Reading is a high priority area of our English curriculum. Reading is a fundamental skill, used to stimulate children's imaginations and allow them to acquire a love for books. Reading influences the thoughts, feelings and emotions of all of our learners. We carefully monitor the children’s reading at home and encourage parents to be fully active and engaged with us in this in order to support their child’s ongoing development.
Reading takes place at least once a week in a Guided Reading group with a teacher or teaching assistant. If this is not appropriate, a child will receive tailored support from their teacher on a 1:1 basis. Children in all classes have daily access to high quality story time which ensures that reading is correctly modelled to children, as well as giving them the opportunity discuss content and to enjoy being read to!
At Pickhurst Infant Academy, we use a range of reading schemes to support our children in developing their reading skills, e.g. in Reception, children will mostly access Collins ‘Letters and Sounds’ scheme, where texts are carefully matched to the child’s phonic level. Moving up to KS1, there is a wider choice of schemes in addition to Letters and Sounds. These include: Songbirds, Big Cat, Oxford Reading Tree, Dandelion; providing children with a challenging reading experience, which also allows them to use their developing phonic and whole word knowledge in order to read independently.
Reading is not only celebrated and promoted within each classroom. Around the school, you will find numerous displays, which celebrate children’s literature – including our staff display, which promotes their favourites from the children’s texts. Here in Pickhurst, we feel strongly about children hearing a high quality text read to them each day by their teacher. Also, our pupils have designated time for quiet reading time in their classrooms, where they can access decodable books, matched to their phonic skills, meaning that pupils can independently read the text and feel empowered in their reading skills. Also, pupils are able to choose the books they wish to read and enjoy from their well-resourced book corners. They can choose to share a book with a peer, or read a magazine or a topic book related to our wider curriculum.
We invite parents and carers to a Reading Workshop, where we share relevant research as well as useful strategies in how to best support your child at home with phonics and reading for pleasure. We have created a list of recommended books, which we share with parents and we encourage the children to share their book reviews, which are published in the school’s Headlines. We are also very lucky to have so many parents and carers who are actively involved in helping with reading in the afternoons. To ensure that we are all role models, every last Friday of the month, we open our classroom doors to family members who would like to come in and read with the children.
Throughout the school year, the importance of reading is enhanced through assemblies, competitions, World Book Day, author or poet visits, Book Fairs and sponsored reading events to further enrich our English curriculum.
Starting in Reception, we endeavour to ensure we provide our pupils with a 'language rich' environment and a range of opportunities. All staff have high expectations of all the children to be able to speak in full sentences, which are grammatically correct. Within our classrooms, we explore ambitious vocabulary across the curriculum to ensure we acquire an understanding of tier 2 and tier 3 vocabularies. Teachers carefully plan which new words they will be exploring, ensuring consistency across the year group. These new words are explored in context, to ensure that the children a have sound understanding of how to use them on a daily basis. Ambitious language is displayed on classroom working walls and in our main hall. Frequently, a new word is shared and explained in assembly in order to promote and encourage language curiosity. All the children are active Word Collectors and are encouraged and rewarded for finding new words in and out of school.
As a result, we have a community of enthusiastic readers and writers who enjoy showcasing their developing literacy knowledge and skills. They are confident to take risks in their reading and writing, and love to discuss and share their ideas in an eloquent manner. Our attainment at the end of EYFS and KS1 is above that of both Bromley’s and the national average.