What is Reading?
At St. Andrew’s, we believe that reading is a journey born out of curiosity for the world around us; leading to an understanding and enjoyment of texts, poetry and plays following a carefully structured path.
Through the eyes of our children, reading is important because:
‘Reading helps with all our learning. When you read you can find out information, go on adventures, animals may come alive, you can escape to other places and learn new things.’
The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:
It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.
Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (i.e. unskilled readers) when they start school.
Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.
It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.
Through reading, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. At St. Andrew’s Primary School, we highly value reading as a key life skill, and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We encourage our children to read a wide range of texts for pleasure in order to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Our aim is for them to communicate confidently and effectively, to allow them to become a global citizen. We believe that reading is the bedrock of success in education.
The teaching and implementation of the Reading curriculum at St. Andrew’s C.E. Primary School is based on the Early Learning Goals and National Curriculum.
Through the explicit teaching of the Reading skills and key concepts, both the teachers and the pupils assess their learning continuously throughout lessons and follow the marking and feedback policy. Teachers continually assess children’s progress and achievement by adapting lesson plans on a daily basis.
Pupils’ attainment and progress over time is formally recorded three times each year with teachers making informed judgements using the Classroom Monitor assessment system. Key objectives for Years 1 to 6 are assessed in Reading. In years 1-6, teachers also administer PIRA tests, in autumn, spring and summer to support their judgments.