Growing Success through Reading at Northwood
At Northwood Primary School, reading is the main driver of the curriculum; teaching a child to read opens the door to their future success and is a vital component that enables our children to flourish in the wider curriculum and excel in life beyond Northwood. Reading is a vital skill for living successfully in society, and confident readers will have the ability to access rich life experiences and develop life-long dispositions towards independent learning. Teaching children to read is the greatest gift we, as educators, can give - and fostering positive attitudes to reading is key to this. From Early Years to Year 6 we ensure that children acquire the essential skills and knowledge that enables them to become a confident and successful reader.
At the heart of Northwood’s reading strategy is the commitment to offer our children the opportunity to hear and enjoy a range of literature daily, therefore ensuring children begin to develop a love of reading from the moment they start their school journey with us.
We need to ensure three main aims are met through our teaching:
1. children are able to read and, ultimately, are able to read fluently and confidently;
2. children are able to understand texts and, age appropriately, are able to infer and deduce information from what they have read;
3. children develop a passion for reading which extends beyond primary school so they are life long readers.
To meet these aims, we will:
• ensure the teaching of reading is, and remains to be, prioritised by all staff, including school leaders
• teach a clear and consistent phonics programme which clearly supports pupil progress;
• foster a love of reading through a variety of strategies and approaches;
• support pupils who fall behind to catch up quickly.
How do children learn to read at Northwood?
Phonics is the code that allows our children to read and write words; our skilled teaching team break down this code and share it with our children. Phonics helps our children to learn to read quickly and skilfully and is an essential part of their early curriculum in Early Years and Key Stage One. Letters and Sounds (Phonics) is taught daily in EY and KS1. At KS2 children should read a range of texts and respond to different layers of meaning in them.
Synthetic phonics is the form of phonics teaching used at Northwood, it prioritises the skill of segmenting, graphemes to decode words. We teach children to recognise phonemes discretely and match them to their graphemes. To fully decode a word, children must master the skill of segmenting and blending the phonemes together into words. Through the teaching programme, children will encounter technical vocabulary. The ‘What is Phonics?’ video is a great guide to demonstrate how this looks in practice.
All of the staff at Northwood are fully trained in the teaching of phonics and early reading. It requires great effort for children to learn to decode words and sentences – they may be able to read words and sentences but not understand what they mean. Therefore, our expert teachers support pupils to develop their comprehension and understanding of a text.
At Northwood sharing and listening to daily stories is a vital part of our approach to teaching reading. This opportunity allows pupils to develop their vocabulary and also to engage in comprehension development whilst not actively decoding. Pupils are skilfully taught the key comprehension skills whilst sharing stories; this is achieved through questioning and story/text analysis.
See the key comprehension components below:
Predication – Pupils are given the opportunity to predict what the story might be about and comment about might happen in the story.
Questioning – Pupils can generate their own questions about a text to check their understanding. The expert teacher will also ask questions to ascertain pupils understanding of sections of the text.
Clarifying – Pupils can identify areas of uncertainty and can ask the teacher questions to clarify their understanding of what they have heard read. This opportunity will support and clarify meaning of the text; this could be at the word/phrase or sentence level.
Summarising – Teachers will provide opportunities for children to describe the meaning of the text and recall story events.
Activating Prior Knowledge – Pupils can make links to other texts read. This helps pupils to infer, elaborate or ask questions to fill in missing or incomplete information.
Once pupils become fluent at decoding then they can balance the skills of word recognition (automatic decoding) and comprehension.