EPA Reading Statement
“Our aim is to provide children with plentiful opportunities to become fluent, confident pupils that enjoy opening a book, ensuring that children read widely and often across the whole curriculum which in turn helps them to acquire new knowledge and gain the necessary skills to read and understand texts for the rest of their education and beyond.”
Reading and reading for pleasure underpins our curriculum:
At the heart of our curriculum is the teaching, promotion and encouragement of regular reading. Reading is key to accessing the whole curriculum, and through a variety of teaching strategies and techniques, children are given plentiful opportunities to become fluent, confident pupils that choose to pick up a book to both learn new things and read for pleasure.
Reading for pleasure is promoted and encouraged in many ways:
During the English session where a range of genres, different texts and authors are explored
Book talk within English sequence of sessions
Regular one to one reading with the class teacher or TA in FS and in KS1/KS2 where appropriate
Daily story time – class novel
Use of library – school library/reading buddies and links with local libraries
Recommendation boards in each classroom/displays outside of the library
Celebrations of World Book Day
Mystery readers in FS/KS1
Each classroom has a reading area
Access to reading for pleasure books at playtimes
Reading across the curriculum
Whole class guided reading – in isolation and also as part of the English session.
Focus on understanding of language
Use of word banks
Early reading and phonics:
The Early Years Foundation Stage provides a language rich and stimulating environment that promotes our love of language and literacy. From the start of Nursery, we develop the children’s attention and listening skills through shared group time and activities such as listening to stories or listening for sounds in the environment. Opportunities for speaking and the development of the children’s vocabulary is also at the heart of our curriculum. Bright and vibrant role play areas, which the children enjoy accessing, are in all the Early Years classrooms. Initiatives such as ‘Winston Wizard’ develop our children’s vocabulary. Twice a week, Winston Wizard will deliver a new word in the class register for the children to discuss and define and then use both in their speech and eventually writing.
Quality stories and nursery rhymes are celebrated in school, and the children quickly develop a love of reading and books. The children enjoy spending time in their own class reading areas, and also visiting to the school library. Shared story time is an important part of each day and we also provide opportunities for the parents to join their children for story time sessions. All children will start their reading journey in the Nursery, taking home books to share and eventually read with their families. Children in the Early Years also have access to the Bug Club online reading resource. Letter sounds and common exception words are provided so that parents can support their child at home.
Early reading is explicitly taught in both English and Phonics sessions in Reception class. The school follows a systematic synthetic phonics program, underpinned by Read Write Inc and Letters and Sounds, that enables and supports the children to begin to blend sounds to read. Our reading sessions are taught through quality texts that motivate, inspire and challenge the children.
Demonstrating that reading is a priority across the academy, high quality texts have been carefully selected to ensure engagement of all pupils. Where applicable, these texts are linked directly to the foundation subjects. Using texts which link to our topics ensures our children are fully immersed in their topic and this in turn moves children towards a deep level of understanding where they use and apply skills and knowledge in different areas. We carefully choose texts throughout the course of the year which cover a range of genres: our long term and medium term planning and guided reading journeys ensure that every genre is covered, covering classic fiction, historical fiction and science fiction to name a few, poetry and many non-fiction text types. As an academy, we also place high value on picture books and the opportunities they bring right through to Year 6.
As an academy, we follow a whole school reading programme called Bug Club which is a powerful guided and independent scheme that supports reading. It combines a library of stunning books with an incredible online reading world that help to develop confident young readers. Every child has their own log in details to access Bug Club at any time. This programme is used throughout the academy, from Foundation Stage through to Year 6 and forms part of the delivery of reading across the academy and guided reading sessions, as well as supporting home reading – teachers allocate books for children to read into virtual reading bags.
Reading across the curriculum:
Reading is central to every subject taught across the academy. Reading is prioritised again throughout the teaching of foundation subjects – for example, when teaching history, we provide the children with opportunities to use essential reading skills alongside encouraging the learning of new knowledge such as ‘life as an evacuee in WWII.’ These opportunities are consistently provided across all of the foundation subjects. As part of the children’s reading journey, children are provided with knowledge organisers to begin each new topic – here, children use many reading skills to acquire new knowledge in all subjects. We also have our ‘weekly news’ sessions which provide the children with opportunities to read about what is happening currently all around the world. In addition, we have book lists for each topic to promote reading across the curriculum and rotate these books within reading areas in the classroom.
