We know that reading is one of the most important skills the children will ever learn. The children at William Alvey have lots of opportunities to read at school and we try and promote reading in as many ways as we can.
Every class has a variety of fiction (story) and non-fiction (fact) books readily available in their book corners. Each year group also has 6 books that they study in detail across the school year. These books were chosen for a variety of reasons including genre, ‘plague’* or by author.
We have a school library that the children can access at break and lunchtimes. We also have very good links with Sleaford Library and we are starting a rota of regular visits throughout the school year.
To get the children started in Reception we teach phonics based on the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme. Our reading schemes (Rising Stars Reading Planet and Oxford Reading Tree) are matched to each phase of Letters and Sounds; these books include the key sounds and high frequency words covered within each book which enables our parents to fully support their child with their reading development. The children’s progression in phonics is assessed termly throughout Reception and KS1 and specific, individual targets are set to support pupils with any gaps in their knowledge. Phonics intervention is delivered in small groups or 1:1 depending on the needs of each child. Parents are given termly updates on their child’s assessments through teacher feedback and Reception parents are also able to keep track of their child’s reading progress on ‘Tapestry’. A phonics workshop is held for Reception parents so that a reading partnership between home and school can flourish from day one.
At the end of Year 1 all the children in the UK take a phonics assessment and this indicates where the children are compared to national expectations. The children have a chance to retake this test half way through Year 2. Our children consistently perform above the national average.
After the children move into KS2 (Year 3-6) the children follow one of two pathways; we use the Renaissance Accelerated Reading Programme for children who are at age related expectations but those children who are below where we would expect follow a different reading scheme until they are ready to move to Renaissance reader, where all books are banded into different levels. Children have to read 5 books in each level and pass a simple ‘quiz’ before moving onto the next level. Pretty much all books are banded by Renaissance and you can either visit their website or click on the link on our website (www.williamalvey.net) and check the level of almost any book you have at home. We can monitor the children’s progress throughout KS2 using the scheme’s diagnostic reporting system which can be accessed at an individual and whole class level, we can track the number of books each child has read and their level of basic comprehension.
Throughout a child’s time at William Alvey children are also given the chance to read individually to the classteacher or to the whole class in a lesson or as a preparation for an assembly or a performance. The children are encouraged to read at every opportunity.
*In his book ‘Reading Reconsidered’, Doug Lemov points out that there are five types of texts or plagues that children should have access to in order to successfully navigate reading with confidence. These are complex beyond a lexical level and demand more from the reader than other types of books:
Narratively Complex Books