Reading Leader: Kathryn Davis
Reading is the key to success in the whole curriculum and is a life-long skill that will unlock knowledge and enjoyment for all learners. Our aim at CCJ is that all children will develop a passion for reading and will leave our school having been inspired by a diverse range of authors and high-quality texts.
At Key Stage 2, the focus of teaching reading moves away from decoding (learning to read aloud) to comprehension (understanding of the meaning of the text).
Levelled reading books
All children have a book that is targeted at their reading age. Our reading scheme can be found in the Reading Hub, in the centre of our school.
At CCJ, all children who are not yet 'free readers' will take a short benchmark assessment, which means they will read a short passage aloud to an adult and answer comprehension questions about what they have read. This will help us to choose the correct level book for them so that the texts they bring home are just right in terms of challenge and new vocabulary. All children across the school who are not yet achieving level 30+ are benchmarked once per term. Children must be benchmarked by an adult before they can move up to the next level and must be able to demonstrate a good understanding of the meaning of the text before moving up.
If children have completed all the levels on our reading scheme, they can choose a book from our 100 Books Challenge, which is a list of 100 books that have been selected by teachers at CCJ to encourage children to stretch themselves and to read books by a range of different authors, from a range of different cultures and from a range of different historical periods.
Reading regularly at home
As part of our weekly homework, all children should read their levelled reading book (or 100 Books Challenge book if they are a free reader) at least five times a week.
Every child has a reading bookmark to note when they have read and to keep a track of which books they have already read. Comprehension is a very important part of learning to read so it is important to ask your child lots of questions about their book to help them progress to the next level. Suggested questions can be found on the back of their bookmark. If you have any questions or concerns about your child's book level, please speak to their class teacher, who will be able to discuss your child's next steps.
Every class visits the library once a week in school time and each child is able to borrow two books (fiction or non-fiction). We allow children to borrow any book to ensure that they have the opportunity to develop a passion for reading.
Children who are not yet confident with phonics
We analyse the data we receive from the infant school to ensure that any children who did not pass their phonics retake in year 2 are provided with regular phonics intervention. We use the phonics programme Read Write Inc.
Rapid Reading is our intervention to help children who are struggling to decode and comprehend catch up with their year group peers by making rapid progress through our book levels. Children work in small focused groups with a trained teaching partner up to four times a week, reading and discussing books that are carefully matched to their phonic, decoding and comprehension abilities. If a child is taking part in Rapid Reading sessions, the teaching partner leading the group benchmarks the children in their group and shares this information with the SENDCO, assessment leader and class teachers.
Active Reading lessons
Active Reading lessons are whole-class reading lessons that are timetabled to take place in every class every day and last approximately 20 minutes. As well as providing children opportunities to develop their fluency, there is an explicit focus on developing comprehension skills such as summarising what a text is about, retrieval, inference and working out the meaning of words.
Each week, a new short text is shared with the class. This can be an extract from the high-quality text being used in writing lessons, a text linked to the termly topic or another age-appropriate text, for example related to a topical event such as a national celebration or an issue in the news. A range of different text types are selected so that children are exposed to different fictional genres, non-fiction texts and poems over time. The text includes aspirational vocabulary so that children can develop strategies to work out the meaning of unfamiliar words.
On the first day in the weekly sequence, the class read the text and practise either asking questions, predicting or summarising. On the following days, a different skill is focused on using that same text each day. On the last day in the sequence, the children answer a range of different question types that have been taught during the week about an unseen text.
Whilst written answers to comprehension questions form an important part of being able to demonstrate comprehension, there is no expectation that every lesson is recorded in books. Often, for example when practising predicting or inferring, activities such as a discussion, drama or class debate can be very effective at developing children’s skills.
To ensure that there is clear progression of skills in each year group, each reading skill area has been carefully broken down into year-group specific skills.
Feedback in Active Reading is most relevant when given during the lesson. Part of the lesson is always devoted to reviewing answers as a class. Children often self or peer mark using purple pen. Teachers always review children’s work to identify which children may require further support.
The ‘prove it’ lesson each Friday is a useful assessment opportunity as it allows children to demonstrate their understanding using a short unseen text.
Throughout the year, there are three formal assessment weeks. We currently use the NFER assessment papers, which consist of three texts and three sets of questions. A combination of the formal assessments, benchmarking levels, knowledge of the child’s contributions in class and work in exercise books will feed into teacher judgements against each objective. Three times a year, teachers make an overall judgement about each child’s attainment in reading.