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" To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.”
Our aim is to ensure not only that children can read but that they do read; teaching children to read and then developing a love for reading it is our highest academic priority.
Following this expectation, we carefully structure our curriculum and offer engaging and inspiring teaching in order to provide pupils with:
- The belief that it is every child’s right to learn to read and develop fluency
- The ability to develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and for information. We aim for our children develop a true love of literature.
- Access to a large variety of high quality texts.
- The expectation that they progress through the programmes of study through sequential steps, are given opportunities to embed and consolidate knowledge and understanding and that pupils make connections when reading in other subjects across the curriculum. We believe that reading itself should not only taught as a discrete subject, but also plays a central part in all other subjects of the curriculum.
- Strong knowledge and understanding of the skills in reading to allow pupils to fully comprehend what has been read.
- The belief that every child can be successful, and truly should be, successful in reading. We believe that every child has the capability of achieving well in reading.
- Acquire a wide vocabulary, greater general knowledge and a good understanding of the world and other cultures by reading in all subjects.
- The opportunity to use discussions frequently. Develop vital oracy skills in order to learn; children should be able to question, elaborate and explain ideas about their reading.
We consider our teaching of reading to have four distinct, but equally important, strands: Developing positive attitudes, early reading and phonics, Sugar Hill Reading Spine, Sugar Hill Reading that makes Sense – progression of knowledge and skills.
The reading curriculum at Sugar Hill will offer children the opportunities to draw upon skills, behaviours and knowledge. To be able to do this, all pupils are:
- Taught practical lessons that allow them to question, articulate and explore the work of a breadth of various authors, illustrators and publishers
- Given opportunities to perform and recite poetry and rhyme to parents / carers and the wider community
- Given opportunities to develop an understanding of the world through a range of high-quality non-fiction texts in all subjects
- Able to participate in reading competitions
- Through local visits and visitor experience, given opportunities to become increasingly aware of the opportunities available in the wider world through the study of reading. For example, children will have the opportunity to speak and work with local authors and illustrators, visit libraries and theatres (to watch live performances of classics)
At Sugar Hill, children complete reading as a discrete subject but it is also central to every subject across the curriculum. The four strands of reading in Sugar Hill have been carefully planned in order to fulfil our reading intention.
Implementation: Developing positive attitudes
As a school we are passionate about developing a love of reading. For this reason, we believe that ‘developing positive attitudes’ should be a separate strand in our reading curriculum, ensuring that we place great emphasis on its importance. However, it is an overarching strand and is central to all aspects of reading.
We believe that while it is vital that children read their school reading books frequently and consistently at home, it is important that they read widely and so they are also encouraged to read texts they have selected themselves.
Developing independent and enhusisatic readers is important for us but we also grately consider the diet of texts we use with children. We read regularly to our classes, whatever their age. We use whole books alongside extracts, so readers experience the pleasures of a beginning, middle and end of a text, of seeing how exciting situations are resolved and how books can open us up to new worlds and strange possibilities. We aim to enthuse children about books so we need to be committed readers ourselves, knowledgeable about children’s books and adept at exploiting opportunities created by film dramatisations of children’s books, by World Book day and other celebrations, and by creating exciting, engaging opportunities for reading through our classroom work.
The sequential skills assosiated with ‘positive attitudes’ can be found in our ‘Reading for Understanding’ document.
Implementation: Early Reading and Phonics
All of our teaching and support staff have been trained in the phonics programme ‘Sounds-Write’. Our teaching of reading and writing within the school is, therefore, based on the Sounds-Write programme. This begins when children join in Nursery and Reception and continues until a child is a confident and competent reader and speller. We believe that a strong and consistent approach to the teaching of phonics is vital for our children to begin to access the rest of the curriculum.
