At Alma Park, we recognise that one of the most effective things you can do to raise the attainment of the pupils is to help them develop a love of reading.
- Building up your children’s vocabulary gives them the words they need to become successful speakers and writers as well as confident readers.
- Reading opens up a new world for children and gives them the opportunity to explore new ideas, visit new places and meet new characters.
Our Reading Scheme
Texts from different published reading schemes and ‘real’ books are included in our Reading Scheme: fiction and non-fiction. Some of the Reading schemes we use to supplement our ‘real’ books are; Oxford Reading Tree, PM Starters, Collins Big Cats and Alphakids. All these books are book banded and differentiated to the child's level of need.
Reading a variety of books develops good habits and independence. Children read different authors and types of text such as poetry, stories, reports, explanations and recounts or diaries. We colour band books, according to difficulty. We use the colour banding system whilst children are learning to read but then heavily supplement this with colour banded ‘real life’ books! Children in EYFS and KS1 also have reading books matched to their phonic ability and phase they are currently learning. An important step in teaching phonics is to provide students with practice in applying what they've learned to real reading. When children are confident and fluent readers, we let children become ‘Free Readers’ which then enables children to choose their own books. All classrooms have their own reading areas with a plethora of books to choose from. We also have high interest, book banded books to motivate and engage children specifically in Key Stage Two that may be struggling with reading. We carefully choose these books to capture their imagination and interests.
Home School Reading
Books children bring home are usually a little easier than those they read in school. We aim to nurture lifelong readers and hope children will curl up with a book and read their favourite stories over and over again. Just for the love of it. With challenging texts in school and taking home books at a comfort level, children gain fluency and mastery in both decoding and understanding their books.
At Alma Park, we strongly believe in Guided Reading. We have discrete Guided Reading sessions daily from Nursery to Year 6. During the sessions, we teach children firstly how to decode the words and then secondly, the crucial reading skills of inference and deduction. This is also alongside making sure we expand and enhance every child’s reading experience through various opportunities to read for pleasure.
Reciprocal Teaching for Guided Reading
Teachers demonstrate the different components of reading comprehension so children develop the skills to find a deeper understanding of what they read. In Reciprocal teaching, teachers model comprehension strategies then encourage children to apply them until the children are able to use the strategies independently.
As the process is very oral, providing many opportunities for dialogue, it is well-suited to a Guided Reading situation.
The strategies include:
Clarifying: readers identify tricky parts of the text – language, passages or concepts – and look at how to make sense of them, e.g. using a dictionary.
Predicting: readers make connections using their own prior knowledge and information from the text to imagine what might follow.
Questioning: readers ask questions about parts of the text they find unclear or find ways to make connections. It can deepen understanding and encourage skills of inference-making. Summarising: readers identify important information in a text (or part of a text) to organise into a clear description of the whole. It uses recall and literal understanding.
Visualising: readers may arrive at a mental representation of a text. Encouraging children to verbalise what they see can be a useful way to support understanding.
Evaluating: children are encouraged to begin to consider a text critically and to form and justify opinions. It might require linking to prior knowledge and understanding.
At Alma Park we use a brilliant reading app called Reading Eggs/Eggspress to support the children's learning. Each child is given a username and password so they can use this programme at home. It is designed to teach your children the core literacy skills needed to be successful at school with a progressive sequence of interactional and motivational lessons. Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress provide children with a one-on-one learning environment, which means that they can learn at a rate that suits their level of ability and progress. Children are also able to repeat lessons in order to overcome any difficulties.
Focus on core literacy skills
Phonemic awareness – the ability to hear, identify and manipulate the individual sounds in words.
Phonics – the ability to link sounds to letters, also known as the alphabetic principle.
Vocabulary – building the bank of words a child can automatically recognise.
Fluency – reading automatically, accurately, with appropriate tone and accounting for punctuation.
Comprehension – reading for meaning and making inferences from text.
Making Learning Fun
Children learn best when they are having fun. The online lessons and activities in Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress make learning enjoyable and highly engaging for young children. Children stay keen to learn with the vibrant animations and visuals, colourful characters, catchy music and sing-alongs that feature in the lessons.