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Reading for pleasure

At Hallam Fields Junior School we take reading for pleasure very seriously. We know the impact that reading for pleasure has, not only on children’s academic success and life chances but also on their emotional health and happiness too. 

All staff aim to ensure that every child leaves us as a reader and to this end, they know their role in modelling excitement and sharing their love and enthusiasm for books. Staff aim to know the children as readers and get to know their preferences and interests so that they can ‘blether’ about books and make recommendations too. 

Within school we do lots of things to promote ‘Reading for Pleasure’. Just a few are listed below - as we are always adding to this list as new ideas come from the children. 

Author Visits

Author visits ensure that the children get to hear from authors about what inspires them to write and where they get their ideas from. These are very inspiring and there is always a real buzz amongst the children after author visits, not only about getting hold of the books but also from the children aspiring to be authors. 

Visits (both in person and virtually) are from a range of authors which have previously visited included Jaquelin Wilson, E.R. Reilly and Tom Palmer! 

Reading Shed

We have a Reading Shed on the playground, which the children can access during every break and lunch time and also can be used during lesson time too. These books are interest/pleasure books and are not linked with our reading systems. 

Classroom book displays

Each class has books in the classroom to meet the reading levels of the children; the children’s views are sought about what type of books they would like to read and we try to meet these interests with the books. Each classroom also has a display of books linked to the current topic that the children are accessing. Children can read these books during the day in school and this helps broaden vocabulary in relation to their topic too. 

Teachers Reading Out-loud

Children hearing adults reading is really important. Not only do we promote parents reading with and to their children, we also make sure that the children hear their teacher reading each day. Every class has a class book and these are shared daily. From the questionnaires answered by the children this is something that the children really enjoy! 

Reading for Pleasure time

Time is allocated during each day for children to do sustained reading (see example timetable). Book Talk sessions are also every morning and a range of shared texts and individual books are used for the children to unpick, discuss and give their opinions on. 

Class Teachers Keep Up To Date with Current Literature

All staff keep up to date with current children’s authors by sharing new literature each week as a staff. Because of this, teachers and TA’s are able to make and discuss recommendations for authors or books with all children. 

Reading Ambassadors

Two children have been chosen from each class to be Reading Ambassadors. These children share the mission to get everyone in their class reaching (alongside their class teachers). So far this year they have been displaying books in their classrooms to try to entice other children to read them; sharing a ‘Book of the Week’ and selling what the other children may like about the book and putting secret missions (such as read this book and write a review and you will receive a reward) into random books on their book shelf or choosing a child in their class who has not yet found the book they love and doing a ‘book drop’ on the child’s chair to draw the child into a book. 

The reading ambassadors have also been busy writing book reviews and asking others in their class to do so too; these are shared in class and also in our half termly Reading for Pleasure Newsletter. 

Reading for Pleasure Newsletter

As a staff we regularly share new literature to keep us up to date with new literature and authors and ensure that we have a large bank of authors and books to draw on to help to make recommendations to your child. Within our Reading for Pleasure Newsletter we also share these with children and parents too. In addition to sharing books that are award winners, we also share with you books that our children recommend to each other and any upcoming dates relating to reading too.                                                                                                                                               

 
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Phonics

Our aim is to ensure that every child is a reader by the end of Year 6.   However, in order to reach that potential, some children still require discrete phonics teaching when they reach Junior School.  By highlighting the importance of phonics in every year group, our aim is to raise the reading and spelling standards across the school. 

 

The implementation of our aims

Direct teaching of phonics takes place regularly for all children who still require it.  Interactive lessons ensure all children participate fully and quality first teaching is our aim.  Practitioners understand the nature of the English alphabetic code and also understand the principles underpinning a programme of synthetic phonics.  

 

Our Synthetic Phonics Programme

The school has adopted a systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) programme called Sound Discovery. Sound Discovery was written by Educational Psychologists specifically for older students, students with special needs and people with dyslexia.  The lessons are snappy and fun which is why we sometimes refer to them as Snappy Phonics.   We also use Sound Discovery complimentary materials designed as extra support resources where children can apply phonics such as precision teaching and comprehension sheets.

 

Children are assessed when they enter year three and then tracked and assessed regularly using tracking grids until they complete the programme. Older pupils who need to catch up with reading or those pupils with poor decoding skills, are therefore identified as soon as possible and sufficient support put in place to accelerate progress.   The children who require it take part in twenty minute sessions at least three times a week, in year three this is increased to five times a week in order to support the children with catching up.  We also use the same sound mats across the school which are also linked to our handwriting programme.

