'Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.' Plato
At Firfield Primary School, we believe that the teaching of reading is integral to a child’s understanding and appreciation of the world around them. Reading is a platform that allows our children to see beyond what they know, share in cultural experiences and develop the vocabulary they need to express themselves. Reading is at the very centre of our curriculum and unlocks the door to learning both in school and at home. We are committed to promoting a love for reading and not only giving children opportunities to read in English lessons, but in the wider curriculum too.
At Firfield, we strive to deliver an exciting and engaging Reading curriculum which provides all children with the key literacy skills they will need as World Citizens, whilst enabling creativity and progression across the year groups. We attach great importance to enabling all children to develop into fluent and confident readers, who have a love for reading that will stay with them for life. Our reading provision is designed to develop creative and curious minds who have a fascination about reading, and to foster the progressive development of concepts, knowledge and skills in the subject. We think every day should be a World Book Day where reading is celebrated. It is important that children are motivated to read at home regularly; when their reading opportunities increase, so does their fluency and stamina which in turn increases their enjoyment of reading. Therefore, the link between children’s motivation to read and reading for pleasure is reciprocal. Furthermore, we know that reading pleasure is beneficial not only for reading outcomes and accessing the wider curriculum, but for wider learning enjoyment and mental wellbeing. We understand the significance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop both word reading and comprehension skills so we endeavour to build a home-school partnership which enables parents and carers to have the confidence to support their children with reading at home.
At Firfield, we learn to read and read to learn. Reading is the foundation upon which all learning begins. Our curriculum is designed so that, alongside reading for pleasure, children develop the ability to use their reading skills to research and gather new knowledge and understanding across the curriculum. Learning to read is one of the most important life skills a child needs to achieve at Firfield, so we are passionate about making sure that every single child learns to read fluently, whilst also enjoying the stories, poems, information books that we have built into our curriculum.
When the children begin school in Reception, they begin a systematic phonics programme called Essential Letters. In EYFS and KS1, children receive daily phonics sessions and read books which are matched to their developing phonics knowledge. This allows them to apply their segmenting and blending skills, and build fluency in their reading style as they read and re-read texts suited to their reading ability. If required, children are also taught phonics in Key Stage 2.
As children move on from phonics based texts, books are grouped into colour bands and focus more widely on reading comprehension skills. Teachers will decide when children are ready to begin, and when to move through this scheme. Children read these books with members of staff in school, with parent volunteers and they will also be sent home to be read with parents Children are assessed regularly on their comprehension skills and will move through colour banded levels at their own learning pace.
At Firfield Primary School, we use DERIC as a whole class approach to teach reading skills which equips pupils with the necessary skills to be successful readers. It focuses on building fluency and embedding comprehension skills with direct, taught sessions. DERIC stands for; Decode, Explain, Retrieve, Interpret and Choice. These are all closely linked to the assessed strands in the end of key stage assessments.
D for decode - this is the sounding out and blending of words and then becoming more confident with reading words on sight.
E for explain - asking the children to explain the meaning of words and being able to explain what is happening in the text they have read.
R - for retrieve - asking the children questions where the answer can be found in the text or pictures. For example: How many cups are on the table? What colour is the bear's hat?
I - for interpret - the children are to use their inference skills to use clues in the text and what they already know to make suggestions about what they have read. (Using ‘because’ in their responses). For example: Why do you think the bear was crying?
C - for choice - asking the children questions about why the author has chosen to lay out the text in a particular way.
In EYFS and Year 1, the children follow a carousel of activities for Guided Reading. From Year 2, the children focus on a class read during Guided Reading. Our Reading Spine has been chosen to incorporate our curriculum drivers and to ensure that there is a clear progression within year groups and across the school.
From Year 2, when teaching guided reading, there is one learning objective for the whole class based around the same text. The activities or level of support is adapted for different abilities so that all children can access the learning objective and be challenged. The whole class reading approach supports rapid progress of lower ability readers. Research suggests this is due to exposure to higher-level questions and answers. Pictorial stimulus or activities which are designed to have a comprehension focus but reduce the amount of decoding can also be used to support SEND pupils alongside their phonics work.
Above all else, we want our children to enjoy reading and have the confidence to read independently, exploring a range of genres and authors. All children have access to a library within school, whether this be in the classroom or shared area. Across the curriculum, teachers carefully choose high quality texts linked to their topics, interests and to include a range of diversity.
Within the last year, we have offered additional activities to promote reading enjoyment:
- Live book workshops with authors
- World Book Day
- Roald Dahl Book Week
- Reading challenges
- Teachers have visited different classes to read their favourite texts
- Daily storytime
At Firfield, we have built reading at the centre of our curriculum as we believe it is crucial to all learning: the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the result of statutory assessments. Our reading curriculum and wider curriculum will give our children the opportunity to enter the wide and varied magical worlds that reading opens up to them. As they develop their own interest in books, a deep love of literature across a range of genres cultures and styles is enhanced.
We want all children to leave our school reading with confidence, fluency and understanding, using a range of independent strategies Through the teaching of systematic phonics and guided reading, our aim is for children to become fluent and confident readers who can apply their knowledge and experience to a range of texts throughout the curriculum.
Our aim throughout the curriculum is for children to leave Firfield as thoughtful, reflective, articulate individuals who are able to communicate their opinions, their ideas and their emotions in a wide range of spoken and written ways. They will have developed an understanding of the importance of reading both to acquire knowledge and for pleasure/enjoyment.
As a Year 6 reader, transitioning into secondary school, we aspire that children are fluent, confident and able readers, who can access a range of texts for pleasure and enjoyment, as well as use their reading skills to unlock learning and all areas of the curriculum.