READING AT SACRED HEART SCHOOL
Here at Sacred Heart we believe that reading is essential as it allows us to be transported from our own world to another. Between the pages of a book, children can become immersed in the lives of fictional characters and learn about a culture entirely different from their own. We understand that reading is fundamental in children’s development and allows them to become independent learners.
Reading for pleasure can benefit a child’s education, social and cognitive development, their wellbeing, and their mental health, which is why reading is such a high priority for our school. Teachers know that success in reading has a direct effect on progress in all areas of the curriculum. The ability to read enables our pupils to become enthusiastic, independent and reflective readers across a wide range and types of literature, including different text types and genres.
At Sacred Heart School, reading teachers encourage children to use a range of strategies and approaches to the understand the meaning behind words. As a school, we have taken a consistent approach to the teaching of reading. Reciprocal Reading encourages pupils to take ownership of their learning and promotes independence; a vital skill children need to become successful in life.
Our main aims for pupils:
- Become fluent, confident and expressive readers
- Read with enjoyment across a range of genres
- Read for pleasure as well as for information
- Read and respond to a wide range of different types of literature
- Understand the layout and how to use different genres and text types
- Understand and apply their knowledge of phonics and spelling patterns and use this to decode words with accuracy
- Build their bank of sight words to enable fluent reading
- Have an interest in words and their meanings, developing a rich and varied vocabulary
- Understand and respond to literature drawn from a range of cultures and literacy heritage.
The love of reading
Here at Sacred Heart, we understand how essential developing a love of reading can be at an early age to a child’s development and reading journey in the future. Reading is celebrated, encouraged and at the forefront of all teaching and conversation within school.
Reading for pleasure is encouraged by an ever increasing range of provision such as:
- The opportunity for children able to visit Starbooks (the school library) and take books home
- Whole school events and celebrations
- Reciprocal Reading sessions
- Story clubs
- Starbooks loyalty cards
- Weekly visits to the local library
- Training sessions with librarians
- Weekly raffle competitions for frequent readers
- Reading lanyards for frequent readers to earn extra privileges
- Daily reading of a class story for pleasure
Progression throughout school
We follow the Jolly Phonics scheme to teach synthetic phonics in Early Years and Key Stage 1. When children enter reception, they quickly learn the letters that represent the first set of sounds. Children learn to blend these sounds to read simple words and as soon as they are confident, children apply their blending skills to read books independently. We use Oxford Reading Tree for our core reading scheme throughout school. These include decodable books for our early readers so that when they read them, both at home and at school, they are immediately successful; develop fluency and enjoyment of reading. Children are taught to recognise ‘Tricky Words’ as part of their phonics programme. Children are taught to read these words by sight to improve their fluency when reading.
As children move through reception and year 1, they are taught letters and groups of letters (friendly letters) to represent all 44 sounds. Children’s developing phonic knowledge is assessed regularly and children who are falling behind are given 1:1 intervention in order to help them keep up with their peers. Phonics groups are reviewed regularly to make sure that children are receiving a phonics programme that is appropriate for their needs.
Children are given lots of opportunities to apply their early reading and writing skills in activities in provision areas, through access to high quality books and in the language rich environment they learn in. Children have daily story time sessions where we use repeated texts to explore and learn new vocabulary and learn key phrases from the focus text. This enables children to access these texts which are at a level beyond their independent reading and promotes confidence and a love of story.
By the time children reach Year 2, they are confident at using the skills taught in Reception and Year 1 to support them with reading and decoding new texts. The teachers in Year 2 ensure that children who are lower attaining and need more time to catch up are identified. These pupils attend specific phonics interventions to close any gaps in learning as quickly as possible. Teachers also teach comprehension skills and how to answer a range of styles of questions that children can be asked about their reading. Reciprocal Reading is introduced in Year 2. They start to understand the meaning behind the ‘job cards’ and begin their Reciprocal Reading journey. Pupils are given the opportunity to lead their reading group for the first time, supported by the reading teachers within the class. This often sparks excitement and helps children develop their love of reading. Children have access to a range of books matching the topic they are taught in foundation subjects to encourage intellectual curiosity. Pupils books are monitored; teachers ensure books sent home, not only match pupil’s interests, but are also matched to ability.
