HOW READING IS TAUGHT AT WEXHAM COURT PRIMARY SCHOOL
At Wexham Court Primary school we share a real passion for reading and a love of books. The development of reading skills is paramount to the progress that children will make across all areas of the curriculum and our aim is to support all children to become confident and efficient readers. We believe that in order for children to foster an enjoyment of reading, we must provide a stimulating environment and they must be at the centre of their own learning.
We promote enjoyment of a wide range of genres and encourage children’s own interests. We place great importance on ‘reading for meaning’. As reading is a complex skill, we do not limit the children to one approach. We use a diversity of methods, matching them to each child’s needs. Children use their reading for learning across the curriculum and we develop their skills in reading through a variety of learning experiences.
The teaching of reading begins from birth, when children are told or read stories in a safe and relaxed environment. Reading to your child is an essential developmental skill and should be fostered all the way through their primary schooling, it is here that a love for reading begins. The teaching of reading at Wexham begins in Nursery where the children are surrounded by a range of book, text types and characters. They have a library where they can read, use puppets to story tell and are taught a range of nursery rhymes, songs and stories. Parents are supported in developing reading and take home story sacks to share with their children. They are immersed in reading opportunities and books, this is continued throughout the whole school.
In Nursery the children are introduced to letter sounds (not letter names), and over the course of the year, become familiar with all the initial sounds of the letters of the alphabet. These are not taught in alphabetical order, but follow the order prescribed in the RWI Phonics programme.
Once the children are confident of the initial sounds they are taught to segment the letters in words in order to decode (read) and blend letters in order to encode (write). The children usually begin to do this in Reception, following the structure of the RWI Phonics programme and are grouped according to their rate of progress.
In Years 1 & 2, the children continue to follow the programme, again working in groups determined by rate of progress. During their phonics sessions, as well as revising and learning new phonic sounds, the children will apply and develop their phonic and reading skills whilst reading a range of phonic books, both fiction and non-fiction. The children are encouraged to develop the ability to read at speed, with fluency and expression, and to read ‘like a story-teller’ and discuss many aspects of the book in order to answer comprehension questions verbally. The content of these books becomes gradually more complex and when the children complete the Phonics programme, they are able to read independently and for meaning. Parents help support phonics by attending workshops and visiting the school website for resources.
Click on the link below to learn how to pronounce pure sounds from Set 1 Sounds through to Set 3.
Once pupils are able to decode their reading continues and we begin working on the pupils’ comprehension skills. Comprehension skills are taught using a variety of texts in a range of contexts. Comprehension is developed daily in literacy, in foundation subjects and through daily guided reading (Year 2 upwards). Teachers use SOLO taxonomy to plan for guided reading. Teachers use question and response stems that challenge each ability ensuring they are extended. Pupils across Years 2 to 6 are grouped according to their reading ability. A range of specially selected books and extracts are used to develop children’s comprehension of, and responses so that they become critical thinkers engaging with texts. Comprehension activities are designed to help children to infer, summaries, question, clarify, predict and argue a point of view. The children also make connections between texts and their own experiences. We use higher order questioning to ensure pupils reach age related expectations and are well challenged. Where children require extra support, ‘Rapid Read’ is taught over a 12 week period.
To foster a greater love for reading, children are continuously exposed to high quality texts in literacy, class reader and through guided reading texts. Each class has an inviting Reading corner to help create a climate for reading and frequent visits are made to the library, which hosts comics, fiction and non-fiction texts. Author visits help to develop the love of reading and give children an insight into the whole reading process. Reading lists for each Year group can be found on the website and are also displayed in the classroom and children are actively encouraged to read these books and write reviews, which are displayed in classrooms.
We firmly believe that parents who share the same passion and vision for reading make an enormous impact on their children’s progress and enjoyment. Communication is vital and we encourage parents to make a written comment in the reading records to show how their child has demonstrated understanding, fluency and enjoyment when reading to them. This reinforces to the children how important it is to read at home on a daily basis. To support our parents further we open our library afterschool to encourage families to read together. Parents are also invited to workshops at school to help them gain a better understanding of how they may help their child reading at home. Regular book fairs sell out, such is the passion for reading.
The children’s reading is developed through the use of not one, but a variety of published schemes as follows:
- Oxford Reading Tree
- Big Cat Collins
- All Aboard
- Rigby Star
- Oxford Literacy Web
The books in each scheme are book banded by reading level/complexity so that the children are exposed to a variety of fiction genres (including poetry) and non-fiction. Children read daily, younger pupils are encouraged to read the book more than once, to build familiarity and enable book talk with parents. Once a child is ready to change their book, they take a short AR quiz (Year 2 upwards) to ensure they are on the right level. AR also enable them to track their previous books, ensuring they select a range of genres and authors.
For pupils with SEND or other needs, they are supported through a range of interventions such as the continuation of phonics, rapid reading, extra reading, pre-teaching and Learning Village. Class teachers monitor readers, ensuring the least confident readers are heard daily.
All classes are supported by a class library with recommended books for that year group. Children have a list of books and are encouraged to read through as many as they can. Teachers take time to share their love of reading, through book talk and a staff book club. Integral to the reading journey is the class reader, usually at the end of the day. Children experience a fluent, expressive and animated reader bringing a story to life.
This allows the children to see different texts presented in a wide variety of styles. Reading books are changed weekly, with children being encouraged to re-read books so that they become familiar with the texts and so as to encourage discussion with parents to aid comprehension. This ‘scheme’ continues into KS2. The children may also supplement their given reading books, with books from the class bookshelves so that they can choose books to take home, share and enjoy.
Finally, reading has no end at Wexham Court and we do as much as we can to reinforce the love of reading and the imagination it can inspire.