We intend that all of our children are exposed to a rich reading diet from the very start of their education with us. We know that future success is linked directly to a broad vocabulary, a love of reading and the ability to communicate effectively. Our reading curriculum aims to fuel children's desire to learn and gives them the tools they need to transform their lives.
We intend that all children, regardless of their starting points in reading, are enabled to achieve their very best which in turn builds confidence and raises aspirations. All adults at our school promote a love of reading, a passion for literature.
Rich texts are the driving force for our English curriculum. Through reading, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially, spiritually and develop a sense of ‘this is me’. We believe access to a rich and varied library of literature plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society, as a child and in adult life leading to aspirational beliefs that everyone wants to contribute to the world and be in charge of fulfilling their own destiny. Reading for pleasure is a cornerstone of our approach, with a well-stocked and well organised school library which children access both within the timetable and in their own time. The high profile of reading in school is further enhanced by reading competitions throughout the year.
Our reading curriculum strives to foster a lifelong love of reading by developing the behaviours that they need to be discerning readers. This curriculum is delivered through synthetic phonics (Ruth Miskin Read, Write Inc programme), a linked approach to shared and whole class reading lessons (Steps to Read), home reading (Accelerated Reader), reading across the curriculum, regular opportunities for independent reading and hearing quality texts read aloud every day.
Parents are actively encouraged to take part in the reading process by regularly listening to their child read at home, reading stories to them and showing their child reading is fun through letting their children see them reading themselves. Parents are invited to take part in our annual Reading Workshop, Phonics Workshop and Reading Cafe. A reading record is sent between home and school so both teachers and parents can communicate and record progress.
Accelerated Reader: A Parents’ Guide
At St Barnabas Primary School, children in Years 3-6 use a program called Accelerated Reader (AR) to support them in choosing the right reading book. AR is a computer program that helps to monitor children’s independent reading practice. Children using AR have a free choice of the books they read, rather than having one assigned to them. This makes reading a much more enjoyable experience as they feel in control and can choose books that are interesting to them. Teachers help children to choose books that are at an appropriate reading level. These will be challenging without being frustrating and will also be at a level at which your child can pass the quiz and experience success.
Child pick a book at their own ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) level and reads the book at their own pace, both in school and at home. When finished, children take a short quiz on-line in school - passing the quiz is an indication that the child has understood what has been read. The ZPD is therefore based on both reading fluency and reading comprehension Teachers may assist pupils by:
- Guiding them to books appropriate to their ability and interests.
- Asking probing questions as your child reads and before quizzing.
- Pairing your child with others, reading with or reading to your child.
- Since they are reading books at their own reading and interest levels, most children are likely to be successful and enjoy the books and quizzes. Best of all they learn and grow at their own pace.
A child will receive a ZPD, after taking a Star Reading test at the beginning of each term. Star Reading is a computer-based reading assessment program that uses computer-adaptive technology. Questions continually adjust to your child’s responses. If the child’s response is correct, the difficulty level is increased. If the child cannot answer a question or answers incorrectly, the difficulty level is reduced. The test uses multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. Book Levels are reported using the ATOS™ readability formula and represent the difficulty of the text. The levels range from 0.5 - 13.5. It is important for children to read with a high degree of comprehension and within their ZPD.
As with anything, performance improves with practice. According to Renaissance Learning’s research, children who read at least 20 minutes a day with a 90% comprehension rate on AR quizzes see the greatest gains. Encourage your child to read at home, discuss books, ask questions about what they have read and visit your local library.
You can find out whether books your child has at home are compatible with Accelerated Reader by using this website. Click here
Steps To Read
In KS2, reading to learn focuses primarily upon the reciprocal reading skills children require to read for pleasure and to develop subject knowledge. These reciprocal reading skills are taught explicitly during shared reading and guided reading lessons. The ‘Steps to Read’ scheme is followed when teaching reading, as this exposes the children to a variety of diverse, challenging and thematic texts, including: fiction, non-fiction and poetry. It provides a clear teaching sequence to reading sessions that explicitly teach reading skills and strategies in a cumulative way through evidence-based approaches. These units have been constructed so that the entire statutory curriculum for reading is covered.