Being a Reader and a Writer
‘Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river’
At Charlton, we wish to ensure that pupils’ confidence and fluency with reading is developed as much as possible. Therefore, pupils in Key Stage 1 and some children in Key Stage2 may be provided with two reading books at times.
Phased Reading Books
It is our intention that all pupils build on their learning from their daily phonics session. As a result, reading materials are closely matched to the learning taking place in phonics sessions. When pupils are working on the Phase 2 grapheme phoneme correspondences (GPC), they will be provided with a ‘phased reading book’. A ‘phased reading book’ is a reading book which contains the phonemes from a specific phonics phase. Pupils will always be encouraged to take a book that matches the phonic phase which they are working on as this will complement the learning from phonics sessions and provide parents/carers with an opportunity to better understand the specific sounds which are being focused on in school. A ‘phased reading book’ can be changed within the phase by parents and pupils as and when appropriate for each pupil. Teachers will communicate with parents which phase a book should be selected from.
Once pupils are secure in using all the sounds from Phase 5 and are ready to embark on Phase 6, a phased reading book will no longer be required, and pupils will have a levelled reading book only.
We use a combination of reading schemes to provide our pupils with a range of books to select from when choosing their phased reader. These include Oxford Reading Tree, Bug Club Phonics, Reading Planet, Ransom Reading Stars.
Levelled Reading Books
It is also important that pupils’ enjoyment for reading, language skills and comprehension are developed. At times, pupils in Key Stage 1 will also be offered a ‘levelled reading book’ in addition to a ‘phased reading book’. A ‘levelled reading book’ has been assessed based on its vocabulary, narrative, themes and subject; each book is then allocated a book band colour. Pupils may be allocated a colour ban, and then at the discretion of their teacher, will progress through the banded colours as they gain confidence. Due to the choices available within each colour band, pupils should be able to find books which appeal to them at each stage. Having a ‘levelled reading book’ will provide pupils with the opportunity to read for pleasure regardless of the stage of their reading journey. ‘Levelled reading books’ will be monitored
by a pupil’s class teacher following regular reading assessments. Pupils and parents can change books within the colour band as and when appropriate to them. Teachers will inform parents and pupils if they need to select books from a different colour banding using the reading record book.
We also subscribe to Bug Club so that pupils may access levelled reading books using this online platform. Pupils will still have access to physical books but can supplement their reading material using their Bug Club account.
At Charlton, we use a combination of reading schemes to provide our pupils with a range of books to select from when choosing their levelled reader. These include Collins Big Cat, Oxford Reading Tree, Engage Literacy, Snapdragons, Rigby Rockets, Bug Club, Fireflies, Reading Champion and Rising Stars Reading Planet.
Reading in Key Stage 2
Pupils in Year 3 will continue to use the levelled readers as they did in Key Stage 1, and some pupils may still access phased reading books. At the end of Year 3, and moving into Year 4, any pupil who has reached or surpassed the ‘brown’ levelled books, will transition to ‘Library Readers’.
Being a ‘Library Reader’ means that a pupil will have access to the school library. As all books in the school library have been allocated a book level in accordance with Accelerated Reader (AR), pupils who are ‘Library Readers’ will be provided with a book range. This means that pupils can select books from the library, but they must fall within the book range which they have been allocated. The book range will allow pupils to select books that will challenge them without causing frustration or loss of motivation. It is important for children to read with a high degree of comprehension- reading within the book range will provide the opportunity for this.
The book range which a pupil is given will be determined by the progress which they have made with the levelled reader by the end of Year 3.
Accelerated Reader will be used by most pupils in Year 5 & 6. It is a computer program that supports teachers in managing and monitor pupil’s independent reading practice.
Pupils in Year 5 & 6 choose books to read based on their personalised ZPD which is generated after completing a short computerised reading assessment, known as Star Reader, that uses computer-adaptive technology. Children complete Star Reader tests once every short term so that their ZPD numbers are a true reflection of their current reading ability using real-time data at different points in the school year.
When pupils have finished reading a book from within their book range, they take a short quiz on the computer (passing the quiz is an indication that the pupil has understood what was read). AR gives both pupils and teachers feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher then use to help set targets and direct ongoing reading practice.
Every book that has an AR Reading Practice Quiz is given a point value. AR points are computed based on the difficulty of the book and the length of the book. Pupils earn points, or a portion of a book’s points, depending on how well they do on the Reading Practice Quiz.
Throughout the school, pupils are explicitly taught strategies including inference, questioning, summarizing and prediction. Through reading, pupils are exposed to rich vocabulary and are taught about word meaning across the curriculum.
Promoting reading for pleasure and enjoyment is an area that we feel passionate about. As such, we have a team of teachers dedicated to this. Each month we have a focus text type which is promoted across the school. Our pupils also have access to a Storytelling Channel whereby they can watch videos of members of staff reading stories aloud. We celebrate pupils’ success in reading in a variety of ways including rewarding those that have read 1,000, 000 words. Each year, we take part enthusiastically in World Book Day celebrations too.
“There is so much more to a book than just the reading.”
Phonics teaching at Charlton
Phonics teaching begins in Foundation Stage and is taught using Phonics Play. This ensures systematic coverage and progression and allows staff to access a variety of interactive games to supplement their teaching to create active and engaging sessions. Phonics is taught in small groups focusing on children’s recognition of the letter sounds and how to read and write these. Sessions are led either by the class teacher or by trained teaching assistant. The children are assessed regularly to ensure that they are in the appropriate group for supporting and extending their individual needs. Year 1 children take part in statutory Phonics Screening during the summer term, and parents are informed of their child’s achievement at the end of the school year.
At Charlton, writing skills are developed through a text-based approach. From ‘hooking’ the pupils in at the start of a unit and exploring the text in order to build an understanding of the writer’s craft, pupils develop a deep understanding of the components of writing – evaluating, planning, drafting, revising, editing and then publishing. The writing curriculum plans for diverse stimuli for writing which encourages high levels of engagement. Pupils are a given opportunities to explore the text and secure new writing skills before applying the skills to their own independent writing, ensuring greater understanding and a deeper appreciation of writerly choices. Texts are carefully chosen to deepen pupils’ knowledge of the wider curriculum, while ensuring pupils are immersed in our rich and varied literary heritage.