How is Reading Taught at Minterne?
At Minterne, there is a strong drive to encourage all pupils to develop a love of books and reading. Alongside this, we strive to ensure that all our pupils read easily, fluently and with good understanding so that they are enabled to become confident, happy and enthusiastic readers (and in turn, writers) with all the benefits that this brings.
The use of high-quality books within our reading curriculum, is at the heart of our approach to engage and support children to become motivated and independent readers. Our teachers use the best children’s literature available to teach and encourage their pupils to be inspired as readers and motivated to read for themselves.
Outside of lessons, new books are promoted in assemblies, authors visit our school and children make book recommendations to one and other. The school council have gathered pupil voice to help redesign the school library. We now have a team of pupils who act as ‘Library Assistants’; they run projects within the library as well as supporting other pupils. We also run a twice-weekly ‘Reading Crew’ breakfast club, where older readers support younger peers; disadvantaged and more vulnerable pupils are actively encouraged to attend. Reading achievements are celebrated on our AR display in the school main entrance, where there are also books for the children to borrow.
How is Reading taught in English lessons?
Most lessons and teaching approaches are inspired by ‘The Power of Reading’ (from the Centre of Literacy in Primary Education) and their research ‘What we Know Works’. Units of learning are based around a high-quality text; this may be a longer novel, a fiction text, a picture book but also multi-media texts. Teachers and children develop deep discussion around the text, they respond with high-quality writing and creative work. Using creative approaches, such as drama, art and music, the books inspire thinking and imagination, provoke questions and lead to learning opportunities across the curriculum.
Some texts are chosen because they match other curriculum content, whilst others are chosen because they enthuse us. We aim to ensure that the children experience texts that make them aware of the wider word beyond their immediate sphere. Some of the books that we study deal with strong feelings and difficult experiences. These texts are significant because they help the children connect characters and situations; opening up their awareness and understanding and helping them to empathise with others.
Teachers read aloud with their classes, helping them to become communities of readers and enables children to experience and enjoy stories that they might not otherwise meet; this ensures that they share in experiences of a wide range of books that they get to know well.
Word-reading Skills: For children who are still developing early word-reading skills, there is a rigorous and sequential approach; we use Project X CODE on a daily basis in small, differentiated intervention groups as part of Guided Reading. The Project X reading scheme (which is also used by our feeder infant school) is also available for children who wish to use it all the way up to year 6. Where further gaps need addressing, Toe-by toe and No-Nonsense Phonics are also used for individuals to effectively boost fluency and confidence in reading.
Word-reading skills that are appropriate to each year group in Key Stage 2 are honed in Guided Reading sessions where we use RIC questions to focus on key skills (Retrieval, Interpretation and Challenge).
Reading Comprehension: Reading comprehension is developed through high-quality shared-reading and discussion with the teacher; during lessons across the curriculum and during Guided Reading sessions. English lessons include frequent, regular and sustained opportunities to talk together about books they are reading as a whole class. This helps them to build the ability to reach a shared understanding of ideas and issues; this is especially empowering for children who find reading difficult. Teachers facilitate talk about the class text to develop confidence in clarifying unknown vocabulary, inferring and deducing ideas beyond the text and linking ideas and themes within and across texts.
Libraries: Our colourful library is manned daily by our library assistants and is brimming with an extensive range of fiction, poetry, non-fiction, newspapers for the children to use and borrow. The children can visit the library at lunchtimes to borrow books and as a quiet place to enjoy a book. Minterne has a ‘Story Club’ where children can come to listen to an adult reading. Class libraries / book corners are also well-stocked with fiction books and children borrow them to take home for reading and use them for reading in class.
Reading for Pleasure
At Minterne, we create an environment that promotes reading as a socially engaging activity that is valued and encouraged. We promote a positive ethos for reading for pleasure by displaying books attractively; we share, show and display books in classrooms and spaces throughout the school. This raises the profile of reading communicates its value, as well as encouraging children to select texts for themselves.
We listen to and respect children’s reading choices whilst helping them to broaden their reading range. Sometimes children enjoy popular series; these texts can draw children in, provide important reading practice and encourage them to read for pleasure.
Accelerated Reader (AR): We use the Accelerated Reader system to ensure that all children are selecting an independent reading book that will allow them to make good reading progress. It also provides teachers and parents with clear information on how well our children understand the books that they are reading. Engagement and motivation are promoted through rewards that are set for children as they achieve their reading goals. Parents who have registered receive an email each time their child takes a quiz which details their level of understanding of the book. In 2018, we were awarded runner up for ‘Best Performing School’ in AR countrywide.
In 2019, Minterne introduced MyOn as a supplement to the school’s AR system; this is a pupil-centered, digital library that children can use at home or school. The system enhances opportunities for pupils to interact with non-fiction texts and particularly helps those who have limited home-reading support or resources.
AR allows teachers to monitor pupils’ reading, including the number of words read. Pupils who have read one million words are rewarded with an exclusive green school polo shirt and they wear these with pride. Multi-millionaire readers are recognized with a leather school bookmark. Indeed, reading success is celebrated on a termly basis, with certificates and a whole-school raffle for pupils who reach their individual reading targets.
Homework: Pupils are given opportunities to read their AR book at school but are also expected to read it at home; every child in the school is required to read with an adult five times per week as homework and this is recorded and reviewed weekly in the pupil planners. Where home support is limited for certain pupils, our Pupil Premium teaching assistant supplements this and ‘Reading for Life’ volunteers give up their time to come into school and read with individuals.