Children read in school independently, in guided groups, with reading buddies, and as a shared class session. They listen to adults and other children read, taking part in paired reading with their own and other age groups.
At Tebay Primary School, early reading is taught using synthetic phonics as the main approach to reading. Pupils are systematically taught the phonemes (sounds), how to blend the sounds all through the word for reading, and how to segment the sounds in order to write words. They are taught to use their phonic skills and knowledge as their first approach to reading, but also taught high-frequency words which do not completely follow phonic rules.
Children’s progress is continually reviewed to allow for movement between ability groups, and children move phonics group when it is felt necessary to meet their needs. Children are formally assessed at the end of each term.
The national Phonics screening check is performed in June of Year 1. Prior to this, the Year 1 phonics workshop gives parents information about how they can support their children at home with phonics. The purpose of the screening check is to confirm that all children have learned phonic decoding to an age-appropriate standard. The children who did not meet the required standard for the check in year 1 enter again in year 2 with additional support. As children enter KS2 provision is made for those children still requiring daily phonics.
At Tebay Primary School, all our early reading books are colour banded. Children will be given a colour band to choose their home reading book from, which will help ensure that the book selected is at the correct reading level. Every colour band offers a range of reading experiences, so they can explore a range of stories, text types and illustrations.
Once children have progressed through the reading scheme, pupils will be allocated a text using ‘Accelerated Reader’. As well as an ‘Accelerated Reader’ pupils will have an independent reading book of their own choice to read from the class or school library.
What is Accelerated Reader (AR)?
AR is a computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Children pick a book at his/her own level and reads it at his/her own pace. When finished, each child takes a short quiz on the computer – passing the quiz is an indication that they have understood what has been read.
Teachers may assist pupils by:
- Guiding them to books appropriate to their ability and interests
- Asking probing questions as your child reads and before quizzing
- Pairing your child with others, reading with or reading to your child.
Since they are reading books at their own reading and interest levels, most children are likely to be successful and enjoy the books and quizzes. Best of all they learn and grow at their own pace.
How can I help my child become a better reader?
As with anything, performance improves with practice. According to Renaissance Learning’s research, children who read at least 20 minutes a day with a 90% comprehension rate on AR quizzes see the greatest gains. Encourage your child to read at home, discuss books, ask questions about what they have read and visit your local library.
What is a STAR Reading test?
STAR Reading is used to determine your child’s reading level. It is a computer based reading assessment program. Questions continually adjust to your child’s responses. If the child’s response is correct, the difficulty level is increased. If the child cannot answer a question or answers incorrectly, the difficulty level is reduced. The test uses multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 10 minutes.
What is a Book Level?
Book Levels are reported using the ATOSTM readability formula and represent the difficulty of the text. The levels range from 0.5–13.5. Books are chosen based on the ZPD range recommended for each pupil by STAR Reading.
What is a Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)?
ZPD is the range of books that will challenge a child without causing frustration or loss of motivation. Your child will receive a ZPD, or reading range after taking a STAR Reading test. It is important for children to read with a high degree of comprehension and within his/her ZPD.
Developing Reading for Pleasure
We try to encourage a love of reading by holding book themed days e.g. Roald Dahl Day and events both as individual classes and across the whole school e.g. Reading Challenges such as World Book Day and Readathon. Throughout the year we invite storytellers, poets and authors into school, as well as trips out of school to promote reading for pleasure. Reading assemblies take place regularly, introducing children to a variety of literature. In our school library, we promote reading using story sacks, toys and props to bring the stories alive. Children’s suggestions for new books are encouraged and purchased.
Assessment of Reading
Reading is assessed regularly and monitored on the school tracking system. In addition, children are assessed using the Rising Stars and STAR reading test to check progress. Liaison with the school SENCO and external agencies is arranged for children who require additional support and reading intervention strategies.