Rationale for the Reading Curriculum at St. Edmund’s

“So it is with children who learn to read fluently and well: They begin to take flight into whole new worlds as effortlessly as young birds take to the sky.” (William James)

At St. Edmund’s our aim is for every child to leave school as a fluent, confident reader, not only because reading is a valuable skill in its own right, but also because it is crucial to allow them to access the breadth of the curriculum as increasingly independent learners.

As primary educators, we hope that some of our pupils will be inspired to study English Literature at university, and our curriculum provides the first steps on this learning journey with an initial focus on decoding text, but moving on to analyse structure, themes and the author’s intent in Key Stage 2.

For those children whose academic journeys take them in other directions, reading is still key to their development. It is through their reading of quality texts that children are able to absorb that knowledge valued by society, known as cultural capital. In order to participate fully in society, children will need to be able to read critically.

Finally, for many children reading is a source of great pleasure which will remain with them into adulthood.

 

How do we teach reading at St Edmund’s?

Children in Year 2 and Key Stage 2 enjoy Whole Class Reading sessions. Using this approach to the teaching of reading means that the teacher can better plan activities which allow children to access reading skills. It also allows the teacher to work with the children that need it the most at that time. The outcome of the lesson is often written but not always. Teaching the whole class the same objective removes the problem of independent groups and it allows the teacher to focus on one objective in depth and better prepare children for the expectation of written responses at the end of KS2.

Children are aware of the reading skills that they are learning in order to give them a greater understanding of what makes a well-rounded reader. We can break down these skills using the VIPERS acronym.

Vocabulary

Inference

Prediction

Explanation

Retrieval

Summarise

The skills of reading do not always revolve around books. This is particularly useful for those children who are not the most fluent readers as they can still develop their explanation, retrieval, inference, summary and vocabulary skills, without being limited to what they can decode. This may involve listening to the teacher or peers reading or using pictures or short films. These activities make children aware of the different reading skills.

 

Reading books

In KS1 children’s books are changed regularly and decodable books will be issued that are appropriate to the phonic phase that the child is working on. Teachers monitor reading records regularly to ensure that children are reading frequently at home. This will enable them to quickly identify those children that need extra reading support in school.

In KS2, children choose a reading books at the appropriate level to suit their reading ability from a supply of books that is in each classroom. In addition, they chose a book to read for pleasure from the library or from a class library. Strong communication and support between home and school is essential in the teaching of reading. Children are expected to read at home each day.