We all know that there is nothing better than a great book and nothing worse than a bad one! As teachers of young children it is our job to instill both a love of literature in various forms as well as the skills with which to read. At Upton we are learning much from the children and have taken on several approaches to ensure that we continually provide high quality literature for every child, to help us to provide highly engaging, fun and challenging books. Our English curriculum is centred around core texts, from which we plan learning term by term. Coupled with a topic focus, we aim to immerse children in connected learning for several weeks before moving on, allowing them to deepen their understanding of the knowledge and skills involved.
For more information on the Power of Reading, click here.
Reading at school
At Upton we want our children to become enthusiastic, engaged readers and to develop a life-long love of literature. We introduce the children to a range of good quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry books through our whole-class, core-text approach to teaching reading, and during their weekly guided reading sessions.
In the early stages of reading, we teach children to decode words using phonic skills as their main approach, alongside which we teach sight vocabulary. Once grasped, the focus for developing reading is on understanding and comprehension. Your child will read with their class teacher at least once a week during their guided reading sessions, then independently supported by teacher set activities during the rest of the week.
Guided reading or the explicit daily teaching of reading follows a clear structure that immerses the children in a specifically chosen text, designed to teach challenging vocabulary. Our intent is always to broaden every child's vocabulary so that they both know, understand and can spell words that they can apply across different contexts (i.e. applying terms such as predictio and estimation in both maths and science).
Reading at home
Developing readers will bring home levelled books (according to their stage of development), and a picture book each week. Independent readers will bring home a self-selected book from their class reading library or Pods. Please encourage your child to change their book regularly so they can read each evening; speak to the class teacher if this is not happening.
Your child should be reading at home for 15 minutes or more each day. Your support is hugely important for developing their reading skills, confidence and understanding. Even if your child is an independent reader, it is still important for you to read with them, listen to them and discuss the books they are reading.
How to support developing readers at home:
- Try to listen to and read with your child regularly, 15 minutes a day is better than a longer session once a week. It can help if a regular time is set aside so that it becomes part of a routine.
- Find a quiet place to share books where you can feel comfortable and relaxed – learning to read needs to be a positive experience - build their confidence by praising their efforts.
- Encourage your child to have a go at reading words, by using phonic skills to read any unfamiliar words, and by working on building up their sight vocabulary.
- Talk about the meanings of words to help to develop your child’s understanding and use of language.
- Encourage your child to read a range of texts such as stories, newspapers, comics, labels, poetry, non-fiction, tickets, signs, leaflets etc.
- Read books to your child as well; if they see you enjoying a book it will encourage and motivate them to want to learn to read.
- Ask them questions about the text to develop their understanding.
Questions to Develop Understanding:
Where/when does the story take place?
Who are the characters in the story?
What happens in this part of the story?
Tell me one/two things that the main character does in this part of the story?
Can you retell the story using your own words?
Tell me what this character was like?
Tell me the most interesting/ exciting/ funniest/ your favourite part of the story? Why?
What do you think the character feels about...? How can you tell?
What do you think would have happened if…?
What do you think is going to happen next?
Which part of this book did you like best/least? Why?
How has the author used words/phrases to make this character funny/ sad/ clever/ frightening/ excited etc?
Why is … a good title for this story/book/chapter/play?
Do you know any more stories like this? Tell me how they are alike.
Do you know another story with similar characters in? Tell me how they are similar.
What do you think this story is trying to tell us?
Has anything like this ever happened to you?