Our Approach to Reading

At Bromesberrow we acknowledge that when our children arrive in full-time school, they bring with them a wealth of pre-school experiences. They have been developing their language skills through talking about everyday activities; sharing favourite stories and books; using their imagination in role play; noticing letters on road signs; recognising shops or restaurants by their logos. These are just a few experiences which serve to provide a firm foundation for children learning to read, giving them an understanding that print contains a message; that pictures are story-telling clues; that we move along a line of text from left to right.

Marie Clay describes reading as ‘… a message-getting, problem-solving activity.’ From the moment a child starts at Bromesberrow School, we start to build on the experiences and skills they already own, equipping them for this ‘message-getting, problem-solving’ process.

Class 1

When children begin their time in Preschool they learn through play and a langusge rich environment, which focuses on rhyme, storytelling and differentiating sounds in the spoken word. This early knowledge is a fundamental precurser to learning their letters and sounds and beginning to piece these together to form words. In Reception, they are taught a phonics based approach (following Jolly phonics and Letters and Sounds programmes), as they learn to 'sound out' letters. This leads to being able to break down (or segment) an unknown word by sounding out each letter and then 'blending' the sounds together (eg c-a-t  cat). Phonics sessions happen daily, usually in the morning.

The first books the children bring home are wordless picture books, which encourage the children to tell the story in their own words and to understand what might be happening, then predict what might happen next. They then move onto books which contain CVC (Consonant-Vowel-Consonant) words to practise segmenting and blending. Children take home books and we encourage parents to listen to their children as often as possible. E-books are also allocated to the children using our Active Learn platform and Bug Club approach, so that reading in school can continue at home. We endeavour to listen to Reception children read three times a week in school. They also take home a 'tricky word' card (words which need to be read without sounding out – eg come, said), continuing words from the list of 100 High Frequency Words.

Daily phonics teaching continues into Year 1 and each child receives 'tricky word' cards to practise. Again we encourage parents to listen to their child as often as possible and we aim to listen to children twice weekly. 

The Class 1 setting is a word-rich environment with High Frequency Words on display, as well as words related to the current topic. Word mats are provided as an aid for group work. 

Guided reading, where a group reads copies of the same book supported by an adult, takes place with Year 1 children regularly. 

Class 2

In Class 2 we reinforce and build on the phonic knowledge the children acquired during their time in Class 1 and further support their growth as independent readers. A range of strategies are taught to enable the children to find and fix problems for themselves, as they read. The children are trained to cross-check information sources to ensure their word attempts look right, sound right and make sense.

The children are offered many opportunities to read from a range of fiction and non-fiction texts. They are taught to identify and use different features within these texts (eg contents, glossary and index pages). Children have regular opportunities to read, for enjoyment, in guided reading groups and aloud to an adult. Active Learn is again available for use to support reading using technology to motivate and engage. Interactive displays, topic books, and cross-curricular activities all help to create an environment which permanently promotes reading.

The importance of reading for sense is emphasised in all reading activities. We challenge the tendency to see reading as a race through the book boxes, in order to get to the highest level/ thickest book. Thoughtful book choices are actively encouraged, where the children learn to select a book which is just right for them (ie where they are able to read roughly 9/10 words correctly). There is good range of books in the school, to help cater for various interests.

When reading aloud, we aim for fluency and expression to hold the listener’s interest. The children practise using a ‘talking voice’ as they read aloud. We are very grateful for our parent volunteers who give up their time to help support the children with their reading in school.

We continue to underline the value of reading at home, as a way to reinforce what is being learned in school.

Class 3

In Class 3, we still employ the above teaching approaches and build on everything the children have learned so far, further eliminating any confusions or individual weaknesses.

As we move up the school there is more of an emphasis on whole class text level work, focusing more upon the higher order skills of comprehension, inference and deduction. Decoding strategies are still being developed and the children are encouraged to use known syllables or known words within longer, unknown words, in order to decode them.

Literacy lessons are often book-based, inspiring children to read a wider variety of more challenging texts, interacting with them at a deeper level.

Class 3 also have regular guided reading sessions, as well as providing children with time to read alone for pleasure. The school iPads allow further opportunities for reading and e-books form a significant part of the Class 3's reading diet.

Whole School Assessment Procedures:

Across the school, we measure progress and attainment using a breakdown of the National Curriculum 2014 Age Related objectives, in conjunction with Rising Stars Comprehension materials. These assessment procedures are used for formative and diagnostic purposes.

Whole School Interventions:

The school uses various interventions to support children with their reading. One of these is a programme called called Dancing Bears. It is used to support children in Key Stages 1 and 2, who have been identified as struggling to take off with their reading. Teachers and teaching assistants are trained to deliver this special needs provision in a one-to-one setting, several times a week. Another approach used to support children to develop their high frequency word recognition, is precision teaching.

1:1 support from a Reading Recovery Teacher supports our early readers and small group boosters (run by a qualified teacher) aid comprehension and fluency as the children progress throughout the school.

The Rapid Reading resources are also employed in Key Stage 2, alongside a range of word recognition games, which serve to address any individual needs.

Reading Schemes

Bug Club phonics, Oxford Reading Tree and Story World are our main reading resources, however we have a range of books from other publishers. We believe it is important that children read a variety of books using phonics and sight word based approaches, to gain the skills of a successful reader, equipped with different strategies to read.


Ofsted Comments

"In this small school, with mixed age classes, each pupil is known individually and their personal needs are catered for well."

January 2014

What Others Say

"I am so pleased I chose this school!  The school is led with energy and passion."