Children complete daily discrete phonic sessions together as a class to ensure that all children are challenged appropriately each session. In addition, phonics skills also taught in non-discrete sessions, and teachers take opportunities to incorporate phonics teaching into all areas of the curriculum and incidental moments of the school day. Teachers regularly assess children and ensure that children take part in pre, and or, post teaching when required. Spellings in Key Stage 1 directly follow the sounds that have been taught each week in discrete phonics sessions and follow a progressive sequence. This then leads to the reading and spellings of polysyllabic words as specified in the programme in Key Stage 2.
Implementation: Early Reading and Phonics - Reading scheme
At the beginning of a child’s reading journey, children are provided with reading books which are closely matched to their phonic ability so that they are able to blend all of the words in the book. The basis of our reading scheme is phonetically matched texts from Dandelion books.
These books are intended to be read independently by the child and should be fully decodable based on their previous phonics learning.
We are very clear that, although absolutely vital in teaching children to read, phonics is simply a means to an end and the end is, of course, fluent readers who have a love of reading and secure comprehension. Therefore, we also still give children the opportunity to choose books from a range of fiction and non-fiction books from our library, which captures their interest. This book is for the parent and child to share together; the child may read it to the adult or, if some of the words are beyond their stage of development in phonics, then we ask parents to read those words or the book to their child, using their own judgement on this on a book by book basis.
We also encourage children to read widely at home and children are rewarded not just for reading books issued at school, but also texts that have been chosen and selected by the child. We encourage children to read at least 4 times in a week at home.
Implementation: Sugar Hill Reading Spine
Across each year group a number of high quality core, and additional, texts are used. Each class has at least four books specifically chosen, which they will have the opportunity to read and respond to as a class. All of the English work is then planned and delivered through the context of this core text.
These books bring the seven global themes (following the Oxfam Education for Global Citizenship approach) that underpin our curriculum to life and to also ensure that pupils build up sustained relationships with texts over time. Reading across the currciulum is planned for and texts are carefully selected to deepen understanding around key concepts and knowledge. Alongside this, texts are also selected based on their literary theme. This has been maticulously planned across the school to ensure that children have ample opportunities to compare and contrast books with various literary themes throughout their time at Sugar Hill.
Texts are always selected for their quality and significance. There is a wide variety including classics, award wining texts (Carnegie, Kate Greenaway, Guardian, Newberry and Caldecott) and celebated and significant authors such as children’s laureates and poet laureates. Our range includes a variety of fiction and non-fiction genres, such as historical narrative, mystery fantasy and adventure.
Alongside this, a wide variety of texts are used such as novels, novellas, picture books, wordless texts, narrative poems, playscripts and narrative non-fiction.
Implementation: Reading that makes sense
As children become fluent readers, they complete comprehension sessions twice a week focusing on a specific reading skills as set out in out ‘Reading that Makes sense’ progression document.
We explicitly teach reading skills through well planned comprehension lessons. We have devised eight strands which we believe are important when teaching the skills of reading:
Our Long Term Plan
We know that readers who are good at understanding the texts they read take an active approach to reading. They expect texts to make sense to them and when they do not, they take steps to sort out the difficulties. Good readers think about what they know about a topic before they read, frequently check their own understanding, for example by making predictions and brief summaries, and ask questions to clarify things which are not obvious to them. They do not read on when they do not understand, unless they are confident that an explanation will soon become clear.
The 2014 Programme of Study identifies and highlights some of these important skills although we have also added other fundamental skills that we believe make children better readers.
Progression involves children using these skills and strategies with greater independence and confidence, without explicit reminders about what to do. Our ‘Reading that Makes Sense’ document breaks down the eight strands further. It identifies the progress within the different strands, pulling together the year by year objectives, to help make the next step more obvious.
Children will develop the skills required to decode successfully and become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. As confident readers, children will develop their own love of literature across a range of genres, cultures and styles. Through discussion and feedback, children will talk enthusiastically about reading and writing and understand the importance of this subject. They will also talk about books and authors that they have enjoyed and can make reading recommendations. Pupils can make links between texts and the different themes and genres within them; they can recognise similarities and differences.
Children will also be able to use their comprehensive reading skills gain a deep understanding of texts read and explored across school and be able to apply them to new texts read.