At Concord Junior School, reading and the teaching of reading is the cornerstone of our curriculum. Our intent is to ensure that all children become literate, develop a love of reading, make the progress they need to access our full curriculum offer and become successful lifelong learners.
National Curriculum Programme of Study
It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both word reading and comprehension.
Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. Therefore, phonics features heavily in the early teaching of reading especially for pupils at Concord who are new to English or those who need additional support.
Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems, and non-fiction texts.
All pupils are encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens a treasure chest of wonder and joy for curious young minds.
How We Teach Reading At Concord Junior School
Teaching children to read confidently, for information and for pleasure is the most important thing that we do. We have high aspirations for all our children, and it is essential that, by the end of their time at Concord, all pupils can read fluently and with confidence, in any subject. We have ensured that our inclusive curriculum meets the needs of all learners, including those with SEND, by offering additional support at all tiers.
Leaders prioritise reading and have utilised a range of experience and expertise to design an exciting, sequential, reading curriculum that is driven by high quality diverse texts and progressively builds knowledge, understanding and skills. Strong links are made across curriculum areas to ensure knowledge does not sit in isolation. Meaningful links with other subjects are made to strengthen connections, enable a deeper understanding of vocabulary, and allow opportunities for our pupils to transfer knowledge and language across curriculum areas, thus enhancing communication, language, and literacy across the curriculum.
Our reading curriculum consists of three main strands:
- word reading
- reading for pleasure
At Concord, we teach reading daily in two specific sessions:
We use daily class text sessions, which focus on the sharing of high-quality texts from a range of authors, where we model and develop fluent reading and comprehension skills. These sessions are used to develop children’s love for reading. Within these sessions, we use questioning to constantly expand and extend children’s vocabulary. Within each year, each text is carefully chosen using it's Lexile measure as well as links to the curriculum theme. These sessions allow children to access a range of increasingly complex texts.
Reading Skills -
5 Steps to Reading
We use daily reading skills sessions to teach children specific skills and strategies to become competent and confident readers. The individual skills are planned from the national curriculum, using the reading domains and cover the breadth of the reading curriculum for each relevant year group. We ensure that children access a range of fiction and non-fiction texts from within a range of genres. The texts are increasingly complex throughout the year, and, where possible, make cross curricular links.
Within our 5 Steps to Reading approach, we begin each sequence with a ‘First Read’, where we discuss the purpose of the text, the genre and target audience, ensuring the children ask questions to gain a deeper understanding of the text. Following this, we teach children individual skills and objectives that are applicable to the text. We ensure the children apply these skills in all reading across the curriculum. Within the Reading Skills sessions, teachers use formative assessment to assess progress against the individual objectives and at assessments points throughout the year, we assess children using the national curriculum.
At Concord Junior School, we use the Accelerated Reader Programme. Accelerated Reader puts our pupils in the driver’s seat when it comes to reading, enabling them to read a book of their choice, pitched at the right level for them to make progress. Reading quizzes monitor comprehension, while literacy skills and vocabulary quizzes extend student learning and build skills mastery.
Detailed reports provide insights into students’ performance and progress. We also use Star Reading tests to track pupils’ mastery of focus skills.
Pupils can access Accelerated Reader at home, giving parents access to real-time information on their child’s reading progress and promoting discussions about reading at home.
myON gives our pupils access to thousands of digital texts from a range of genres at a wide range of reading levels. Our teachers also use the platform to set home-learning projects for pupils to complete based around their curriculum themes.
Alongside this, our memorable experiences, including visitors to school, trips and residential visits are carefully planned across all curriculum subjects to support the background knowledge and vocabulary our children need to support their reading comprehension and vocabulary. Vocabulary and knowledge are both taught explicitly within our reading lessons.
At Concord Junior School, we use the Read Write Inc (RWI) phonics and comprehension programmes with children who are new to English or who need additional support with their phonics and early reading skills.
RWI is a method of learning centred around letter sounds and phonics. Children learn 44 sounds and their corresponding letters using visual prompts. They learn to combine these sounds to read words, which then feature in stories that they are able to read, discuss and understand. Children also learn how to use these sounds to write words and then combine them into simple sentences.
In addition to RWI phonics sessions, where children are ‘learning to read’, we use RWI Comprehension to develop our pupils’ ‘reading to learn’ comprehension skills.
The School Library
To promote reading, we have recently redeveloped our school library, to ensure it is at the heart of our school curriculum. Children are timetabled to regularly visit the school library and are encouraged to share and select books that they are interested in. Children can use the school library during social time and each teacher promotes their own book recommendation to read for pleasure.
At Concord Junior School, we encourage our pupils to read a range of books and talk about the books they read. Both our reading pathways and on-line resource libraries provide children with a wealth of texts in different forms. We encourage our children to read at home as often as possible.
Celebrating Reading Events
At Concord Junior School, we want our children to leave us with a thirst for knowledge and a love of reading. We place a large focus on reading for enjoyment, and children throughout the school have regular opportunities to participate in a variety of engaging reading activities, including author visits, theatre company performances, World poetry day and World book day whole school events.