 

Decodable books

While working on a particular phoneme, children are given a decodable book linked to it.  Children read these books on five separate occasions alongside a chosen book the children can read, share and love, both in school and at home.

Click here for our Phonics Policy

 
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Active Reading

 

At Hallam Fields we encourage our children to be Active Readers rather than passive readers.  This means that we teach the children not just to read the words aloud but to comprehend what they read. We have developed our own Active Reading Scheme which progresses throughout the school.  (Please see the mid-term plans).  Teachers use this to plan, teach and monitor the children’s reading for meaning.

Each week the children take part in an Active Reading lesson to support them with understanding what they read.  We use eight Active Reading Skills which underpin this crucial life skill.  They are referenced not just in one lesson, but across the whole of the curriculum.  Reading for meaning is the bedrock of all learning and these eight key skills are all strategies that travel.

Background Knowledge:

Whenever we read we bring our own experiences and knowledge to the text.  We call this our background knowledge.  By engaging our background knowledge we can understand the text better.

 

Checking breakdowns:

When we read we sometimes lose the meaning.  This could be a breakdown in understanding a word, a phrase or losing meaning across sentences and paragraphs.  We teach the children to recognise when they don’t understand something and find a way to solve it, otherwise meaning will be lost.

 

Repair Strategies:

Once we have recognised that we do not understand something we need to repair it somehow.  Children are taught a range of repair strategies including: reading on and back; lifting the breakdown word or phrase and thinking what would make sense as a replacement; locating the root of a word to help understanding etc.

 

Predicting and asking questions.

A good reader will always ask questions as they read.  We provide the children with extracts and teach them how to annotate the texts as they read by writing questions, ‘I wonders’ and notes around the text.  They can then make predictions about what they think has happened or will happen next and character motivations etc.  Sometimes we use drama to support the children with understanding too.

 

Visualising and Sequencing

An extremely useful tool we use when we are an Active Reader is to make a picture in our minds.  Children draw quick pics around what they read to aid understanding.  This is a great tool when we sequence too as children can pick out the key vocabulary as they read and talk about the sequence of events across sentences and paragraphs.

 

Finding Key words and phrases

Finding key vocabulary is crucial when answering comprehension questions.  Children are taught how to hold the key words from a question in mind then scan and skim a text to find the key words and phrases that will help them to answer the question. 

 

Connecting and Summarising

Children need to make connections using key vocabulary and be able to summarise their understanding of what they read.  There are several strategies we use to support this including highlighting key words/phrases/ideas then deleting all unnecessary words; shrinking a paragraph into a sentence; selecting from three summaries and explaining which is the most effective; writing a headline in ten words or less that captures the gist of the text.

 

Retrieving, Explaining and Inferring.

If children use the strategies above they should then find it easier to retrieve the key words and phrases that they need, explain their understanding of a text and infer their own meaning from the text.  Furthermore, they can then add their own opinions and ideas to the text, a valuable life skill once they reach higher education and beyond.

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Active Reading

 

At Hallam Fields we encourage our children to be Active Readers rather than passive readers.  This means that we teach the children not just to read the words aloud but to comprehend what they read. We have developed our own Active Reading Scheme which progresses throughout the school.  (Please see the mid-term plans).  Teachers use this to plan, teach and monitor the children’s reading for meaning.

Each week the children take part in an Active Reading lesson to support them with understanding what they read.  We use eight Active Reading Skills which underpin this crucial life skill.  They are referenced not just in one lesson, but across the whole of the curriculum.  Reading for meaning is the bedrock of all learning and these eight key skills are all strategies that travel.

Background Knowledge:

Whenever we read we bring our own experiences and knowledge to the text.  We call this our background knowledge.  By engaging our background knowledge we can understand the text better.

Checking breakdowns

When we read we sometimes lose the meaning.  This could be a breakdown in understanding a word, a phrase or losing meaning across sentences and paragraphs.  We teach the children to recognise when they don’t understand something and find a way to solve it, otherwise meaning will be lost.

 

Repair Strategies

Once we have recognised that we do not understand something we need to repair it somehow.  Children are taught a range of repair strategies including: reading on and back; lifting the breakdown word or phrase and thinking what would make sense as a replacement; locating the root of a word to help understanding etc.

