At Chaffinch Brook school, reading is the golden thread of the whole curriculum. We believe a love of reading is crucial to both personal development and life-long skills. We are passionate about reading and aim to enthuse this same passion to our students through exposing them to a range of quality books with a broad range of genres, contexts, authors, time periods, from contemporary works to classics that are considered canonical. We believe in the importance of developing children’s comprehension and word-reading skills.
It is our aim at Chaffinch Brook school, that all students, regardless of their academic ability and background can become competent and sometimes fluent readers, as the ability to read has a direct effect upon their attainment and progress in all areas of the curriculum.
We also want our children to choose to read for pleasure and communicate their own interests and passions. Our intent is to develop our pupils’ independence and confidence in English to prepare them for the rest of their lives. We welcome and value the contribution our parents give to help nurture positive reading and writing attitudes in our children.
Pupils follow the Bug Club Phonics scheme which is taught throughout our KS1 classes and in some KS2 classes. Bug Club Phonics is the dedicated phonics strand of Bug Club, a core reading programme, that we use for independent and group reading from Reception to Year 6. The programme is a balanced approach to the teaching of reading using synthetic phonics. It simultaneously teaches the segmentation of words for spelling, and develops phonemic awareness skills. This is supported by multi-sensory phonics activities and games to ensure our pupils are motivated and engaged. Where appropriate for their individual learning style, pupils use a whole word reading approach to learning new words and sentences. For students In KS3 and KS4, who have gaps in their phonic knowledge, we follow phonics ‘catch-up’ sessions to address specific gaps. These short, sharp interventions last for about 10 minutes daily. We use highly structured decodable books matched to the reading level of the student. The phonics screening is administered for some of Year 1 students and if they are unable to complete it, we try again in Year 2.
Each pupil has multi-sensory individualised interventions to support their reading and may include programmes such as Nessy Reading, 5 Minute Box, Toe by Toe and Precision Teaching. KS3 and KS4 interventions include ‘enrichment’ sessions allocated to their timetable, tailored to support our students who have extensive gaps in their reading and writing. These individualised interventions include, SPaG sessions, comprehension skills and word reading.
All children participate in whole class reading sessions led by the class teacher. This is built around the teacher reading high-quality and challenging texts often linked to the class English unit. To supplement this, we have daily whole class reading sessions during our nurture times and the students also have an opportunity for independent reading.
We have well-equipped reading book shelves in each classroom to encourage reading for pleasure and so that the children are able to access a broad spectrum of texts in line with their varied interests.
Our primary school setting also has an onsite library. Alongside this, we use online reading libraries, ‘Bug Club' and ‘Giglets', where students have the opportunity to read and listen to a wide range of books tailored to their individual level or interest. They also include a range of comprehension activities and can be used at home. Reading books are also sent home to share with parents.
Other subject teachers have a shared view on the significance of improving reading standards. Pupils benefit from an explicit instruction on how to read new specialised vocabulary and keywords related to their subject, as well as practice through guided oral reading.
Our children are assessed yearly using the Salford reading test to determine their reading age and also a diagnostic test is carried out to determine the right reading intervention. Reading progression is then monitored formatively throughout the year and a summative assessment is made by the teacher on a termly basis using B Squared. In year 2 and year 6, some of the pupils will be entered for the SATs.
Good practice is always shared between staff and CPD is used to inform teaching and learning across the school.
We have whole school enrichment days throughout the year such as school book launches, Poetry Week and World Book Week. We also organise trips to the theatre and libraries to motivate the children and foster positive attitudes towards reading.
We have a range of opportunities to promote reading for pleasure including celebration assemblies where we reward a ‘Reader of the Week' with a certificate and book token to purchase a book of their choice.
Over a number of years, our pupils build their bank of well-known texts, supplemented by picture books, novels, poems and non-fiction books. Gradually, this living library of language begins to equip the children with the words they need to express themselves. Our children are able to listen to, respect and tolerate others' opinions and views, as well as having the confidence and ability to share their own.
Our children make good progress in reading from their individual starting points. They gain a rich vocabulary that they are able to apply to their spoken and written English. By the time they leave Chaffinch Brook, most children should be able to read with confidence for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Furthermore, our pupils are able to progress in other subjects across the curriculum due to their ability to read. The reading skills they develop allow them to succeed across the Key Stages and in their daily lives.
Many of our pupils’ go on to complete KS1 and KS2 SATS and in KS4 Functional Skills exams or GCSE accreditations. Through our curriculum, they are able to progress and be ready for the next phase of their education or life in a successful and positive way.