Reading is at the heart of the curriculum at Parklands. Our aspiration is for every child to be able to read fluently and enjoy reading.
From the very outset, we place huge emphasis on ensuring every child masters the early reading skills and are able to decode fluently through the systematic teaching of synthetic phonics. By providing an exceptional breadth of Reading experiences and opportunities we enable our children to explore a wealth of different books and develop a love for Reading.
Getting our children reading as quickly as possible is our priority. At Parklands, we use the Letters & Sounds programme to ensure the progressive development of skills, so that pupils can decode effectively. Phonics teaching happens on a daily basis and is taught in small, fluid groups, so that it is reactive to the changing needs of learners. Our phonics sessions begin as soon as the children enter reception full time, and the sessions are highly interactive, engaging and pacy. However, phonics is not a stand alone subject – we immerse our children in phonics, from their reading scheme books that link to the phonics words that the children are working on, to their English sessions, where children are given the opportunity to develop and embed the sounds that they have been working on. This system continues into Year One, ensuring that our children are highly prepared for their phonics screening check.
Reception and Year One provision is well resourced with phonics mats, phonics phase words and, like all our classrooms, have a language rich environment, with pupils able to select from a range of exciting texts and engage in learning opportunities to further deepen their understanding.
Engaging our families in early reading is important, and to celebrate reading with our KS1 families, we open our doors for ‘Friday Readers’ every Friday for families of children in Reception, Year 1 & Year 2, so that they can join their child in sharing a book at the end of the day!
Reading across the School
The foundations established in the Early Years are built on as the children move into Key Stage One. In these year groups, teachers deepen pupils’ learning and enjoyment of texts by using a variety of questions to focus their understanding of the themes and characters presented. A range of rich texts are used, so that pupils use of vocabulary and enjoyment of reading is heightened. The breadth of our curriculum ensures that pupils have access to a wide range of poetry, fiction and non-fiction.
Independent Reading books support children at an individual level and are carefully chosen by teachers to aid and challenge our pupils. We use a variety of different materials and stimulus to enable our children to develop a love of reading. Our independent reading stage books are from the Oxford Tree Reading Scheme, and provide pupils with opportunities to engage with both fiction, poetry and non-fiction materials. We use a variety of strategies to support the teaching of reading, as all learners are individual and therefore can require different approaches to secure their skills. In recognition of this, teachers use a variety of decoding skills such as phonics and picture cues to ensure all pupils become competent and confident readers who enjoy the written word.
In addition to independent reading, and from the end of the Early Years, all pupils in KS1 have the opportunity to work in small groups with a member of staff to participate in Guided Reading. This provides pupils with further opportunities to explore challenging texts, discussing their themes to deepen their understanding. Years 1 & 2 spend one afternoon a week undertaking guided reading rotating between learning with the teacher, teaching assistant and independent learning. In Year 2, we also build group comprehension sessions to start developing children’s ability to predict, analyse and form opinions about a text.
Classic Texts are studied by our children In Years 2-6. As a class, our children study a classic text and then complete a related homework task in their Reading journals. These classic novels provide an opportunity to read enriching text choices, engage with novels from different periods, allowing them to develop a deeper understanding of the language used, characterisation and dense sentence structures.
Comprehension sessions occur weekly in Years 3-6 on a two week cycle. In week 1 children work with their teacher and peers to study a short text and to answer related questions. Week 2 enables the children to undertake a small, independent twenty minute comprehension, before working through and editing their responses with their teachers.
Throughout Years 1-6, we follow the English sequence of Reading into Writing. As a school we recognise that reading is fundamental to the writing process, as children can only write successfully if they have a full understanding of the features of specific genres and therefore explore texts from a variety of genres.
Reading Experiences at Parklands
We recognise the importance of promoting reading for pleasure, alongside reading for learning purposes – we see both as equally important for our children. Every Friday from 2.45pm it is time for our children across the school to enjoy reading for pleasure, and the whole school looks forward to this time. From January 2020, alongside our open door for KS1 parents, we plan to open Friday readers to our KS2 to parents every final Friday in the month, so that they can also take part in reading with their child.
We are very fortunate at the school to have a fabulous library, and our children change their book fortnightly and enjoy listening to our fantastic librarian read to them!
In our first year as an academy, we raised phonics attainment by 19%!!! 93% of our Year One children successfully passed the 2019 phonics screening check – 11% above national figures!
“We are committed to providing the very best teaching and learning experiences, which inspire and challenge pupils to demonstrate exceptional outcomes…”