A Hoyle Court Reader
“The whole world opened to me when I learned to read.”
Mary McLeod Bethane
At Hoyle Court Primary School we see reading as an essential life skill that leads to improved life chances. Reading underpins access to the entire curriculum and impacts on all learning. It is therefore integral to our whole school programmes of study.
Reading has a central importance in world history and culture. It is fundamental to functioning within society and it develops the mind allowing us to discover new things and share ideas. Reading develops our imagination and creativity: vital skills for the world of work and leisure. The power behind written ideas communicated through reading cannot be overstated: in fact, over 1,700 of our words and phrases were first written by Shakespeare. Through the ages, his written word has evolved into our common language. Reading is important because words – spoken and written – are the building blocks of history, learning and life.
Children need to experience the power and importance of reading. Books create warm, emotional bonds between adults and children when they read together. Books help children develop basic language skills and profoundly expand their vocabularies. Books are interactive; they demand that children think and help the development of critical thinking skills. Books give us new ways to think and new ideas. They expand our universe beyond time and place and inspire our own original thoughts. Books develop and nourish children’s imaginations, expanding their worlds. Books let children try on the world – socially, morally, culturally and ethically – before they have to go out into it. Books help us to understand ourselves, to find out who we are, whilst also allowing children to connect to other people. Books offer a wide breadth of information, experience, and knowledge: creating and answering questions. Books entertain and offer an escape.
We aim for all our children to read with a confidence, fluency and understanding that ensures a lifetime of enjoyment through reading. All readers are seen as unique and individual and receive support where necessary to access reading material at an age appropriate level, regardless of their individual needs. Our vision is for every child to be able to use their wide range of reading skills to ensure their understanding and learning across the curriculum and beyond. We want children to enjoy reading a wide range of different books – fiction and non-fiction – and talk enthusiastically about books and authors. Hoyle Court readers choose to read for pleasure.
What do children learn at Hoyle Court?
Reading for Pleasure
Reading for pleasure is a joy that staff at Hoyle Court want for all our children, whatever their reading preferences may be. Developing a love of literature and language and also seeing its importance as a tool to master, is integral in our curriculum.
Our teachers talk about books and reading experiences with our children regularly. Each classroom has an attractive but purposeful reading area. Books are celebrated and used effectively across the curriculum as our whole curriculum is built around books. Termly reading challenges also inspire and promote reading throughout school.
Reading at Hoyle Court
We are determined that all children will learn to read, regardless of any barriers to and levels of learning. We place a strong focus on reading and believe that all children need to learn how to read by the end of KS1- marrying both strong phonic knowledge and fluency for comprehension. Our teaching of phonics across school is fundamental to the progress of all children, regardless of their starting points. We believe that it is important that all children become fluent readers and as a result, reading is always our first, foremost and central ongoing priority. Because of this, children will have the skills and knowledge to access the wider curriculum. A crucial part of this is to inspire a love of reading. A range of texts and genres are shared and used as part of whole class reading lessons but also as part of timetabled ‘story time’ across school- this is integral to our approach to whole school reading. We foster a love of reading across the curriculum as it is our upmost priority. Our teachers read to children every day, sometimes to challenge and often purely for pleasure.
In order to develop an effective reading curriculum, we have built a multi-layered approach underpinned by the principles from the CLPE (Centre for Literacy in Primary Education) to ensure our approaches are research led and proven to have the most impact. We know using high quality texts, having a read aloud programme, creating a community of readers and using books across the curriculum is fundamental to creating a reading culture. Therefore, whole class reading lessons using high quality texts, daily phonics lessons, reading buddies, timetabled library sessions, daily timetabled story time and parental stay and read sessions are all part of our regular reading offer.
We understand that a skills model is very important because by teaching a sequence of skills, separately defined in a logical and sequential order, improves comprehension of texts. Therefore, the key skills of prediction, vocabulary, retrieval, inference and summarising are taught in dedicated reading skills lessons across the whole school.
Thoughtfully and purposefully, our whole curriculum is built around books, for example, the Victorians topic in UKS2 is centred around ‘Street Child’ and ‘Oliver Twist’. Knowledge and understanding of the wider curriculum nourishes reading skills such as inference and allows children to build a vocabulary base which allows them to access and understand texts deeply.
Whole Class Reading
From years 2 to year 6, children have a reading lesson daily. All children access the same text. It is crucial that all children receive the same text because the text has been chosen carefully to challenge and will provide opportunities for deep book talk. This is because the texts chosen open up new worlds of interest and issues for our children to explore, beyond what they would choose to read themselves. The focus of the lessons is to delve deeply into the language, themes and ideas.
Teachers plan exciting and engaging lessons where they cover a range of learning objectives based around the key reading skills of prediction, retrieval, vocabulary, summary and inference. Built into these sessions are times when the teacher reads aloud sections of the text to the children as an expert model of fluency, intonation and expression. Then children paired read with a carefully chosen partner – at this point teachers listen carefully to pairs to ensure fluency, accurate intonation and expression.
Sometimes, echo reading is used to practise fluency, intonation and expression. We aim high and then support all children to reach these expectations. Fluent, confident readers are challenged to explain further or find evidence to justify their thinking or extended using ACE challenges which are based around the upper three tiers of Bloom’s taxonomy: analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
Daily Individual Reading
Children take home an individual reading book – they are also provided with a reading card, reading record or diary which is shared between school and home. Class teachers listen to readers daily. KS1 teachers record this individual daily reading and ensure that the whole class is listened to during a week by an adult. KS1 also continue to have guided groups reading colour banded books as these books support and mirror the teaching of phonics, which is essential to develop early fluency.
KS2 teachers listen to individual readers as part of whole class reading and during independent reading time. Any other individual reading is in addition to this and it is the teacher’s responsibility to ensure that all children are reading regularly. Our well-stocked school library also provides additional reading material for our children to borrow and enjoy.
Story time is an integral and valuable part of the school day and is timetabled daily. Sometimes, an older child will read to a younger class as UKS2 children take responsibility to help younger children become confident readers and to be positive reading role models.
Reading Buddies and Pairing
Reading buddies happen at least once a fortnight. However, this is so popular with the children that many classes buddy up weekly. Children are carefully paired between the two classes to ensure both buddies in the partnership gain the most from the experience.
Older reading buddies are trained to listen to their buddy read, ask questions about the book, play reading games with their buddy and also to read to their buddy therefore being a positive reading role model for the younger buddy. This also allows the younger buddy to hear stories that they may not be able to read themselves yet. The older buddy also benefits from the confidence gained from teaching others to enjoy reading and seeing themselves as the expert reader. These sessions are highly valued by staff and children alike.
Reading at Home
We also encourage children to read as much as possible at home. Listening to your child read and talking to them about their reading is essential. All children also have a ‘Bug Club’ login to help and extend home reading.
All the above aims to encourage children to:
- Read widely for pleasure and enjoyment, seeing themselves as confident, expert readers.
- Choose texts from a wide variety of authors and text types.
- Pursue favourite authors and series but also discover and explore new authors and text types.
- Learn how to select and choose texts but also to challenge themselves in their selection.
- Develop fluency and stamina when reading.
- Construct meaning from texts.
- Answer questions linked to challenging texts.