell it
- The skill of letter formation leading to handwriting
These key elements are the essence of phonics but they are heavily interlinked with vocabulary knowledge (understanding the words as they are read), and correct spellings (knowing which way to spell the sounds in words) and extending early reading and writing skills from word level to sentence and text level.
Readers need to be able to use a range of skills to understand what they have read. These skills are taught explicitly through shared and guided reading (including modelling the reading process and close examination of the text) and articulated by the children when discussing what they have understood. The primary skill to become a fluent reader is phonics, however from EYFS onwards children will also be using comprehension skills such as inference, prediction, self-regulation (metacognition) when discussing stories, texts and pictures.
Teachers explicitly teach children to:
- Retrieve information (domain b)
- Work out the meanings of words in context explain the impact language has on a reader (domains a and g)
- Infer and predict (domains d and e)
- Sequence and summarise information and events (domain c)
- Make comparisons between elements of a text and other texts they have read (domain h)
- Formulate questions to clarify information (metacognition)
- Make connections within and beyond the text (activating prior knowledge)
The above skills broadly correlate to the STA reading domains, with which the teachers assess the children's reading during 1:1 sessions. Teachers understand that children need to be able to empathise with characters and situations and visualise what is happening in a text, and they weave these key skills into reading lessons.
Children need to read independently every day to build reading fluency so home reading books are matched to the children's reading level so that they can build their reading stamina without decoding being a barrier. This includes books matched to their phonic stage in KS1.
We use the Floppy Phonics scheme for phonics and we follow the Oxford Reading Tree levels, accompanied with a quality free choice class and school library.