Orchard Park Primary School is a reading community, with books and a passion for literature at its centre, just as the school library sits in the heart of our building. From our pupils’ first days at school, they are immersed in a vocabulary-rich environment and the way is paved for them to become lifelong readers. Our school community is diverse, with pupils bringing experiences and stories from a wide range of backgrounds, and so we encourage children to explore a wide range of reading material and share this with their families.
Children will be taught the essential skills for reading explicitly, and will develop these skills as they progress from EYFS to KS1 to KS2. In the Early Years children will be taught to decode using ‘Letters and Sounds’ and read books that are closely linked to their phonological awareness. All children will be exposed to a range of high quality texts and encouraged to demonstrate their understanding of these. Our pupils will competently use retrieval, inference and application skills to a high standard when reading age-appropriate texts.
As we believe that reading is an essential life skill, and a gateway to all other aspects of the curriculum, children will be supported at each stage of their reading journey. We will ensure that all children, regardless of socio-economic background, have the chance to read widely through borrowing the latest and most popular children’s books from our school library. In addition, we will provide all pupils with the opportunity to choose and acquire books of their own. Children are encouraged to develop their own opinions and taste in books from the outset. As they progress through the school, they will be prompted to follow their passions, research, and debate through the medium of books. By reading widely, pupils at Orchard Park will have the opportunity to develop empathy and a deeper understanding of the world. The reading curriculum allows children to strengthen their knowledge by drawing links with other areas of the curriculum.
Reading is a key tool for life and so teaching children to become fluent and competent readers is a large and exciting part of what we do at Orchard Park. We provide plentiful and varied opportunities for reading a wide range of materials.
In EYFS, children are introduced to a range of stories, including traditional tales, nursery rhymes and picture books. Nursery pupils take home their own reading book, with no words, to introduce them to the concept of sharing books with family members, in preparation for Reception. The importance of reading at home is emphasised from the outset, with regular ‘Stay and Read’ sessions being held throughout the year, as well as a reading workshop for new parents in September. Children learn to read by using phonics, following the Letters and Sounds scheme of work. Guided reading sessions are delivered daily from Autumn 2 in the Reception year, using phonetically decodable book banded texts, which are accurately matched to the pupils’ knowledge of phonics. The children also access a range of activities, including CVC word and picture matching to develop decoding and fluency skills.
Developing readers are assessed at least half termly using the PM Benchmarking kit, ensuring that all children are consistently making swift progress, and accessing challenging texts. Pupils have the opportunity to read in a guided group at least twice per week and can borrow an accurately levelled text, as well as any other book from the library A focus on developing the skills required to become an effective reader is at the heart of our whole class approach to the teaching of reading. EYFS children are exposed to a range of texts during a daily whole class story session where the teacher will ask a variety of comprehension questions. Reading is taught explicitly, for forty-five minutes each day (thirty minutes in EYFS and Year 1) using an age-appropriate, high quality text. Teachers play an active role in researching the latest titles to enrich children’s experiences of a wide range of literature. Lessons follow a structure which allows adequate provision for each reading domain: vocabulary, retrieval, inference and application of knowledge and understanding. Modelling of skills and high level questioning prompts quality discussion and allows all children, regardless of ability to engage in a dialogue conducive to learning.
Our whole school reading challenge (four times per week) is encouraged and celebrated throughout the school. Each classroom has a reading display to track the successes of our pupils in completing this challenge, and children are rewarded each term for their efforts. Members of the school community share book recommendations during assemblies and celebrate the variety of reading material we have to offer. Every class has a class novel which is shared at the end of each school day to ensure that children have the opportunity to be read with and read to.
Children leave Orchard Park with a sense of belonging to a reading community, where they have the confidence and skills to make decisions, self-evaluate, make connections and become lifelong readers. They are competent readers who can read fluently, with confidence and have a thirst for reading widely, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education. We believe that a secure basis in reading skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
Pupils’ books demonstrate a firm grasp on reading skills: retrieval, inference and application of knowledge and understanding. Pupils achieve well in formal assessments, in line with national averages and exhibit the necessary requirements to pursue their interests. at a given time.