At Carlton Miniott Primary Academy, we value reading as a key life skill and recognise its importance for academic success. We are determined to ensure that our children become confident, fluent readers. We aim to inspire a lifelong love of reading and want our pupils to develop the habit of reading widely both for pleasure and for information. We recognise that exposure to a rich and varied reading diet enables pupils to acquire new knowledge and deeper understanding, to build a wide vocabulary and to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.
Inspiring a love of reading
At Carlton Miniott Primary Academy our children have access to attractive books and high quality texts. Each classroom in our school has a class library of carefully selected, age-appropriate books. Our book choices are guided by the Pie Corbett Reading Spine, The School Reading List and Ashley Booth's Reading Spine. The Friends of School regularly allocate money to refresh and update the classroom collections.
Our class texts are carefully selected to offer a wide range of genres and authors, male and female protagonists and a variety of cultures, places and times. Where possible, texts link to the wider curriculum theme but we recognise that the quality of the text and the scope it offers to develop key reading skills are more important than its link to the topic. These high quality texts are used in guided reading sessions, as class readers and for the home reading challenge.
Our school has a well-stocked library. Children from Y1 to Y6 enjoy weekly library sessions where they can choose freely from the fiction and non-fiction sections. Children in Reception have their own class library from which they may borrow a book each week. Children in Class R also visit Thirsk library each year and enrol as members.
Each year we celebrate World Book Day. This may be by inviting authors to deliver writing workshops, by arranging book-themed activity carousels across the school, by visiting the local book shop, by taking part in National events such as ‘One Million Hours of Reading’ or simply by dressing up as book characters and sharing our favourite stories.
Each year, we hold a book fair in school. The commission from the sales is used to purchase quality books for our school collections.
Our Reading Offer
- We expect children to read at home at least three times each week and to have their planner signed by a parent or carer to confirm this. Each class has a home reading challenge to encourage reading at home and a display board to celebrate progress. Children can achieve bronze, silver and gold certificates according to how much reading they do at home. If children do not read enough at home, then steps are taken in class to compensate for this.
Learning to read
The teaching of reading has a high priority in our reception class. Children learn to read in the following ways.
- Phases 2, 3 and 4 of ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds’ provide the basis for systematic synthetic phonics.
- Daily guided reading sessions as a whole class and reading practice sessions in small groups or 1:1 are used to model and teach the blending skills needed to decode text and the comprehension skills needed to understand.
- Phonetically decodable readers are used in class and for home reading practice. These are closely matched to the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds phases. (Bug Club Phonics, Songbirds Phonics, ORT Phonics, Big Cat Phonics and Big Cat e-library books for Little Wandle Letters and Sounds)
- Children in EYFS enjoy a daily diet of high-quality shared stories, rhymes, nursery rhymes and action songs.
- The Reception Class teacher delivers a reading and phonics workshop for parents each year.
In KS1 reading continues to have a high priority.
- Phases 4 and 5 of ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds’ provide the basis for daily teaching of systematic synthetic phonics in Y1.
- Reading skills are developed through a daily carousel of activities, including two reading practice sessions with an adult. Books for guided reading (Songbirds Phonics, ORT Phonics, Big Cat Phonics and Big Cat e-library books for Little Wandle Letters and Sounds)) are organised into colour bands, matched to Letters and Sounds phases. (Yellow-Phase 3/4, Blue-Phase 4/5, Green-Phase 5, Orange-Phase 5/6, Turquoise-Phase 5/6, Purple-Phase 6, Gold-Phase 6)
- Other activities that are included in the reading carousel are; independent reading, word level reading and spelling tasks, sentence level reading and grammar tasks and handwriting with a spelling focus.
- The class text is also used to develop comprehension skills and ‘book talk.’
In KS2 high quality, challenging texts are used to teach and develop reading fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. All children in each class have access to the same text. We believe that children should experience whole novels and spend three days each week working on the class book. We want our children to experience the feel of a book and we are investing in half class sets of core texts. The whole book is not necessarily used in guided reading but is always finished in class reading time. We also recognise that children need to be able to tackle unfamiliar texts so we use extracts for comprehension activities at the end of the week.
- In KS2 daily whole class guided reading is planned to ensure coverage of the reading domains. There is a strong focus on developing children’s understanding of new vocabulary. Each day the teacher models fluent expressive reading and the children develop reading fluency through individual, choral reading and paired reading. Once children achieve fluency they predominantly read individually and silently.
- All guided reading sessions adhere to the following seven principles;
- All children should be in mixed-attainment pairs, so as to allow for frequent, paired discussion
- The text chosen should provide a clear challenge for all members of the class
- When reading, the teacher should model good use of intonation, movement, volume and expression
- Teachers should be actively monitoring pace, so as to ensure high levels of engagement throughout the lesson
- Teachers should use targeted and open-ended questioning
- When discussing literature, the teacher should model, and expect from children, high-quality responses with evidence and explanations provided to support
- All follow-up tasks should be carefully thought out so as to provide challenge for all children and support for those who need it.
- In Y6 and Y5 the children spend half an hour per day on Reading Plus, an online reading platform which helps develop fluency and comprehension. Teachers use the analysis tools to pinpoint specific areas of weakness and plan interventions to tackle these.
- We subscribe to ‘First News’ which is a children’s newspaper. Time is spent reading and investigating the news to develop general knowledge and awareness of current affairs.
Reading Working Walls
In each classroom there is a designated working wall for reading. The working walls are used to help children talk about and remember authors, genres and key vocabulary as well as to support the development of comprehension skills.
Reading progress is carefully monitored.
- Formative assessment is used to plan daily and weekly reading activities. On-going assessments are made using the Elevate Reading Objectives and are recorded on our on-line tracker, Insight. In EYFS, Y1 and Y2 a guided reading notebook is used to record evidence of children’s decoding and comprehension skills. In KS2 the children record their work in Guided Reading workbooks.
- The EYFS, Y2 and Y6 teachers attend moderation training and receive moderation visits to ensure accuracy of end of key stage summative judgements.
- The Y1 class teacher attends phonics screening training.
- Each term children from Y1 to Y5 complete a PIRA test. Y6 complete a past SATs paper. Results are carefully analysed by the class teacher and English subject leader. Actions are agreed at pupil progress meetings and shared with parents at parent consultations.
- Children who are not on track to achieve their targets are supported through ‘Keep up’ strategies.
The English subject leader attends termly North Star/Elevate subject development days to keep up to date with new developments and resources. We also access support from the YEAT English Hub and make use of the National College training resources. The subject leader refers to EEF research papers before making decisions about implementing change. Time is allocated in staff meetings and training days for the subject leader to disseminate information and for the whole team to work together to agree policy and develop teaching strategies.
The impact of our approach to reading is that all children learn to read. Our children become enthusiastic readers who read for pleasure and for information. They are exposed to a wide range of authors and genres. Our well-planned reading curriculum contributes to their acquisition of cultural capital and prepares them well for the challenging text types they will encounter at secondary school and beyond.