English and Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development
Our children thoroughly enjoy their reading experiences in school and show a real fascination when learning about characters and the different settings the stories take them to. Children display extremely positive attitudes towards reading and are motivated to use stories and texts to help them when writing for a range of purposes and audiences. Within reading sessions, children are exposed to many moral questions which arise in the stories and texts we provide them with. Children explore moral questions through discussion, role play and debate activities which lead to children being able to empathise with characters and also make decisions themselves. Furthermore, our children lead their own learning within the classroom and consistently take part in self and peer assessment activities which give them the opportunity to reflect upon their own progress and achievements. Relationships are strong across the academy, demonstrating that we value the relationships that we have with the children and also the importance of the positive relationships which children have with each other – collaborative work within English provides the children with excellent learning experiences which teach them the importance of listening, sharing, appreciating other viewpoints and being respectful towards others. During guided reading, children’s understanding and appreciation of a range of texts brings them into contact with their own literary heritage and also texts from other cultures.
Home reading and the Bookworm:
It is the belief of every member of staff at the academy that reading progress and attainment is supported heavily by reading at home. Because of this belief, we set ambitious reading expectations at home as well as in school. High on our agenda is also developing readers that read for pleasure and possess a passion for reading. It is the expectation, as part of our homework policy, that the children read at least three times per week (this includes the use of Bug Club online). Reading diaries are in important part of the school day – teaching staff regularly check consistency of reading at home and liaise with parents/carers as necessary through these.
Home reading books in Reception are phonic based and the books are closely matched to the children’s ongoing phonics ability. The children will practice and apply at home the sounds that are taught in school.
Book worm is an aspirational challenge that we set the children involving home reading. To promote consistent, positive attitudes towards reading for pleasure and to help children develop the habit of reading widely and often, we encourage our children to read 5 times per week (3 is set as the minimum). The children who read 5 times per week consistently over a half term all receive a prize and a congratulatory letter sent home. All children are then entered into a prize draw which is drawn in a celebration assembly at the end of each half term. We have a winner from EYFS/KS1 and a winner from KS2 – a prize that children vote for themselves.
Children have opportunities to visit the school Library on a weekly basis. Children are encouraged to read for pleasure at home and at school. We have reading ambassadors in school who are Year 6 librarians who open the library up to children every lunchtime. Furthermore, Eaton Park collaborates with the local library and invites them in to speak to both children and parents. The sessions begin as early as Nursery where reading for enjoyment is promoted through the use of the library and the many events that it runs. An initiative that is welcomed by children from the EYFS is the ‘Little Library Van’ that pays the children an annual visit to encourage positive reading habits; and again parents are invited to share this experience also. As an academy, we are always involved in the ‘Summer Reading Challenge’ – library staff come into school to encourage children to read over the summer, and we celebrate this at the start of the new academic year. At different points throughout the year, we are invited to attend a variety of workshops which are both reading and writing based; an example being a fantasy writing workshop led by an author.
As well as our library links, the children have many other things on offer to them at our academy. After school, we have our Bug Club and Storytelling clubs which provide our children with further stimulating and purposeful experiences across the reading curriculum. Over the course of the academic year, we invite parents/carers into school for workshops based on phonics, Bug Club and how to help your child with reading at home. These are always well received by our families at home. Moreover, family learning workshops often have a reading focus which enables our children to embed their skills at in the home environment. Every year, each year band visits the theatre, and we also plan for companies to come into school and perform particular productions which link to the children’s learning in foundation subjects. Reading is celebrated at every opportunity: our World Book Day celebrations are enjoyed by children and staff, we hold readathons to raise money for children in hospital and invite authors in throughout the year to provide inspiration to our children and share a love of reading.
Whole class guided reading:
As reading is a priority, we deliver further reading sessions outside of the English lesson. Whole class guided reading takes place three times per week. Our guided reading sessions are designed and taught so that pupils read at an age-related expectation; the majority of children read a story, text or poem at the standard appropriate for their year band. A range of genres are covered throughout the year – our guided reading journeys showcase the texts we use each term. Questions are differentiated to challenge our more able children. Regarding our children with SEND, we provide reading material which is suitable to meeting their immediate needs. During guided reading, the following sequence is adhered to in each year band:
- Becoming familiar with the text – reading together with teacher modelling first, then children reading aloud, paired reading and individual reading.
- The teaching of new vocabulary – children working out in context and also using dictionaries to support.
- Questions – guided/independent (based on a range of reading skills from across the reading curriculum).