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 comprehensive, 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 and diverse reading experiences, high quality reading materials and the high quality delivery of phonics, 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
Pupils begin their reading journey in the foundation stage, learning to read individual letters by their sound before blending to read short words made up of letter-sound correspondences. Children have many opportunities to enjoy different genres of books as well as re-read them to build confidence and enhance their reading skills. 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 through our daily ‘Book Vote’, Talk 4 Writing units and continuous provision activities.
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 topic, 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.
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.
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 the Early Years, deciphering coding blocks in computing or even interpreting song lyrics in music.
We believe that books taken home should have two purposes: to practise phonological awareness and to foster a love of reading. To ensure children feel successful from the very beginning, early readers will begin by taking home a selection of ‘Phonics Reader’ books that are decodable or run a little behind the teaching of phonemes. The teacher carefully selects and reviews the book each week. All pupils take home a ‘Core Reader’ book on a weekly basis that an adult or child reads 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’. We also use a range of book banded schemes to support and provide extra practise for pupils until reading is fluent and fully comprehended.
Teachers, teaching assistants, peers and volunteers support reading in class and across the school day. Parents are also encouraged to read with their child at home as often as possible. 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 brand 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, encourages book talk discussion amongst pupils and promotes reading for enjoyment and escapism.
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 phonics tracking. 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. Pupils who require additional support follow a personalised learning program consisting of both teacher led and independent student practise that provides a systematic and structured approach to the six critical areas of reading:
The reading lead monitors children’s progress regularly and shares feedback for any children that may require additional teacher-led instruction activities to staff.
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