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Reading

At Lark Rise Academy we value the role that reading plays in a child's education and, indeed, as a key life skill that will prepare them for future endeavours.

 

Our English curriculum is book-based. We recognise the importance that children read whole books, not just extracts and therefore every half term each Key Stage study a carefully selected Key Text. Each text is chosen to engage, challenge and unlock a love of reading. It works! We find that the children are eager to find out the next part of the story and often find ourselves (staff and children) discussing the plot and characters at break times too. It is exciting to have all three classes in the key stage engaged with the same book at the same time and often hear cries of  “Don’t tell us what happens!” if one class reads ahead. You can see these texts on our Reading Roadmaps. 

 

Fiction texts are carefully interwoven with non-fiction texts and poetry so that each half term all three types of texts are explored. Poems have been chosen in several ways: Links are made to the key text if relevant, therefore the William Blake poems ‘The Tyger’ and ‘The Schoolboy’ slot in seamlessly alongside ‘Skellig’ by David Almond in years 5 and 6. There are also poems that are chosen for their cross-curricular links; in KS1 the children read ‘At the Sea-Side’ by Robert Louis Stevenson in their English lessons whilst their History learning has them explore ‘Seasides: Holidays in the past’. We have also taken care to include those poems that we feel no child should leave primary school without reading such as ‘The Jabberwocky’, ‘If’ and ‘The places you’ll go’! 

 

Books have also been organised to make the most of cross curricular links. In KS1 children read a fabulous version of ‘The Great Fire of London’ by  Emma Adams. This is explored alongside the learning they have on the same topic in History. In KS2 ‘Stig of the Dump’ is read as preparation for the study of The Stone Age.

 

Summer Reading Challenges are an additional way we promote reading at home and children are asked to read a set text over the Summer holidays and complete some activities in reward for lots of house points. These books lead into some further learning in Autumn 1 and are often linked to the ensuing texts in some way. For example, ‘The Boy at the Back of the Class' is read over the Summer for year 4 and 5 in preparation for ‘Journey to Jo’burg’ in Autumn of Year A in UKS2. This lends itself to valuable discussions about discrimination and revisits children’s earlier studies of work on refugees in LKS2 where children read  ‘Escape From Pompeii’ by Christina Balit and explore ‘Who are Refugees and Migrants? What Makes People Leave their Homes? And Other Big Questions’ By Michael Rosen & Annemarie Young. This topic is explored using many texts including the picture book: ‘The Migrants’ by Issa Watanbe and poetry about migration by Michael Rosen.

 

Shakespeare is first introduced to the children in year 3 and ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is a huge hit! This leads into the study of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘Macbeth’ in years 5 and 6. We are passionate about teaching the classics alongside modern fiction to broaden their experience. A constant supply of exciting new authors means our curriculum is always under review to ensure that the best possible texts are chosen for our children.

 

The structure of reading sessions has been carefully developed to ensure that all children get the most practice during the session. Children are taught in whole class groups, this means all children are immersed in the same high-quality literature at the same time and are all part of the discussions these texts promote. It is essential that less confident readers are exposed to the high-quality reasoning of more confident readers. Sessions begin with a pre-teach of some key vocabulary that the children will need in order to access the text. Then the text is Echo Read. This means that the teacher reads the text in small chunks of meaning and the children echo them as a whole group, carefully matching the teacher’s intonation and speed. This is an effective way of increasing children’s fluency and confidence with reading. After the text has been read, children are questioned using our Reading VIPERSS (Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Retrieval, Sequence and Summarise).

 

Whole school displays emphasise the love we have for reading – staff and children. Our Reading Robot is an important member of the Lark Rise team; he is a vending machine of books and children are chosen each half term to use a token to ‘buy’ a book to keep. Books are valued and we want to teach our children something new with every book they read in order to equip them to be independent thinkers, to argue their point using evidence from the text and, most importantly, to take pleasure in what they are reading.