'Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.'
At Princes Risborough Primary School, our intent is for all children to become confident, fluent readers, who love to read and explore all text types and genres. We aim to provide each child with the skills necessary to become independent readers, who can decode and comprehend texts at an appropriate level. By exposing our children to a wide range of genres, which are rich in vocabulary and content, we provide children with the opportunity to analyse texts, develop their own opinions and identify preferable writing styles. We endeavour to prepare children for their transition to secondary school by ensuring they can access a wide range of texts, thus supporting them to be successful, life-long learners. We aim to challenge each child by delivering an engaging, enriching curriculum which ignites a passion for reading, fosters a love of language and provides an opportunity for imagination to flourish.
In Key Stage Two, all classes have daily whole-class reading lessons. Four of these lessons are based around a novel; one is focused on non-fiction and poetry. In these lessons, comprehension and reading skills are taught, based upon the use of ‘VIPERS’.
In Key Stage One, classes have three reading sessions a week and have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:
· prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
· comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.
In EYFS and Key Stage One, children are taught Phonics daily. This is through a systematic synthetic programme ‘Little Wandle: Letters and Sounds Revised’.
On a weekly basis, each class visits the school library to change their books, explore the range of genres and grow their passion for reading. Each classroom also has a bookshelf of high-quality texts for the children to read.
Every child reads aloud every week, through reading sessions in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, and through a mix of 1:1 reads with an adult and in Guided Reading in Key Stage 2.
We use ‘Little Wandle: Letters and Sounds’ decodable books for both the reading sessions and home reading in Reception and Key Stage 1. Children are assessed every 5 weeks and move through the decodable texts as they progress through the Phonics phases. Once the children have completed Phase 5 Phonics and become confident with decodable texts they move to the Big Cat Collins reading scheme, and begin reading colour banded levelled reading books. The children in Key Stage 1 who move to the colour banded books are assessed each half term using the ‘Big Cat Collins Assessment' tool and work through the levels appropriately. Children who need additional support across the school read a mix of ‘Little Wandle’ decodable books and Big Cat Collins decodable books linked to ‘Little Wandle: Letters and Sounds revised’ Phonics phases.
In Key Stage 2 we use the Big Cat Collins reading scheme to challenge children to read at the most appropriate level; they begin the scheme when they are fluent in Phase 5 Phonics and complete the scheme when they become a fluent free reader. Children are benchmarked using the ‘Big Cat Collins Assessment for Fluency’ tool on a half-termly basis.
Each class has a class novel which the teacher reads every day to expose them to rich vocabulary and sophisticated structures; our aim is to encourage children’s enjoyment of books and to be encouraged to read for pleasure.
Through our PiXL assessments, we are able to identify children’s gaps within their learning and plan lessons accordingly.
Talk 4 Writing English lessons further complement our reading lessons, exposing the children to high-level texts and vocabulary. We also endeavour to enrich children’s reading opportunities across the entire curriculum.
Reading is celebrated through class reading challenges and whole-school events such as World Book Day.
We achieve high outcomes in Reading at the end of both key stages; our children make good progress during their time at PRPS. In addition, children enjoy reading lessons and the skills they learn support their understanding across the rest of the curriculum. Our lessons improve each child’s communication, confidence and vocabulary. We believe that this love of reading stimulates children to become lifelong avid readers.
Reading has been a key priority area of our School Improvement Plan over the last few years and the work in transforming the reading curriculum at PRPS is reflected in our PiXL end of year reading assessments at the end of the academic year 2021. 60% of the whole school cohort achieved Expected standard in their end of year reading assessment, with 30% achieving Greater Depth standard. The Year 6 cohort in July 2021 achieved 68% Expected standard in their PiXL reading assessments and 35% achieved Greater Depth standard. We have high expectations of all pupils and believe that every child should leave PRPS a confident and fluent reader.