In Year 3, pupils are exposed to more genres and ranges of text styles through Talk4Writing. They are then encouraged to read books that link to the genre. Similar text styles are also then used in comprehension sessions to encourage the children to gain a better understanding of the features. Pupils take part in Reciprocal Reading sessions throughout the week. Children learn the skills needed to read difficult texts or language they may not have been exposed to before. We encourage a resilient approach to reading and inspire children to never give up. Again. adults within the classroom ensure books are matched specifically to meet the needs of each individual pupil within the class – this includes both interests and reading ability. Staff ensure children are heard reading during Reciprocal Reading sessions to progress understanding and pick up on any misconceptions.
In Year 4 the reading journey continues as children meet a variety of text styles. The texts that children meet add more challenge to their abilities to comprehend and infer. Children are still very much encouraged and supported in their individual reading; some children are, by now, able readers and reading far above their chronological age at this point. These children have access to age-appropriate texts that engage and motivate them with literary challenge but accessible themes and interest levels. Dedicated Reciprocal Reading lessons continue to cover the range of skills that children need to fully develop their reading, including further embedding and use of phonic skills; and vocabulary is a continued focus.
Year 5 takes a similar structure. Children are exposed to a range of texts and are taught explicit reading skills in Reciprocal Reading sessions. Now in upper Key Stage 2, it is evident that children are given more freedom and have successfully built up their Reciprocal Reading skills. Pupils have a much more independent approach to Reciprocal Reading and are now successfully leading their own groups. The newfound freedom encourages our pupils to delve into the text and discover new meanings of words by using a range of techniques. Children have access to dictionaries, the support of their peers and adults within the class to support them with accessing the text.
In Year 6, children hone and refine their skills, using all the knowledge acquired during their time in school. They continue to develop their vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation and summarising skills to read and understand longer and complex texts, understanding technical and more obscure vocabulary. Children are still read to regularly and are actively encouraged to read a range of texts independently, taking more responsibility for their own reading. Children are also encouraged to attend Booster Sessions after school to support them with accessing the end of Key Stage SATS. However, we ensure this is not the focus of reading throughout their Year 6 experience- teachers continue to build on pupil’s love of reading.
Reciprocal Reading at Sacred Heart
Reciprocal Reading is a dialogue between the teacher and a group of students for the purpose of jointly constructing the meaning of the text.. The teacher uses a balance of explanation, instruction, modelling and guided practice to develop. understanding of key reading skills. As children progress through school, they are encouraged to take a more independent role in Reciprocal Reading sessions. One of our main aims as a school is for children to confidently lead their group and independently dissect and discover the meaning behind words and sentences within the text.
Key Stage 1
Throughout their time in Key Stage 1, children will be exposed to the different job roles within Reciprocal Reading. Teachers introduce the different ‘job cards’ within their reading groups and demonstrate how to use the cards to answer questions and deepen understanding of the text. Pupils are encouraged at a young age to take on the role as ‘Boss’ and lead their group within the session. Allowing children to ask questions about vocabulary and texts ensures they have a better understanding of the book and can then apply this when reading independently. The main cards children are encouraged to use independently in KS1 are:
Key Stage 2
When in Key Stage 2, teachers take a step back from leading groups and allow children to take ownership of their Reciprocal Reading sessions. Pupils are encouraged to work as a team to clarify, question, summarise and predict when reading the text. Again, allowing the pupils to take charge of the session gives them a deeper understanding of vocabulary and meaning from the text, as they can move at their own pace. Teachers have the ability to change the Reciprocal Reading sessions according to the need of the class. For example, if the class need work clarifying words within the text, the whole group can work together to do this, modelled by the adult, to ensure they are more confident at using the skill; they can then apply this independently in the next session.
Please click the links to hear Reciprocal Reading explained or watch it in action:
How you can you support your child at home?
Step 1– Have an oral discussion of a text. Model being a reader and have discussions. This session is based around book talk.
The key skills being modelled are:
- Know when to slow down
- When to reread
- To spot errors and self-correct
- Tie clues together
- Think about meaning so that it makes sense
- Read with expression
Step 2– After the discussion, ask your child to annotate the texts with their thoughts, wonders and questions.
Some strategies you could use are:
- Echo reading
- Adult reads each sentence with expression
- Child follows and marks text
- Adult rereads bit by bit
- Child echoes
- Line by line reading This is slow reading line by line and involves tying clues together as the text is explored together.
Step 3– The text used will be the same text as in lesson one. Have a discussion about vocabulary. Select the vocabulary, explain the vocabulary, allow children to explore the vocabulary and then consolidate the vocabulary. There are many ways to teach vocabulary. Some important strategies are:
- Say it/repeat definition/ use it/ find and/or use in a different context/ synonyms/antonyms
- Looking at intensity/shades of meaning/word families
- Model language/learning to love words/root word/word class/spelling rule