The aim for English in the National Curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate
In Years 1 to 6 children access a daily English lesson. This includes all elements of the subject, including Guided Reading, writing, spelling, grammar and comprehension. We use our own long and medium term plans built on a range of high quality texts from different genres.
In the EYFS children work in small focus groups with staff for Guided Reading, and writing. Opportunities for reading and writing are woven into continuous provision activities throughout the Foundation Stage.
At Pike Fold we use Letters and Sounds approach from Nursery to Year 2, which is a systematic, synthetic phonics programme published by the Department of Education. It aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills as well as prepare them for learning to read by developing their phonics knowledge and skills.
Children are grouped into ability phases and given specific phonics tuition in addition to their class-based English lessons, on a regular (Year 2) or daily (Year 1) timetable. In the EYFS phonics is taught in daily 15-20 minute sessions. Regular assessments enable children to make quick progress and move through the phases of phonics.
The Phonics Screening Check was introduced by the Government in 2012 and it is statutory to administer this to Year 1 pupils in June of each academic year. The check is taken individually by pupils and is designed to give information on how children are progressing with their early reading skills. The check consists of 40 words (20 real words and 20 pseudo words) and will take 5-10 minutes to complete. During the check pupils read the words and results are shared with parents at the end of summer term.
At Pike Fold, we want children to choose to read and enjoy it both in and out of school. We use levelled books to ensure structure and progression of skills, in KS1 we are using the Big Cat Collins Reading Scheme and the Accelerated Reader programe for all our pupils in KS2. But we also want children to read a range of books beyond these. Reading for both pleasure and purpose is important and we encourage you to help your children to continuously increase the range and types of books that they choose. Sometimes, in trying different genres (styles) of books, we can discover styles that we were not expecting to enjoy!
As children become more independent readers, they often have favourite authors and parents can worry about this; however, many adults are the same! Reading these for pleasure is valuable so when your child finds an author that they love, allow them to read for pleasure. You can always encourage them to read non-fiction, such as newspapers, at opportune moments to help keep some balance. Equally, help your child to find new series that they may wish to read. Book shops and the staff at local libraries, are often happy to make recommendations and talk about new releases and the internet is packed with extracts and reviews. To engage with your child, if they are reading longer books, ask them to discuss their book, help them with book reviews or even read it yourself and talk in a ‘book club’ way!
The DfE have produced 10 top tops to encourage your child to read (click here):
We’ve brought together a list of ways to help primary-aged children read at home.
1. Encourage your child to read
Reading helps your child’s wellbeing, develops imagination and has educational benefits too. Just a few minutes a day can have a big impact on children of all ages.
2. Read aloud regularly
Try to read to your child every day. It’s a special time to snuggle up and enjoy a story. Stories matter and children love re-reading them and poring over the pictures. Try adding funny voices to bring characters to life.
3. Encourage reading choice
Give children lots of opportunities to read different things in their own time - it doesn’t just have to be books. There’s fiction, non-fiction, poetry, comics, magazines, recipes and much more. Try leaving interesting reading material in different places around the home and see who picks it up.
4. Read together
Choose a favourite time to read together as a family and enjoy it. This might be everyone reading the same book together, reading different things at the same time, or getting your children to read to each other. This time spent reading together can be relaxing for all.
5. Create a comfortable environment
Make a calm, comfortable place for your family to relax and read independently - or together.
6. Make use of your local library
Libraries in England are able to open from 4 July, so visit them when you’re able to and explore all sorts of reading ideas. Local libraries also offer brilliant online materials, including audiobooks and ebooks to borrow. See Libraries Connected for more digital library services and resources.
7. Talk about books
This is a great way to make connections, develop understanding and make reading even more enjoyable. Start by discussing the front cover and talking about what it reveals and suggests the book could be about. Then talk about what you’ve been reading and share ideas. You could discuss something that happened that surprised you, or something new that you found out. You could talk about how the book makes you feel and whether it reminds you of anything.
8. Bring reading to life
You could try cooking a recipe you’ve read together. Would you recommend it to a friend? Alternatively, play a game where you pretend to be the characters in a book, or discuss an interesting article you’ve read.
9. Make reading active
Play games that involve making connections between pictures, objects and words, such as reading about an object and finding similar things in your home. You could organise treasure hunts related to what you’re reading. Try creating your child’s very own book by using photos from your day and adding captions.
10. Engage your child in reading in a way that suits them
You know your child best and you’ll know the best times for your child to read. If they have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) then short, creative activities may be the way to get them most interested. If English is an additional language, encourage reading in a child’s first language, as well as in English. What matters most is that they enjoy it.