Reading is one of the most important skills your child will learn during their time at school. At Stockham, we believe that reading is the key that unlocks all learning. Reading, listening to and taking about stories and non-fiction develops children’s vocabulary because they meet words they would rarely hear of use in everyday speech. Understanding vocabulary is vital for comprehension and for wider learning and progress across the entire curriculum. Therefore, our intention is to create academic learners who achieve mastery in decoding and understanding texts by the time they leave our school. Language and communication underpin everything we do.
The teaching of reading
Our intention is that (by the end of Key Stage 2) pupils at Stockham will be able: to read fluently and with expression, varying the tone of the voice to suit purpose and audience; to infer and deduce, so that they understand when writers are using metaphor, shades of meaning, figurative language, or are simply leaving some things unsaid; to understand texts from diverse genres and authors and to read for information in order to access the secondary curriculum.
We intend for our past pupils to begin secondary education with a lifelong love of books and reading and with the confidence to visit the library at their new high schools and select a suitable book; to enter secondary education with a deep-seated curiosity in books – an ability to select books that they know they will enjoy, but, moreover, a desire to explore and seek out new text types, authors and genres.
Stockham’s reading curriculum uses class texts to drive guided reading, topic and written work, where appropriate.* The initial ‘driving text,’ is then supported with additional literature surrounding the same topic but introduces non – fiction, poetry and a range of other genres.
*this is true in many cases, but some texts do not link to the topic: they have simply been chosen due to being a piece of high-quality literature that will improve the cultural capital of our children.
We know that children learn best when the curriculum is well-sequenced. Children are taught new core knowledge, skills, understanding and vocabulary to deepen their conceptual awareness. However, our pupils are also given multiple opportunities to build on prior knowledge. Children of all abilities develop their skills, knowledge and understanding against each reading learning objective.
EYFS and Key Stage 1
In the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, we teach reading through a rigorous systematic synthetic phonics programme - Twinkl and our reading provision is also fully informed by current research and The Reading Framework: Teaching the Foundations of Literacy (DFE January 2022).
Key Stage 2
At Key Stage 2, the teaching of reading happens in a combination of shared reading (usually whole-class) and guided reading (in small groups).
In addition to direct teaching, teachers read high quality texts to pupils throughout the year, also using this as an opportunity to hear pupils read aloud and develop their fluency and prosody. These texts are detailed on the whole-school reading spine. We teach spelling and word level through the ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ schemes and spelling shed. All these schemes are compatible with the requirements of the National Curriculum.
We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. These:
o are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children;
o are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.
Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:
Reading for Pleasure
We know that reading is the key that unlocks all the learning and we understand the vital connection between learning to read for pleasure and academic success/mental well-being. Because of this, throughout a child’s time at Stockham, a team of adults and older children serve as role models to nurture every pupil’s reading career, to ensure they are reading for pleasure.
An ethos of reading for pleasure permeates the entire school curriculum. We intend to enhance the quality of childhood experience and expand the horizons of every child, (whether due to a disadvantaged background or any other reason). We intend to provide all children with a wealth of rich texts and, in particular, texts that they may not otherwise encounter in childhood.
The following provision is evident in our school:
At Stockham, we believe that great writers emerge from great readers, so much of our wider curriculum is built around quality fiction and non-fiction.
We intend to give pupils the opportunity to:
We intend to enable all pupils to grow and develop their own authorship throughout their time at our school. We understand the vital importance of writing (and spoken communication) in providing children with a voice, so that they can share their ideas with the world. We know that it is especially crucial that disadvantaged and SEN pupils develop this “voice” and we intend for them to do so. Therefore we aim to provide purpose and context as much as possible.
We want all pupils leave our school well-equipped for secondary education, with the ability to write effectively in a range of fiction genres and non-fiction text types. We understand the duality of writing: it is an invaluable life skill, yet it is also a means of self-expression (by committing words to a blank page we leave our mark on the world).
At Stockham, we believe that writing should be taught using a range of pedagogical approaches that are challenging yet enjoyable for our pupils, so that our children want to write, recognising that a person can write for their own entertainment, which will then entertain the reader in turn. For this reason, our writing opportunities are often integrated into thematic work so that tasks are pertinent, contextual and for real purposes. Writing skills may be taught in isolation (eg. grammar, spelling and handwriting) but longer writing tasks are usually linked to our curriculum topics/units. Storytelling and Talk for Writing are other engaging and inclusive pedagogical approaches to writing that are sometimes employed - using the power of stories and storytelling/oracy to raise standards in reading and writing.
We strive to provide children with a wide range of writing opportunities in both fiction and non-fiction, writing in every subject across the curriculum. However, our intention is also to grant classroom practitioners the professional freedom to present the pupils in their class with unforeseen writing opportunities as and when these arise. For example, (in addition to planned writing opportunities) current affairs (including local, national and global events), trips, visits, special events, topical assemblies and other experiences may provide purposeful and fresh writing opportunities.
The teaching of writing
Our School’s writing is driven by a writing spine which provides pupils with a wide range of writing opportunities in both fiction and non-fiction, writing in multiple subject disciplines across the curriculum. Pupils are given opportunities to write for a range of audiences and purposes, adopting the level of formality required to suit each task.
We know that children learn best when the curriculum is well-sequenced. Children are taught new core knowledge, skills, understanding and vocabulary to deepen their conceptual awareness. However, our pupils are also given multiple opportunities to build on prior knowledge. Children of all abilities develop their skills, knowledge and understanding against each writing learning objective.
Year group progression documents ensure progression and high standards of writing. Both of these documents list aspects of writing for each year group, which most children should routinely use with accuracy and consistency and are applied in writing lessons.
We strive for: