The Importance of Reading
Of all the academic skills that we develop, reading is arguably the most important as it supports almost every other area of knowledge that we cover. Perhaps more importantly, reading is the one area of the curriculum where parents play a crucial role within this development through supporting the school through home reading.
There is considerable evidence to suggest that between the age of 4 and 9, the frequent practice of this skill is critical in a child's brain development to ensure that they develop a lifelong reading fluency. It is for this reason that the school places so much emphasis upon this aspect of home/school learning with our aim of trying to ensure all of our pupils try to become 'free-readers' before they leave Year 3 and enter Year 4.
What does this journey look like?
Initial Reading: Reception into Year 1
The development of reading will be one of the first formal types of education that your child receives when they enter the school. Initially, the skills of word recognition will be firmly based in the teaching of Phonics wherein the weekly exposure to unit of sounds (phonemes) will be supported by short paper books that include these. Therefore, from the very first few weeks of school, your teacher will send short texts home so that the children can practise using this new knowledge to decode the words in front of them. This is when we first introduce a Home/School Reading record in order to track and reward our pupils for their efforts in reading.
However, beyond the text that we send home, the importance of reading to your child on a nightly basis and exposing them to texts cannot be stressed enough. For this reason, our young pupils also attend the school library on a weekly basis to ensure there is a constant source of new texts.
Early Reading: Year 1 - Year 2
Phonics continues to underpin much of the reading books that are sent home. However, rather than linked directly to the sounds taught each week, gradually the pupils begin to spread along the school book bands based upon individual ability. It is at this point where the pupil's exact reading level is more formally tracked as we try to ensure that we constantly send home texts at a level that is just challenging enough to develop their fluency further. The use of the Reading Record becomes even more essential as we rely heavily on parental support on ensuring the pupils complete daily reading and drive this development.
Developing Free-Readers: Year 3 - 6
The school aims to ensure as many pupils as possible are 'free-reading' once they reach Year 3. Rather than focusing solely on the levelling of a text, the teacher focuses more upon developing a width of reading. Therefore, instead of sending home texts at an individual level, the pupils are grouped and a shared text is sent home with a set number of pages to be completed each week. Again, the Reading Record is a key element of this but the responsibility begins to switch from the adult recording notes about the reading, to the child recording this themselves - hence the term 'free-reader'.