At Billesley Primary school we fully recognise the importance of reading and thus wholly embrace all aspects of literature; the old and the new; the report and the comic; the novel and the webpage; all in a bid to immerse our children in stories and texts that broaden their horizons and open doors to new worlds. Reading takes on many forms at Billesley.....
Children from year 1 through to year 6 regularly engage in guided reading activities, using books and resources matched to their current levels of skill and understanding. Throughout the week children take part in both adult-led and adult-initiated learning, as well as being provided opportunities for independent work and to read for pleasure. In KS1 children read in small groups, each led by an adult to model decoding strategies and ask questions to develop reading comprehension skills. In KS2, reading takes a whole class approach, with children reading independently, in pairs, small groups and out loud, supporting each other to succeed. The children also work in pairs and small groups asking and answering questions to develop a deeper, contextual understanding of literature.
Children are guided to decode words, using a variety of different approaches, as well as to decode meaning through increasingly comprehensive textual analysis. Teacher-led discussions take place requiring the children recall or employ inference to determine the character or author intention, as well as making observations and comments relating to textual layout and organisation. Our children regularly read plays, stories, comics, poetry, and nonfiction texts as part of their progressive reading journey.
Children are informally assessed on an ongoing basis during guided reading, culminating in moderated judgements being made each half term. For assessment, we use a combination of teacher judgement and more formalised reading comprehension tests to ensure the accuracy of provision. Reading is rigorously monitored to ensure our very high expectations are maintained and built upon. Teaching staff receive support and professional development opportunities on a timely basis to ensure we constantly improve and refine practice.
From Nursery onwards, children are set weekly reading homework and are provided with either targeted reading material, or a self-chosen book, or both. We encourage and support parents to read with their children on a daily basis, recognising that parents play an incredibly important role in their child’s reading development.
Storytime regularly takes place across the whole school, in every class, such is the value we place on children being read to, and hearing stories read out loud. What better way for children to learn how to use appropriate vocal expression and intonation, than by hearing their teacher modelling those skills every day, through some of their favourite characters and stories at story time?
Our English Curriculum has reading at its foundation, with each year group assigned different authors and texts to learn about each term. Children read, discuss and dissect stories, poems and texts, analysing character and structure, form and purpose; using their newly acquired skills and knowledge to help them write their own stories, reports, recounts, book reviews and texts. Furthermore, all curriculum areas are designed with the aim of developing children’s reading skills. Our continuing aim is that reading (and writing) is at the heart of everything we do.
Our library is open every day and staffed by Year 6 children, offering all the children in the school independent access to new and engaging content on a regular basis. Add to this the Book Fair, author visits, poetry days and many, many other whole school reading events, and we are confident that children at Billesley increasingly understand the importance, and pleasure, of reading as a lifelong and life-enhancing skill.