At Bookwell Primary School, learning to read and reading to learn lies at the core of our curriculum. We strive to ensure every pupil is a fluent, competent reader who is able to make sense of the world through the power of words and their meaning. We aim to shape pupils into fluent readers who become critical thinkers, question drivers and careful listeners. Through careful planning and up-to-date teaching practises, staff are dedicated to develop and secure the life-long skills of reading. We aim to nurture a love, appreciation and curiosity of books and literature through rich reading experiences, celebrating our pupils’ reading achievements and delivering high quality texts during English and reading sessions.
Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum to enable all children to:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
Phonics and Early Reading
Pupils begin their journey to becoming a fluent reader as soon as they enter reception. Through daily phonics sessions, children begin to make connections between the sounds of spoken words and the letters that are used to write them down. When this is secure, pupils are quickly encouraged to begin blending in order to read words. Our chosen phonics programme, Little Wandle Letters and Sounds incorporates secure, systematic progression; frequent, short burst teaching and repeated practise so that phonic knowledge sticks and becomes automatic.
Reading Practise Sessions
As soon as pupils begin to decode, they participate in grouped reading practise sessions which are taught three times a week. These sessions are taught by fully trained adults and use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments. Each session has a clear focus so not to overload children’s working memory and are based on three key reading skills:
- prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
- comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.
At the end of the week, children are able to read the same text at home with their parents to celebrate their success.
Pupils who are at risk of falling behind with their early reading are quickly identified through simple but effective continuous assessments. These children are then provided with daily, additional support by a trained adult to help ‘keep-up’ with their peers. Children are re-assessed every 3 weeks during keep-up to monitor progress and close the gaps.
Children are assessed every six weeks to check their progress and to select the right level of decodable text for each child based on their current phonics knowledge. Our range of decodable texts exactly match the progression of the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds programme to give children the opportunity to practise the phonics skills and tricky words they are currently learning. Each week, children in KS1 take home a selection of decodable phonics books for additional practise and a sharing book – also known as a ‘Core Reader’ purely for enjoyment, to fuel discussion and develop language and vocabulary.
Whole School Teaching of Reading
In the Early Years, our teaching of reading links heavily to the Early Learning Goal of ‘Communication and Language’. Children encounter stories, poetry, songs and rhymes on a daily basis. They are encouraged to listen carefully, discuss rich new vocabulary and take part in book talk to share their thoughts in their own words. We also foster a love of reading through our inviting book corner, daily ‘Book Vote’ for story time, Talk 4 Writing units and continuous provision activities.
At Bookwell, pupils in classes Reception to Y4 read books closely matched to their ability in groups with their teachers. In Upper KS2, the sessions follow a whole class reading approach. Lessons can include teacher led, individual, paired and group reading where a deeper understanding is driven through teacher led questioning and comprehension style activities to assess. Both follow the format of the ‘Reading VIPERS’ a mnemonic covering the key reading domains:
- Summarising (verbal) and Sequencing
The 'VIPERS’ stimulate meaningful book talk, deepen understanding and improve language skills. Children respond to comprehension based questioning in many different ways including verbally, in writing or digitally.
Whole Class Text Study
Through the Talk 4 Writing approach, English units from Reception to Year 6 are carefully planned and structured around a high-quality text that has been selected to; link with another curricular topics, model a specific text type or to promote a love of reading itself. Through this teaching, children are given opportunities to ‘Read as a Reader’ to improve their speech and language skills, learn new vocabulary in context and improve their comprehension of the chosen text. This then leads onto ‘Reading as a Writer’ in which children produce a written piece of work linking to the original text.
Reading across the Curriculum
Reading to learn is an essential lesson component. All teachers carefully plan integrated opportunities for children to practise, apply and challenge their reading skills beyond the confines of phonics, English and reading. This can be through imaginative role play in EYFS, deciphering coding blocks in computing or even interpreting song lyrics in music.
When children complete the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme and are able to read with accurate automaticity and a clear understanding they become a ‘Free Reader’. Pupils are able to choose their own ‘Free Reader’, giving them greater freedom to explore genres that interest them. Every free reader text is checked by their class teacher to check the level of challenge and appropriateness. All pupils take home a ‘Core Reader’ book on a weekly basis that can be shared with an adult or read independently at home. The selection of ‘Core Readers’ are produced from Pie Corbett’s Reading Spine that are age appropriate and aim to create a ‘living library inside a child’s mind’. Every child has a reading record that is checked in school each week to monitor reading engagement at home. Parents are informed by their class teacher if their child is not reading regularly at home.
Strive for 5 Reading Raffle
We encourage our pupils to read 5 times a week using our eagerly anticipated ‘Strive for Five’ raffle. Those that do, are entered into a draw each week to be in with the chance of winning a new book and bar of chocolate (for the lucky parent) at the end of each month!
Pupils listen to a class reader that is read aloud by an adult with confidence to encourage book talk discussion amongst pupils and promote reading for enjoyment and escapism. Class reader novels are picked to reflect the children of Bookwell as well as offer experiences into the worlds of other cultures. The joy of reading is shared by teaching staff, governors, people in the community and our peers.
Monitoring and Assessment
Staff regularly assess pupils reading using formative assessment during class sessions, the summative PIRA assessment completed each term, monitoring home engagement within reading records, pupil progress meetings, reading 1-1 and obtaining data from the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments. From this, the SLT and reading lead are able to identify children who require additional support to help ‘close the gap’ amongst their peers.
At Bookwell, we recognise that some children find reading more challenging than others do. This may be because it takes them longer to embed and secure their phonics knowledge, build on their fluency or have yet to develop strong language comprehension skills. We offer a range of interventions for those pupils who require additional support such as Phonics ‘Rapid Catch-Up’, precision teaching and 1-1 tutoring. We also use a personalised learning program consisting of independent student practise that provides a systematic and structured approach to the six critical areas of reading:
Teachers also act on the advice of external professionals to support pupils with specific learning difficulties to develop their reading skills.
At the end of their journey at Bookwell, our pupils feel secure in the mechanics of reading and leave as competent, fluent readers. They develop a wide range of vocabulary through the diverse range of genres and poetry studied and are able to express themselves confidently. Children will have built the independence needed to begin shaping their role in modern society, using words to enhance their knowledge and communicate their understanding to a wider audience. Lastly, they will appreciate the skill of reading as a pathway to learn, entertain and seek new perspectives of the world around them.
Cultural Diversity and Enrichment
Poetry and Poppy West End Workshop
Established links with Local Library
Author Visits (Ross MacKenzie)
Live Webinars (Tony Ross, Author and Illustrator)
Public Speaking at Church
World Book Day Celebrations
Theatre Trips (Christmas Pantomime)
KS1/2 End of Year Performance