Our English curriculum ensures that both decoding skills (reading words fluently) and comprehension skills are well established, embedded and balanced in line with National Curriculum expectations. We want all our children to develop the skills that they need to choose to become lifelong readers.
To do this, the children must know what reading involves and what experienced readers do so we explicitly and rigorously teach comprehension to develop a deeper level of understanding in all pupils. We do this through a process of modelled, shared and guided reading.
Modelled and Shared Reading
Modelled and shared reading enables the children to be active readers – this means that the voice inside the reader’s head is active in the moment of reading. The teacher models this voice while reading one text to engage all pupils and develop all areas of comprehension together.
The children share their responses. They give their feelings, opinions and ideas and refer to the text to support them. These are then extended and developed through class discussion as the children build on each other’s thinking and talking.
Teachers prepare a series of questions specifically for the text using the Key Stage 1 or Key Stage 2 reading domains and question stems. This ensures balance, rigour and high expectations in the comprehension skills that the children are learning and applying. These are also targeted in line with on going assessment of the children’s learning in lessons and with termly PIRA assessment question type analysis.
During guided reading sessions, all children are in a group that is led by the class teacher. The children work in ability groups and have one session each week in which they apply the strategies that they have learnt in Modelled and Shared Reading to a new text with more independence.
We use Collins Big Cat books to match the books to the ability of the children and to evidence the child as a reader against year group expectations.
A three-step approach is used.
In step one, the children get to know the text. They decode and re-read it to ensure that they remember and understand the sequence of events and can talk about their first responses to it.
Step 2 is a high quality, focussed discussion with the class teacher. The children use and refer to the text to deepen comprehension. The focus is chosen from the Key Stage reading domains and question stems and planned specifically for the text.
In step 3, the children record their responses. This ensures that year group expectations are being met. This evidence is built up throughout the year and class teachers use it to identify and address any gaps or weaknesses. These are then addressed through the planning of subsequent Guided Reading sessions.
At St Paul’s, we use Accelerated Reader in Key Stage 2. This programme allows all children to select a book to read from a wide range of ‘real’ books. It also allows us to ensure that the children are understanding the books that they are reading, building fluency and stamina and making progress throughout the year.
In September and at the beginning of each half term, the children complete a Star Test.
The result of the Star Test sets each child’s individual target in terms of the amount that they are reading for the half term. It also sets each child’s individual ZDP range. Children use their ZDP range bookmarks and last quiz result to choose books to ensure that their book choice is always of the appropriate difficulty to keep their comprehension score above 80%.
Children who get to 100% of their target and keep their comprehension above 80% will receive a certificate in assembly at the end of each half term.
Accelerated Reader sessions in class are part of the weekly reading timetable alongside Guided Reading.
Throughout each term, the assessment of reading is ongoing through the use of the reading domains and question stems in Modelled and Shared and Guided Reading, the continuous assessment of Accelerated Reader and speaking and listening and writing tasks completed in English lessons in response to the class text.
Reading assessment papers (PIRA) are completed in the autumn, spring and summer terms. These provide a standardised score, age standardised score and reading age for each child and are analysed for attainment and progress. Class teachers then target whole class or group support so that year group expectations are met.
At the end of each term, all this evidence is collated and teachers make a judgement of each child’s standard of reading against the year group statements. These are carefully broken down into working towards, age related and greater depth sections so that each child can progress through them during the year.