Reading is a priority; we are keen to harness children's love of books as soon as they join Churchill School. The school has a well-stocked and beautiful library which all the children are able to visit twice a week and where suggestions for new books and authors are always available. A passion for reading is fostered with a range of stimulating texts and we take real pride in our classroom book corners and reading area.
Learning to Read
The first books brought home by the children will not have any text at all. This encourages children to "tell their own story", a vital step in the development of their oral skills. Children can sequence events, use traditional story language and describe characters in their own words, becoming articulate and confident in expressing their thoughts and feelings.
When children start to read, they learn to identify the sounds they have been taught in phonics lessons and blend these together to sound out words. To support this very early reading, children initially take home Pocket Rocket booklets from our chosen 'government approved' phonics programme, Smart Kids - The Code. These are carefully designed to practice the sounds they have been learning that day and children are able to keep these mini books, building up a mini-library of their own at home. Pocket rockets support our teaching throughout Phonics Phases 2-4. In addition, as soon as they have acquired knowledge of a sufficient range of different sounds, children will begin take home phonetically decodable reading books from the Smart Kids Scheme. This extends their practice and enables them to reinforce their newly acquired knowledge of the sounds they have learnt in school, right through until the end of Phase 5.
Developing as a Reader
From Year 2 onwards, we use the Destination Reader approach to teaching reading.
By careful organisation of our timetable, we have dedicated time each morning for the specific teaching of this subject. Our reading lessons give our pupils the best possible opportunities to foster a love of reading and engage with texts on a deeper level of understanding.
Destination Reader lessons are highly structured and we place discussion at the heart of children's learning. Each lesson begins with the direct teaching of reading skills, before pupils spend time reading independently with a partner. This session is crucial in building reading stamina, the ability to concentrate on a text for longer periods and the skills necessary to articulate and justify opinions. We focus closely on acquiring new vocabulary, so that all children are equipped with the strategies they need to unlock texts.
When children feel confident reading, they have the keys to achieving success throughout school and in the world beyond. We aim to foster in our pupils a love of reading that will last their whole lives.