At Hillbrook, we aim to inspire our pupils to become confident, enthusiastic and reflective readers, who appreciate the importance of reading as a life-long skill in the wider world, but also value books as a source of pleasure and enjoyment. We strive to develop a love of reading through our curriculum and environment by choosing high quality, engaging texts and creating welcoming book areas.
Special events such as ‘World Book Week’, Reading Breakfasts, Book Fairs, visiting authors and storytellers and competitions such as ‘Read-a-thon’ and ‘Extreme Reading’, nurture children’s reading habits and keep the profile and enjoyment of reading high. Our school librarians are responsible for ‘spreading a love of reading’ and work hard to ensure that learning environments and libraries are well-stocked and inviting. We have a close link with our local library which classes visit on rotation and all pupils in KS1 and KS2 hold membership for. ‘Reading buddies’ are in place across the school and each class benefits from the support of a trained parent volunteer.
How is reading taught?
Throughout the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One, our pupils follow a rigorous system of synthetic phonics which focuses on the technical aspects of using letter/sound knowledge to read and write words. We follow the guidance set out by Letters & Sounds and use this in conjunction with a range of resources and texts produced by Read Write Inc. and Oxford University Press. Bug Club online materials further support children and parents in reinforcing their phonics learning at home. Wider opportunities are given to apply this phonic knowledge throughout the day in speaking, reading and writing, in a language rich curriculum.
Across the school, we use a reciprocal teaching approach to promote pupil’s reading comprehension. ‘Reciprocal Reading’ is a group approach which focuses on pupil dialogue whereby the teacher acts as a ‘facilitator’, modelling language and supporting and encouraging the children to share and discuss their understanding and opinions of texts more independently. Four specific reading strategies are actively and consciously taught to support comprehension: Questioning, Clarifying, Summarising, and Predicting.
We believe that not only does the reciprocal teaching approach increase depth of understanding leading to improved comprehension and enjoyment of a text but it also develops key social skills, encourages children to respect differences of opinion and values collaboration as children work together to bring more meaning to a text.
In addition to ‘Reciprocal Reading’ sessions, children are given regular opportunities to read and enjoy texts across the curriculum and across all subjects. For example, picture books act as inspiration for Art projects and sensitive issues are introduced through stories in assemblies. We strongly support the philosophy: ‘Read as a Writer’ and ‘Write as a Reader’, and links between reading and writing are developed where ever possible. For example, model texts scaffold and enrich writing and new vocabulary is collected on working walls.
Reading At Home
We understand that parents play a key role in encouraging their child to develop a positive attitude to reading. Children love to listen to and tell their own stories and talking about books and sharing them together can be an enjoyable experience for all involved.
Home reading journals are used as a means of communication between parent and teacher and we ask parents for their support with this. These journals are also used to track and monitor the types of texts that are being read as well as the amount of time that children are reading at home.
Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1
We believe that children should be exposed to a range of high-quality texts. For this reason, we use a variety of banded reading schemes for home/school reading books for children who are at an early stage of reading. These are carefully chosen by the class teacher so that they are well-matched to each child’s decoding ability and interest.
In addition to phonetic reading books, children are welcome to borrow books of their choice from the class library. Whilst we do not expect pupils to necessarily be able to read these books on their own, we strongly believe that there are times when books are simply to be enjoyed by children. In this way, children are exposed to richer vocabulary and more complex events that such books offer and we encourage and support children in making independent choices of books that capture their interest.
Parents should read with and to their child for about 10 minutes each day; at this age, little and often is most effective.
Key Stage 2
Our belief in the importance of ‘reading for pleasure’ continues into Key Stage 2 where children are given time each day to read their own choice of book as well as enjoy the class novel which is read by the teacher at the end of the day. Children are encouraged to borrow books from our library as well as share recommendations with each other to inspire wider reading and exposure to new authors and genres.
Children in KS2 should be encouraged to read at home for 15-20 minutes every day. As with younger children, it is vital that children are given opportunities to read aloud at times. This is just as important for older children who are decoding texts fluently – they may be able to read the words, but they also need opportunities to share their understanding of what has been read as well as discuss, for example, opinions, the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary and underlying themes.
KS2: Children in KS2 should read for 15-20 minutes every day. Teachers and teaching assistants ensure that the level of the book the child takes home is appropriate and carefully monitor the amount children are reading at home. As with younger children, it is vital that children practise their reading at home by being heard by an adult or older sibling. This is just as important for older children who are decoding texts fluently – they may be able to read the words, but they also need opportunities to discuss the meaning of the texts they are reading as often as possible.
Home Reading Records
Every child from Nursery to Year 6 has their own home reading record. We ask for your support in filling out a home reading record that indicates you have listened to or read with your child.