Reading is the gateway skill that makes all other learning possible
Reading at AJS
Reading is at the heart of everything we do at Alumwell Junior School. Not only does teaching children core reading skills help them to access all other learning, but building, embracing and encouraging a genuine love of reading helps children discover endless worlds, go on incredible adventures and meet hundreds of fascinating characters. Not only this but it allows children to broaden their vocabulary, and increase their general knowledge about a huge range of subjects. Because of its importance, reading happens throughout the school day in many different ways. Below, these ‘branches’ of reading at AJS are explained further.
Phonics helps to teach children the relationship between sounds and their spellings. Early readers are faced with many unfamiliar words, even if they have good knowledge of the spoken language. For this reason, it is vital that we continue to teach children how to link letters to their sounds (phonemes) so that they can apply this knowledge when reading. In year 3, we continue with a daily phonics session where children are in small groups, focussing on particular sounds. The flexibility of these groups means that children move through the program as soon as they are ready to advance to the next stage. As the children’s decoding skills develop and they become more fluent, they are then able to focus on comprehension of the text.
Guided Reading and Comprehension
Once children are fluent readers, they are encouraged to read for meaning. During whole class sessions led by their teacher, children will explore a wide range of texts including fiction, non fiction and poetry together. Each session will have a focus based on the content domains set out in the National Curriculum. (see below) These sessions are a brilliant opportunity for children to discuss their thoughts about a range of texts, to suggest predictions based on what they have read, to unpick the meaning of unfamiliar words and to explore the impact of authors’ choices.
Content Domain References
2a give / explain the meaning of words in context
2b retrieve and record information / identify key details from fiction and non-fiction
2c summarise main ideas from more than one paragraph
2d make inferences from the text / explain and justify inferences with evidence from the text
2e predict what might happen from details stated and implied
2f identify / explain how information / narrative content is related and contributes to meaning as a whole
2g Identify / explain how meaning is enhanced through choice of words and phrases
2h make comparisons within the text
Throughout the week, children will have dedicated time to reading a class novel or exploring a picture book. This is time for the children to get lost in a story and to just ENJOY. J
Every class in school has a dedicated area for their own class library. On these shelves are a wide range of books both in terms of subject and level. We want children to be able to change their reading books regularly and be able to find something to read within their own classrooms which captures their interests. We really encourage our pupils to take control of the books they have access to. We are ALWAYS open for suggestions and requests from our children: if there is a particular author or series of books which interests them, we will always do our best to make sure this becomes a part of their class library.
We lose ourselves in books, we find ourselves there too.
Mirrors and Windows
We believe that the books read by children at Alumwell Junior School should be both mirrors and windows. It is important for children to read ‘Mirror books’- books in which they find characters that reflect themselves and cultures that reflect their own. This allows children to see that they are valued. As well as this, we want children to read ‘Window books’- books in which they find characters and cultures which are unfamiliar to them. In accessing books of both kinds, we are ensuring that our children are learning about others and developing understanding and empathy as well as building on their understanding of their own identity. We want all children at AJS to recognise themselves in books they access here as well as having the chance to explore the experiences of others who are different to them. This is something we are continuing to develop in school as our collection of books with a variety of characters, settings and storylines flourishes.
That's the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.
Reading at Home
You can help to establish a love of reading at home too. Whether you are reading books yourself and setting a great example, hearing your child read their book in the evening or by sharing a story from home with them, this time with you will help them to enjoy reading.
To learn to read is to light a fire.