Books are more than stories inside; they are the key to unlocking the potential in every child. At Exwick Heights we believe the ability to read is fundamental to pupils’ development as independent learners.
What are our aims for reading at Exwick Heights?
To encourage children to become enthusiastic and reflective readers through contact with challenging and enriching texts.
To read a wide variety of genres and text types.
To read with confidence, fluency and understanding, using a range of independent strategies to self-monitor and correct mistakes.
To develop confident and independent readers by inspiring a love of literature and an enjoyment of reading for pleasure.
Good reading skills allow children to access all areas of the curriculum. In order to read across the curriculum with fluency, accuracy, understanding and enjoyment pupils need to use a range of strategies: drawing on knowledge of context and grammatical knowledge; applying phonic knowledge and skills; applying alphabet knowledge and developing word recognition. These are skills which the children are taught through English and Guided Reading sessions.
Guided Reading is an opportunity to develop and practise reading skills whilst engaging with a variety of texts. Working with groups of children, teachers support individuals growing skills using a balance of questioning and guidance to encourage fluency and comprehension of texts.
To support reading in class, there is a dedicated book area in each classroom. KS2 children often pair up with KS1 children too.
We also have a well stocked library including a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, which children have the opportunity to use during lessons and independently.
The school library is a vibrant learning space where the children are encouraged to choose a book that they would like to read and or share at home with their family. Each child in school has a unique library barcode number that is attached to their planners at the start of each school year; this barcode then enables the children to ‘check’ books into and out of the library.
Exwick Heights Primary school has a range of reading schemes for our pupils to choose from. The most popular include Oxford Reading Tree (ORT), Collins Big Cat and Rigby Star, but other schemes are also used, including Lighthouse, Storyworlds and New Reading 360.
Reading schemes are developed in conjunction with literacy experts. Most schemes begin in the Foundation Stage and progressively become more difficult. For example, Key Stage 1 books are written with a mixture of high-frequency and decodable words to develop a range of reading strategies, while our Key Stage 2 books cover a wide range of genres and subjects, linking to the curriculum.
The school has a trained teacher to lead Reading Recovery as it is needed. Children who are identified as in need of Reading Recovery have individual lessons with a specially trained teacher for 30 minutes a day. The lesson series lasts for up to 20 weeks. The programme is different for every child, starting from what the child knows and what he/she needs to learn next. The focus of each lesson is to comprehend messages in reading and construct messages in writing, learning how to attend to detail without losing focus on meaning. At the end of the programme most children are able to read and write without help, at the appropriate level for their age and after the intervention their progress continues in line with their peers.
Key Words and Spellings
High frequency words are the words that appear most often in printed materials. Some of the high frequency words are called ‘tricky words’ because the children are unable to use their phonic knowledge to decode every part of the word.
Learning to recognise the high frequency words on sight is crucial in developing fluency and accuracy in reading and then writing. At The Mead we are committed to supporting the children learn to read and then spell these words.
Once children are confident with reading and spelling high-frequency words, they are taught spelling rules and are encouraged to apply these rules in their writing. Key words and spellings are usually tested weekly in school.