Our aim at Medlock Primary School is to enable all children to be fluent readers who can talk eloquently about a wide range of texts and genres. Most importantly, our goal is that our children discover a love of books from Nursery, which is continued right up until they leave us in Year 6 and beyond. Reading and the explicit teaching of reading is at the heart of and drives our whole curriculum.
We see it as our job to not just prepare children to be “secondary ready” but to be “life ready” as the reading skills which we teach them, they will use for the rest of their lives. It’s therefore imperative that school and families work together to ensure our children receive the best opportunities possible.
Being a fluent reader with a love of books opens up many opportunities to the wider world, as well as enabling the children to access other areas of the curriculum more easily. Because of this, we ensure that reading is part of all areas of the curriculum so that it’s seen as a life skill,which opens up the door to richer learning experiences and not just a discrete subject.
The last 2 years have been an exciting time for reading at Medlock Primary School. To support both what our children need on a day to day basis and more recently, to address any lost learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic we have moved to a new whole school guided reading model, with a familiar pattern to each session to support the children to focus primarily on their reading. Here children are taught in smaller groups, with a focus on diagnosis of needs at the point of hearing the children read. This enables us to address their individual learning needs more efficiently. On top of guided reading, children also receive regular 1-1 reading sessions to address more specific individual needs. This also allows staff to catch up with children on a more personal basis where children can share things which they might not always want to share in a whole class or group situation.
From Reception, children are sent home with their books from their 1-1 reading sessions so that parents and carers can continue the learning at home. Our children begin their reading journey on banded books (which fit systematically with our Letters and Sounds phonics programme) and move on to AR books (Accelerated Reader) when they are ready. The AR system allows children to have their reading minutes recorded which go towards them becoming ‘Word Millionaires’, a goal which they thoroughly enjoy aiming for. There is also the opportunity to take AR quizzes after each book - a fun way to test and monitor their comprehension skills and an extremely visible way of showing progress being made. Follow this link for a parent's guide to AR
‘Early reading’ is an extremely high priority at Medlock, with the skills being embedded right from Nursery 1. All children take home a library book to share at home each week right from entering school in Nursery 1. Explicit daily phonics lessons are taught from Nursery 2 to Year 1, where we follow the scheme ‘Letters and Sounds’. Children in all year groups from Reception to Year 6 receive extra phonics interventions if they need more support in this area. More information about this can be found in our phonics statement.
Ensuring that our children enjoy reading, as much as we do in school is vital. All classes have a reading corner in their classrooms where they get opportunities to read books completely of their choice and talk to their friends about what they’re currently reading. All classes receive at least one story time session a day where the emphasis is on ‘reading for pleasure’. This is also an opportunity for our children to have fluency, expression and reading for meaning modelled to them.
Because we understand the importance of reading as a life skill and not just a stand alone lesson, we ensure that there are reading opportunities in all areas of the curriculum. We ensure our theme lessons all include aspects of print, to ensure that our children are exposed to a variety of experiences and accounts of their class’ topic. In all lessons we incorporate reading opportunities so children see reading as a skill which they will use on a day to day basis. We also supplement this through use of the scheme “Take One Book” for some of our English units which emphasises using books as talk tools to support the children’s oracy and confidence as well as comprehension skills.
With our ambitious reading curriculum we expect that by the time our children leave Medlock to embark on secondary school that they are competent readers who can recommend books to their peers, have a thirst for reading a range of genres including poetry, and participate readily in discussions about books. They can also read a range of print at an appropriate level to enhance their knowledge and understanding of all subjects across the curriculum, opening up future learning opportunities.
Impact is measured regularly and in a variety of ways. Our staff are regularly observing and monitoring our children’s progress, ready to intervene when appropriate, as we know that learning to read isn’t a stand alone session but happens throughout the whole school day and beyond.
As well as informal observations, we use a variety of more formal assessment tools to monitor the children’s progress in all year groups. Children in EYFS and KS1 will typically be ‘Benchmarked’ to provide teachers with more information about their next steps. Once children are more confident readers we begin to use Star Assessments to help us best match texts to the children’s current reading level as well as their interests. We hold regular year group meetings to discuss the children’s progress, next steps and how we can address these, in class and through intervention.
We formally assess phonics at the end of each phase from Reception to Year 1 and where children in other year groups receive phonics interventions. Our Year 1 pupils also take part in the national Phonics Screening in the summer term. In KS2, children carry out GL reading tests. These tests are marked and monitored by an outside agency. The agency analyses the data in different ways so we can see any learning gaps clearly and address them accordingly.
In Year 2 and Year 6 the children take part in the national SATs. (SATs information for parents). Like with the GL tests, how the children do in the tests is monitored and gaps are addressed accordingly. Tests such as GL and SATs also allow us to monitor whole class and/or whole year group gaps so that we can reflect on our own practise.
Information from all of these ways in which we assess and monitor our children allow us to track the children while they are with us. We use the online system ‘Insight’ to do this. This data coupled with book scrutinies, pupil interviews, learning walks and informal observations by SLT, subject leaders and class teachers and TAs allow us to get a picture of the whole child in all areas of their learning so that we can support their individual needs and ensure that they make progress.