Teachers encourage pupils to read high-quality literature across a wide range of authors.
At Down Ampney, our aim is that all children will learn to read, regardless of their background, needs or abilities.
We aim to instil a love of reading in all children by sharing a wide range of books and ensuring children become fluent, skilled and attentive readers. Reading widely feeds children’s imagination, their vocabulary and knowledge of the world and develops their understanding and use of spoken language.
Phonics, which begins in Reception helps to build communication and language skills and gives children the skills to decode and blend to read and spell. Continued engagement with books and reading helps children to learn to read fluently, independently, critically and widely and allows them to access all areas of the curriculum.
We support parents and carers in Reception by sending home videos sharing best practice strategies to support children in blending to read.
Developing reading throughout the school
The principles of phonics continue throughout the school, in all year groups.
In Reception and Key Stage 1, children have daily Sounds-Write phonics lessons to practise reading and writing and all children have decodable phonics books matched to their recently taught letter-sound correspondences, which they read in school and take home, once fluent. Pupils continue to read books in a progressive sequence until they can decode unfamiliar words confidently.
In Key Stage 2, as well as revisiting previously taught sounds within spelling lessons, children also apply their knowledge of decoding to analyse patterns in words through their etymology and morphology.
Children may continue to fill gaps in decoding and blending throughout Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.
At Down Ampney, as well as decodable phonics readers, once a child has secured their basic knowledge in the extended code in phonics, they take home a reading book which has been chosen following an “Accelerated Reader” assessment to match their level of understanding. When children have read their book, they take an online quiz to check their understanding and comprehension and aim to score 85% or above. Parents and teachers can monitor these results and provide encouragement and guidance. Children can then choose a new book from our new school library, having a free choice of both fiction and non-fiction within their ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development).
All classes have daily Guided Reading sessions, either focussed in small groups, or whole class. Through these dedicated reading sessions, children will develop increasingly complex responses to a range of questions about their reading, proving and explaining their points using evidence and quotations from the text.
We provide rich opportunities through our Curriculum to talk and listen, using a wide range of contexts. During our daily class story time, we read aloud a range of novels, poetry and picture books, including traditional and modern stories, which are carefully chosen to develop children’s understanding of a wide range of literature, including links to other subject areas and other cultures. Our Reading Spine shows the range of books shared within each class which ensure children also learn about the lives of those whose experiences and perspectives differ from their own. These daily 20 minute sessions are carefully planned to facilitate the teaching of reading; teaching new vocabulary in the context of the story, development of language comprehension and a love of reading. Each class reflects on what they have read through the class reading scrapbook.
Supporting other subjects through reading
Within each class, topic books are carefully chosen to help build a wider understanding of a subject and to expose children to a rich range of vocabulary to use within their work in that subject. We are supported by Cirencester Library and have access to their vast collection of books.
As a school, we provide various enriching opportunities across the year to promote reading for pleasure. Over the last year, we have run a whole school 24 hour Readathon to raise money for our school library, taken part in the Summer Reading Challenge at Cirencester Library, had a visit from the town librarian and been to the Reading Teachers=Reading Pupils author event, with one pupil reading out her work to the 2022 Carnegie Medal winner, Katya Balen.