Teaching ‘Reading Skills’ at Nova Primary School

What does this look like across the school?

Reading is at the heart of the curriculum.  In EYFS and Year 1, considerable time is given over to the teaching of systematic phonics through whole-class direct teaching; small group guided sessions and a wide variety of spoken language and play activities.  We are well resourced with a wide range of engaging, fully decodable phonics sets and greater depth/enrichment books to add further interest and variety or the child’s reading experience.

As children progress through the school, teacher assessment informs a carefully planned program of whole-class direct teaching, guided group sessions and intensive 1:1 interventions such as Reading Recovery and BRP.

In Key Stage 2 (KS2), teachers assess the specific reading needs of their class when planning lessons and their professional judgement and assessment data to make decisions as to whether whole-class, or smaller guided group reading sessions are most appropriate.  All children have a Guided Reading book in which to record activities.  Teachers prepare questions from the five NC reading domains using the mnemonic ‘VIPERS’ to ensure we are targeting all key comprehension reading skills.   ‘VIPERS’ booklets, bookmarks and posters are used to prompt question from teachers, parents and other adults who read with our children. In upper KS2, children working at greater depth become skilled in devising their own set of VIPERS questions for a given text.

Reading Through the ‘Book Bands’

Enjoy Reading with your child and help them become lifelong readers.

There are general guidelines about which book bands should be covered in each year group. Children working at the average level for their age should be reading books of those colour book bands. However, please remember that children learn in different ways and make progress at different times. It is possible that there may be seven year olds on book band red and five year olds on book band turquoise.

As a rough guide, children are expected to reach the highest level (black) by the time they leave Year 6. The books will vary in a number of ways, including layout, size, vocabulary and length, to give the children a rich diet of literature.

The difference between each colour band is very small, so that children do not experience great difficulty moving up through the bands. Progress through the bands is not automatic and it is important to ensure that children working in the early bands have secure understanding so that they keep motivated as they move on to more challenging texts. (This is particularly important for children at the early stages of learning English as an additional language).

This guidance can only give a rough idea of the right reading level for your child. There will be a wide range of reading abilities in any year group or class. As a rough guide, children should be able to read at least 90% of the words on the page without any problem. If the book is too easy, they can become bored. If it’s too difficult, they can become frustrated, and may have to concentrate so hard on reading the words that they lose the enjoyment of understanding the story.

A Word of Caution!

You will be doing your child no favours if you rush them through books. It is not a race, it is a journey! Children learn at different rates just as they learn to walk, dress themselves etc. at different rates. Reading must not be treated as a competition. If children are rushed through the books they will not achieve the enjoyment and understanding necessary. Books that they find too difficult will put them off reading!

Things to Remember

• Do read with your child every day – little and often is more beneficial than a long session once a week.
• Think about how long you are reading for – the amount of reading time shouldn’t exceed your child’s span of attention.
• Pick your timing carefully – it’s best not to embark on a reading session when your child is tired.
• Every child is an individual – try not to compare your child’s progress with other children or with brothers and sisters.

Book Bands and Reading Recovery Levels

Take 10 Reading Challenge

Staff at Nova Primary are always looking for ways in which we can engage families with their child’s education. This year, we have launched our Nova Primary ‘Take 10 Reading Challenge’ in a bid to support our young readers across the school. Each child was issued with a ‘Family Reading Record’ in September. If you look inside the front cover, you will find a box for you and your child to sign up and pledge to read for at least ten minutes every day. Try to find a quiet spot where you can share the reading. At times, you may feel your child reads fluently and doesn’t need support, so ask some questions to check their understanding (use the VIPERS reading question stems in your record and ask your child to ask you some too!)

Every week, teachers check reading records and nominate children who are engaging with our ‘Take 10 Challenge’ for inclusion in a termly raffle. Two children receive a National Book Token for £10.

Follow this link to view the slides from the  Foundation Stage Reading Meeting 18-19

Follow this link to view the Phonics Booklet

Follow this link to view the KS1 My Reading Record

Follow this link to view KS2 My Reading Record

Children at Nova Primary School love English lessons! Reading and writing are taught from the moment children enter our Foundation Stage classes; (Wallace and Gromit) where they enjoy listening to and looking at books, talking to each other and begin to recognise and write letters and sounds.

We follow The National Curriculum 2014. The statutory requirements for English are listed here, year by year.

English from the National Curriculum

Although our English curriculum for writing follows the National Curriculum for English 2014, it is a ‘flexible’ document giving teachers the freedom to adapt content according to the interests and needs of the cohort. All teachers use a rich mixture of stimuli, such as quality texts (‘The Power of Reading Project’), trips, visitors, project links, hands-on experiences, making books and animations eg. Literacy Shed andLend Me Your Literacy to ensure that all lessons:

D: Deepen thinking
R: Role model the learning processes
I: Impact on learning
C: Challenge expectations
E: Engage all children in learning

We always teach useful, lifelong writing skills. Skills that will enable them to write for specific audiences and purposes, and give them the confidence to take the next step in their learning journey.

Assessment & Marking of Writing
Daily English lessons are planned with a clear learning objective and success criteria, against which the piece of writing is assessed by the teacher. Throughout the lesson, children assess (and edit in green pen) their own writing by regular use of ‘3 Finger Checker’ stops to focus on accuracy in punctuation, spelling and grammar. We are developing our use peer assessment and children are encouraged to read each other’s work and comment on positives and areas for improvement.

Children are set individual targets in writing based on identified gaps in learning. These targets are taught as part of the phased planning cycle and progress towards the target is monitored in the back of the English book. Targets are discussed with our children updated regularly. Staff currently moderate writing at weekly cross-phase meetings. A body of work is formally assessed in Term 2, 4 and 6 each year.

These documents outline how we teach the National Curriculum for English and integrate writing into the wider curriculum. All teachers use a rich mixture of stimuli, such as quality texts (The Power of Reading Project), trips, visitors, hands-on experiences, making books and animations to inspire written work.

Our Term 1 document reflects recent changes in the curriculum. It will be updated each term and become a working document giving teachers the freedom to adapt content according to the interests and needs of the cohort, or current events, whilst following the objectives set out in the National Curriculum 2014.