Reading at Whiteways
At Whiteways we believe that reading is crucial to our children accessing the curriculum and that it is a vital life skill. We know that confident readers can access a wide range of life experiences and enjoy a breadth of genres. Reading allows individuals to acquire knowledge, find out what’s going on, achieve and enjoy themselves! Through our whole school approaches to reading we aim to:
To enable this to happen we use a range of teaching strategies and through our everyday practice we create an ethos that positively promotes reading.
Creating a Positive Ethos – Our Whole School Approach
At Whiteways Primary School family reading is encouraged. On a weekly basis we hold 3 family reading mornings. These are hosted in our classrooms with class teachers and in our school hall where the reading session is also staffed. During our reading mornings our families are welcome to read a wide range of texts with their children including books in home languages. Our children and their families register that they are reading together and then they receive a free book after 6 family reads.
At the heart of our school is our library: a vibrant space filled with a variety of texts for all ages. It includes both fiction and non-fiction texts and a range of bilingual books. During family reading mornings children and adults are welcome to borrow any of these texts. Additionally, both practitioners and children use the library for researching topics and many children choose to borrow fiction texts to read for pleasure.
Children at Whiteways Primary School are encouraged to read and talk about texts at home. Texts not only include banded reading books but a whole host of other reading material. We also actively encourage our children to read and discuss texts in home languages. Many of our parents choose to complete a home school contact book so that there is a dialogue about reading between home and school.
Reading in the Playground
A range of books are taken into the playground for our children to access. On hot summer’s days our children can be seen sat under the shade of the tree canopies enjoying a good book.
From our community we have a number of adults in school who volunteer to read with our pupil’s. These include governors, parents, and ex-students.
Foundation Stage to Key Stage 2
Our approach to reading throughout school is consistent and therefore we hold events that are accessible for all. For example we have held Big Reads on our school field, we celebrate World Book Day and author studies form part of our curriculum.
In our Classrooms
In our classrooms we use a range of teaching strategies to develop reading skills, some of these are used consistently throughout school and others depend on our classes and the age and stage of our children.
It is an entitlement that all children at Whiteways Primary School receive an adult led Guided Reading session in their class twice per week or a daily Book Study session.
During Guided Reading classroom practitioners focus in on targeted groups of children to extend their reading skills through carefully planned reading tasks that are linked to their age and stage. Children then complete follow up activities based on their focussed sessions and independent learning tasks which consolidate previous learning.
During Book Study classroom practitioners read a text to their pupils. This is usually pitched at a higher level than the individuals in the class currently read at. This is to promote more exciting, challenging texts to pupils and to develop their skills of inference and deduction. As a class the children explore a comprehension task/type of question and then in a follow up activity revisit the task either independently or with adult support.
All classrooms have a variety of reading books in them which are book banded. These books allow children to choose texts to read that match their reading ability. All children in school have a book banded reading book which is changed regularly. Many of our children choose to take these books home to read and share them with their parents/carers.
For our children who are starting out on their reading journey we focus on getting them to recognise letters and sounds and high frequency words. As their understanding of how letters, sounds and words becomes more competent our focus changes to comprehension and the understanding of what is being read. In school we have a specific scheme to support this so that our children learn and develop their skills in a progressive manner.
Reading comprehension is taught at whole class and group level (via Guided Reading and Book Study). Through teacher led discussions our children are challenged to show their understanding of texts. Written responses are also used where appropriate to the age and stage of our children. These help our children to develop their understanding of texts read and to access national end of key stage tests.
Reading for Writing
Reading and writing is intrinsically linked and therefore shared reading and text analysis is an important part of our writing process. In our classrooms our practitioners share WAGOLLs (what a good one looks like) before asking our children to write in a similar style.
Class Novels and Reading for Pleasure
Class novels are also used to engage children in reading within our key stage 2 classrooms – where possible these are linked to our curriculum themes. Shorter stories are used in both key stage 1 and foundation stage to hook our young readers.
In school we have books to suit all readers including an extensive range of high interest low level texts. These allow all of our children to access reading material at a level which suitable to them.
Reading Areas and Book Corners
All of our classrooms have an area specifically designated to reading, a place that is special and purely designated to the enjoyment of texts. Some of our classrooms have cushions, blankets or mini benches to enhance their areas.
As a school we also use the Library Service - this ensures that our classrooms always have a good selection of topic books to support our children's learning across the curriculum.
Assessment is an important strand of the learning and teaching of reading at Whiteways. It is used to inform the children’s next steps and takes many forms in our classrooms. Ongoing observations/assessments are made by our practitioners during Guided Reading / Book Study sessions as specific objectives are taught and reviewed. Additionally we use bench marking and written reading tests to further inform our ongoing teacher assessments.
This is not an exhaustive list of everything that we do at Whiteways to encourage our children to read. It does however provide a flavour of the enthusiasm and commitment that we have to ensure that all of our children succeed at reading and begin their journeys as lifelong readers.