Being able to read is an essential skill all children should have before they leave school but more importantly is fostering a love of books. Enjoyment while reading is one of the single greatest predictors of reading success in school-age children. For some children who find reading difficult, it can be easy to avoid any book but as teachers and parents we need to ensure this doesn’t happen.
As with any skill, practise makes perfect. Children need to be reading, appropriately challenging texts, regularly, to develop their range of vocabulary. See below some advice on how to support your child, links to recommended book lists for each year group as well as guidance on how to find the right level of book. We do have a number of volunteers who come in to listen to readers and any other volunteers, who are willing to commit some time, would be very much appreciated.
From Year 1 to 6 each class takes part in a daily guided reading session which lasts approximately 20-30 minutes. The aim of the guided reading session is to develop reading and comprehension skills through targeted questioning and activities. Each lesson has a clear objective to teach and teachers assess the children based on their responses.
In Key Stage 1, children are taught in a carousel of activities and are grouped by their reading ability. They will read at least once a week with the teacher in a group with a book at an appropriate level. Those children not working with the teacher will be completing activities linked to the text they have read or completing phonic work.
In Key Stage 2, children are taught using the whole class approach. Each lesson again has a clear objective to ensure the progress can be assessed. The whole class read the same text to ensure all children access challenging texts and a broad range of vocabulary. Teachers will then question children or ask them to complete specific tasks to provide opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of the text.
How to Support Your Child with Reading
The most important way to support your child with reading is to read daily with them. Just 5 to 10 minutes every day will make a real difference to your child’s confidence and enjoyment.
- Find a quiet, relaxing place away from distractions such as TV.
- Sit comfortably in good light and talk to your child about their book.
- Read for about 10 minutes; a regular short time of quality is better than a long session which happens only occasionally.
- Ask why they have chosen the book.
- Talk about the cover and title and what the story might be about.
- Ask them to tell you who wrote the book or point to the author.
- Look at the pictures and ask them to tell you where the story takes place.
- Ask who they can see in the pictures (especially in simple caption books).
- Try to be supportive and positive during the reading time.
- Encourage your children to look closely at the print.
- Read the first page or two together until your child is ready to continue alone.
- Encourage your child to point to each word as they read aloud.
- Where possible wait for your child to decode words.
- Encourage the use of clues such as the look/sound of the letters, what would make sense and the illustrations.
If they get stuck on a word, you could:
- let them read on so they can work out the word themselves from the context
- point to a picture if it will help them guess the meaning
- give them the first or last sounds to help them
- read along with them then pause, prompt, praise if they get it right
- read the word for them (especially if it is a Proper Name)
- when they are confident with sounds, let them sound out unknown words – break longer words down in to syllables, do not sound out words which are not phonetic e.g “because”
- When a mistake is self-corrected or a previously unknown word is recognised, praise highly
- Encourage expressive reading by drawing attention to punctuation
- Help understanding by talking about the story or text – the setting, the plot, the characters
- Discuss the kind of people the characters are and the way they behave
- Talk about the kind of story it is (adventure, fantasy, science fiction, myth…)
- Encourage your child to refer to words and passages in the text to justify opinions
- If your child is finding a book difficult, help out by reading it together
On the Oxford Owl website below are a range of topics to support parents reading at home with their child, including supporting struggling or reluctant readers as well as helpful advice for different age groups.
There are many websites which have lists of recommended books for different age groups and reading abilities. See the Useful Websites page for more information.
How to Find the Right Level of Book
There is an easy way to help you and your child select an appropriate book either in a shop or at the library. Simply open a book on to a random page, read the page and for every word you cannot read, put one finger up. If you can’t read 0-1 words it’s too easy, 1-2 words is just right, 3-4 words will be challenging but worth a try and any more than 5 words will be too difficult.
Reading Spine Books
At DBCPS we follow the principals of Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing approach to teaching Literacy and as part of this Pie Corbett has selected key texts that build up each year to create a spine of books that all children should know really well by the time they leave Primary School. Each year group has a complete set of the books which they share throughout the year. This is of course enriched with fiction, poems and non-fiction texts linked to the topics they are studying. All of these books are recommended reads at home as well and a full list with suggested activities can be found HERE.
As part of our commitment to ensuring all children leave our school being able to read and enjoy books, we are pleased to be working with volunteers from the Beanstalk program.
“Beanstalk’s service is simple yet highly effective. We recruit, train and support volunteers to provide consistent, one-to-one literacy support to primary school children who need our help. Our trained reading helpers give them the support they need to improve their reading ability and confidence. The children we help may have fallen behind with their reading, lack confidence, or struggle with their fluency, comprehension or vocabulary.
Each Beanstalk trained reading helper works with on average three children and provides consistent support on a weekly basis, for a whole school year. Together, they read, play and talk.”
You can click on the link below to find out more about the program: https://www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk/
We work hard to encourage children to read through many different ways including:
- 100 Read Certificates and book prizes
- Participation in World Book Day as part of our Literacy Week
- Hosting book fairs throughout the year
- Offering Storytime clubs for KS1 and 2 at lunchtimes
- Weekly library slots
- Weekly literacy assembly where children learn about national and international events such as Non-Fiction November, National Poetry Day and Oral Storytelling Week.
Class libraries and the school library are regularly replenished with a mix of bought and donated books to ensure there is a constantly updated selection of quality texts for children to access. Staff regularly review the books in the school library to help children to select books they may not be familiar with. Children also review books and make recommendations in their class.