Learning to Read

Learning to read and reading for pleasure have a high priority at Park Primary School. We aim for all children to read fluently with the ability to decode words quickly and to understand what they are reading. Enjoyment of reading comes through the understanding of the text and the ability to become immersed in the story or the information. We believe that the success in reading has a direct influence on the child’s progress in all other areas in the curriculum. At Park Primary learning to read is closely linked to all other areas of the curriculum and specifically to writing and speaking and listening.

We have a wide range of books and a well- stocked library to tempt the children. Our librarian Mrs Hughes is also on hand to recommend books.

Starting to Read

The early reading skills need to be embedded to provide a firm foundation. In their first year of school, the reception year children are taught many reading skills including:

  • How to hold the book the correct way up and recognise the front cover
  • Understand that print carries meaning and, in English, is read from left to right and top to bottom.
  • Listen to stories and read along with the adult
  • Learn to point at words and say a repetitive phrase
  • Learn to look for clues in the picture and in the context to help read new words
  • Start to use their phonic knowledge and to recognise some high frequency words

Carefully collected reading books are used to support children learning the early reading skills. These are mainly from PM books, Oxford Reading Tree and Big Cats.

Children are taught through individual sessions with the teacher or learning support assistant and through group guided reading sessions where a big book is shared with a small group of up to 6 children.

Reading in Key Stage 1

Children usually progress rapidly through the reading scheme in Years 1 and 2 of school. Children learn to apply their phonic knowledge and to recognise an increasing number of high frequency words.

Reading comprehension is as important as deciphering the words. Children are taught to question and think about what they have read. Teachers and learning support assistants ask children questions about what they have read and encourage discussion about the text. Often teachers use guided reading, where they take a small group of children, read together and discuss what has been read to develop this skill. Teachers develop children’s ability to understand both literal and implied information.

Our reading scheme books are colour-banded which enables the teacher and the child to choose a book to suit their current reading ability. It is expected that the children will progress through the reading scheme until they are ready to become a free reader usually by the end of Year 3. Below is a guide to progress.

  • Year R: Ready to start Stage 4 (blue sticker books)
  • Year 1: Ready to start Stage 7 (turquoise sticker books)
  • Year 2: Ready to start Stage 10 (white sticker books)
  • Year 3: Off the scheme and ready for the library

Children who are not ready for free readers at the end of Year 3 are supported with additional reading scheme books.

Reading in Key Stage 2

Most children will be choosing books freely from the library. There is an art to choosing suitable books and we encourage children to ask for help if they are stuck and our librarian Mrs Hughes is often available. To begin with children may choose books from the “First Steps” section, and then progress to the “Moving On” section when their teacher thinks they are ready and finally choosing their reading books from the main body of the library. Children are encouraged to use the “Five Finger Rule” when they read the first page. If they get stuck on five words then the book is too difficult. Additionally if they are reading slowly and do not understand the text then the books are too difficult.

At this stage, children are able to decode nearly every word, and the teacher concentrates on developing reading comprehension. Reading is taught in guided reading groups at least once a week and through other areas of the curriculum particularly writing.

Support for Reading

Progress in reading is carefully monitored and children who are struggling are identified for additional help. At the end of the reception year all children are screened for dyslexia. At the beginning of Year 1 a child may be selected for the Reading Recovery Programme. This programme is run by a Reading Recovery Teacher and the child has a daily reading session of thirty minutes for a maximum of 20 weeks. Children who need reading support in subsequent years will be selected for the Better Reading Partnership programme. The children read with a qualified adult for 20 minutes three times a week.

Reading at Home

Parents are encouraged to hear their child read at home. All children are provided with a reading bag when they first start school to take home their books and to keep them clean. Children are expected to read three times a week at home and those who read four or more times are rewarded with a raffle ticket which goes into the end of term prize draw.