 

Predicting and asking questions

A good reader will always ask questions as they read.  We provide the children with extracts and teach them how to annotate the texts as they read by writing questions, ‘I wonders’ and notes around the text.  They can then make predictions about what they think has happened or will happen next and character motivations etc.  Sometimes we use drama to support the children with understanding too.

 

Visualising and Sequencing

An extremely useful tool we use when we are an Active Reader is to make a picture in our minds.  Children draw quick pics around what they read to aid understanding.  This is a great tool when we sequence too as children can pick out the key vocabulary as they read and talk about the sequence of events across sentences and paragraphs.

 

Finding Key words and phrases

Finding key vocabulary is crucial when answering comprehension questions.  Children are taught how to hold the key words from a question in mind then scan and skim a text to find the key words and phrases that will help them to answer the question. 

 

Connecting and Summarising

Children need to make connections using key vocabulary and be able to summarise their understanding of what they read.  There are several strategies we use to support this including highlighting key words/phrases/ideas then deleting all unnecessary words; shrinking a paragraph into a sentence; selecting from three summaries and explaining which is the most effective; writing a headline in ten words or less that captures the gist of the text.

 

Retrieving, Explaining and Inferring

If children use the strategies above they should then find it easier to retrieve the key words and phrases that they need, explain their understanding of a text and infer their own meaning from the text.  Furthermore, they can then add their own opinions and ideas to the text, a valuable life skill once they reach higher education and beyond.

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Accelerated Reader

We use Accelerated Reader in school.  This system is accessible once the children have graduated from the phonics scheme.  All of our books in school are in the Accelerated Reader system.  You will notice a number on the spine of the book and another quiz number at the back.  After an initial reading test, children are then given a ZPD range (Zone of Potential Development) this is the number on the front of the book.  They choose books within this range and will take a reading ‘Quiz’ afterwards (this is the quiz number at the back of the book) which asks them questions about their understanding of the book.  Children who achieve 100% in their quizzes are celebrated in class and receive tokens as rewards.  They also earn points in the system which our Reading Ambassadors monitor and during assembly each Friday, classes that have achieved the most points each week are rewarded and celebrated.  

Children are assessed at the beginning of the year and then each half term and tracked throughout their time at Junior School.  Accelerated Reader is a wonderful teaching and learning tool as it allows teachers to instantly assess where the gaps are in a child’s understanding of what they read book by book.  We can then plug those gaps using our Active Reading lessons.   

 
 
 
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Reading Time

After lunch each day, our children drop everything and read for half an hour.  This is time for the children to read for pleasure, take a quiz and really get lost in a good book.  Each of the classrooms has developed a reading area to be used during this time, often with cushions and blankets so that children can really snuggle down and enjoy reading.  Children take it in turns to use these areas and a variety of books, magazines, comics and non-fiction texts are all offered at this time.

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First News

We also provide copies of First News in each classroom every week which is used during our afternoon reading sessions.  First News is a newspaper written specifically for children and is a wonderful resource that they enjoy reading as it delivers up to date news from around the world.  It sometimes has competitions, provokes debates and asks for children’s opinions, all valuable life skill.

 
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Reading at Home

Every morning all children are expected to have their reading diaries in school to be checked. Children that have not read at home are picked up to read to an adult during the day. We also promote that if a child is not able to be heard read with an adult at home, that they can read, film themselves and put it on to Seesaw so that the adults in their class sign this off in their diary. 

Reading at home is promoted by all teachers and we have a reward system in school to encourage the children to read - and record their reading daily – in order to achieve rewards such as extra playtime, stickers and small rewards by competing the reading chart.

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Book Talk                 

In the morning, all classes engage in Book Talk or VIPERS sessions (depending on the assessed need of the children in the class). Book Talk sessions follow the structure set out by Jane Considine’s Hooked on Books. The children have time to read then discuss three questions during the session, use the sentence stems and then draw on evidence from the text to support their ideas.                

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VIPERs Sessions

VIPERS stands for: 

Vocabulary

Inference

Prediction

Explanation

Retrieval

Sequence or Summarise

During VIPERS sessions the teacher selects the specific areas of need for the children and targets the questioning around developing their skill in this area. These include a quality first read and then a second read where the key features of the text are drawn out; the children then develop and evaluate their written answers in reference to the shared text.                                                                                                                                                                                                           

 
 
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