Primary National Curriculum 2014: Reading

‘The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:

  • word reading
  • comprehension (both listening and reading).

It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.

Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (i.e. unskilled readers) when they start school. Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through children's experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All children must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases children's vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds children's imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.

It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all children are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.’

Reading at Hollington

At Hollington Primary Academy, we believe that all pupils should be immersed a book rich curriculum that enables them to become confident, fluent readers who can enjoy a range of books and texts. This is because we believe that our pupils’ ability to read and understand what they read is the single most important area to develop in the primary phase. We encourage our pupils to have high aspirations and not be held back from reading the books and texts that interest them. We want them to be determined and resilient and to use the knowledge and strategies that they have learnt to problem solve, independently, whilst reading. To support them on their journey to becoming able readers, we expose all children to rich, stimulating texts which includes a broad range of stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction so that they can develop their vocabulary, language comprehension and, ultimately, their love of reading.

In order to acquire the knowledge needed to begin reading, the Academy uses a systematic synthetic phonics approach throughout Nursery, Reception and Year 1. We know how important it is for our pupils to use their knowledge of phonics as their primary approach to early reading which is why phonics lessons begin as soon as pupils start school. Although based on Letters and Sounds, we have adapted our phonics to meet the expectations of the National Curriculum, ensuring that pupils have the necessary speaking and listening skills first before learning the letters or combination of letters used to record sounds. Throughout Reception and Key Stage 1, pupils use phonics based reading books to apply the knowledge learnt in class. There is a continuous focus on phonics knowledge all the way through the Academy as pupils continue to recall their knowledge when reading new words.

Pupils in Reception begin to read in small groups so that they can learn how books work and begin to apply their phonics knowledge. They also begin to discuss and read words with unconventional spellings and engage in what they have read. When they reach Year 1, pupils take part in Daily Supported Reader sessions. This is a systematic, classroom based reading programme where pupils work in small groups matched to their reading ability. Each group is led by a trained adult to work on independent reading strategies, fluency and early comprehension skills. In Key Stage 2, Destination Reader sessions provide a further systematic approach to reading for our older pupils and this is introduced in the latter part of Year 2, ready for the pupils’ transition into Key Stage 2. Destination Reader teaches pupils how to work collaboratively to support themselves and each other using explicitly taught strategies alongside teacher modelling of how these work. Texts used within the Destination Reader lessons have been chosen with care to ensure they engage the children we teach and, where appropriate, support with the knowledge acquisition or application for the term’s overarching theme.

Our daily timetabled reading sessions in Key Stage 1 and 2 add considerably to our pupils’ reading mileage. Developed by Hackney Education to target reading achievement and enjoyment, both of our reading programmes focus on teaching the national curriculum content in a systematic way.

Our Academy has designed a clear progression of the phonics and reading knowledge that should be taught each term, throughout the academy. Pupils in Early Years will be able to discriminate between individual sounds and begin to match these to the letters or combinations of letters used to record them within texts before learning how to blend sounds into words. In Key Stage 1 they will develop their grapheme/phoneme correspondence by learning alternative letters of combinations of letters as well as identifying alternative sounds for letters and increase their knowledge of words that don’t follow spelling conventions. In Key Stage 1, our

pupils will begin to build a set of independent reading strategies to help them problem solve as they increase their reading fluency. They learn to talk about texts and read for meaning. In Key Stage 2, pupils develop a range of strategies: Predicting, Clarifying, Questioning, Summarising, Inferring, Evaluating and Making Links. Each of these strategies is revisited and developed each term and each academic year. A core part of our approach is to build on our pupils’ knowledge of texts and knowledge of the world.

Lessons are planned to take into account any gaps in learning. Lessons are robust and rigorous and happen daily. Lessons always start with a recap on the previous learning and will refer to prior knowledge when appropriate that will then be built on. Teachers model new concepts before pupils practice and apply the knowledge and skills themselves. Scaffolding in the form of sentence stems supports the children in their discussions about texts. Lessons finish with a review of what has been learnt and what the focus will be next time. Current learning and any relevant vocabulary is displayed in classrooms for easy reference.

At Hollington our children have access to a variety of texts across our wider curriculum areas enabling them to practise their reading beyond the Reading lesson. Our teachers model their own passion for reading throughout the Academy day, not only in Reading, Writing and Wider Curriculum sessions but also during Book Worms at the end of each day when a class text is shared. The impact of our reading curriculum is that, by the end of each key stage, our children will develop detailed knowledge and skills across the reading curriculum and will be able to read widely and with fluency and comprehension appropriate to their age. Our reading curriculum is ambitious, with texts identified being age appropriate as well as progressive across year groups and the Academy. We reflect upon the texts chosen at regular intervals, ensuring that we have what we consider to be the best reading opportunities for our children.

Teaching Approaches