The teaching of reading is a responsibility we take very seriously, and it is a privilege to be able to support children in their formative years as a reader. We are very committed to ensuring all our pupils leave us as competent, fluent and efficient readers, able to read with accuracy and enjoyment. We have a phonics first approach to the teaching of reading and maintain our focus on the teaching of phonics from Early Years (Nursery and Reception pupils) through to Y6. Children who can decode (sound out the words on the page) quickly and efficiently are able to read with expression and fluency. Alongside a curriculum which is rich in vocabulary development and a reading diet which requires them to study a diverse range of texts, they also understand what they read and are able to find and retrieve information, express their opinions with reference to the text and – crucially – enjoy the reading experience.
Early Years and Key Stage One
We use a phonetically decodable reading scheme which allows pupils to apply their blending skills in the books which they are reading. Our reading scheme includes a mixture of Oxford Reading Tree books, Bug Club and Rising Stars Reading Rockets.
As children become more proficient in their reading, we incorporate a range of ‘real’ reading books alongside these reading scheme materials, so that even our youngest pupils enjoy a rich diet of great books and great authors, inspiring a love of reading which we hope will last them a lifetime.
Children in EYFS and KS1 are predominantly taught to read through daily, adult-led phonics lessons followed by guided reading lessons, both lasting 30 minutes. This intensive model of the teaching of reading ensures that our KS1 children are very competent readers as they begin their KS2 reading journey. We operate a reading scheme which progresses children through reading bands, and we are very quick to identify children who are not progressing as expected through the reading bands. We remain faithful to our phonics-first approach in any catch-up reading which your child may be involved in, and we always welcome your support in reading to and with your child and ask you to find the time to do this every day.
Key Stage Two
Throughout Key Stage Two, we continue to teach phonics daily with an enhanced focus on the development of a wider vocabulary and the ability to decode longer and more complex words. These lessons continue to be 30 minutes in length.
Throughout Key Stage Two (years 3, 4, 5 and 6), we follow the whole class reading model, choosing novels which introduce pupils to a wide range of authors and different genres and reading at length. There is an increasing focus on the young readers ability to interpret what is happening in the text through high-quality follow-on tasks and discussion with their peers, with pupils developing the ability to express their opinions and find evidence for their viewpoint in the text. Both fiction and non-fiction texts are a focus for study.
In addition, pupils who still require additional support in their reading will benefit from an additional small group guided reading lesson, led by an adult, each day. The focus of these sessions will be to continue to rehearse reading out loud with increasing pace and fluency.
The reading scheme throughout Key Stage 2 continues to be organised in coloured book bands, with pupils encouraged to keep reading regularly at home to ensure they progress through book bands with their peers. The KS2 Reading Scheme offers texts of increasing length and complexity, and also serves to continue to introduce children to a wide range of authors throughout their time with us.
Throughout Key Stage 2, we also encourage pupils to complete reading homework which may include reading ahead a chapter of the whole class novel or completing an independent reading comprehension task.
We truly believe that reading is the greatest gift we can give our pupils – so please help us to make sure every one of our pupils leaves Forest with the reading skills they need to ensure their future success. Reading to your child or with your child, even for ten minutes a day, is 3,640 minutes (over 60 hours!) of reading a year, and 29,120 minutes in their primary career (over 485 hours).
Some shocking national statistics about reading in the UK may help you to understand how vital your role in getting your child reading is…
16% of adults (around 5.8 million people) in England and Northern Ireland score at the lowest level of proficiency in literacy (at or below Level 1).
43% of children read daily outside of the classroom.
One child in seven does not have a book of their own at home.
Surveys of literacy attainment have been going on in the UK since 1948. The main finding is that literacy standards have changed very little in that time.
Pupils who enjoy reading very much are 3 times more likely to read above the expected level for their age as those who don’t enjoy reading at all.
Those who struggle to read are more likely to be unemployed or on a low wage.
Only 6 in 10 children and young people have a favourite story.
Most children in England do not read on a daily basis: in 2011 just over a third (37%) of 10-year olds surveyed reported reading for pleasure every day.
National Literacy Trust research shows that 43% of boys say they enjoy reading compared with 58% of girls.
By the final year of schooling, the reading skills of English children from disadvantaged backgrounds are on average two and a half years behind those from the most affluent homes.
England is the only country where 16-24 year olds have lower literacy and numeracy skills than 55-65 year-olds, out of 24 OECD countries.
Studies show a positive correlation between functional illiteracy and crime, with over half of all prisoners with literacy levels below that of an 11 year old.
Together, we can give our children the gift of reading and unlock choices about their future.
Read with your child (each of them!) for just 10 minutes a day.
Ask them questions about what they have read and are reading. Ask them about the meaning of particular words – and if neither of you know, Google it!
Bring that book bag every day!
Write in their reading record – just a simple well done or smiley face makes all the difference.
Buy them books, from time to time. The Book Bus is in school termly – make it your mission to buy a book each time the book shop comes to school!
Encourage, encourage, encourage; praise, praise, praise.