BerkswichCE Primary School

Achieve, Believe and Care

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Reading at Berkswich


Fostering a love of reading

As a school, we aim to enable all children to develop a love and appreciation of reading, and to become fluent and confident readers. Furthermore, it is important that we help them recognise that reading is a lifelong skill and one that is essential to access learning throughout their lives.


Evidence suggests that children who read for enjoyment every day, not only develop greater reading skills than those who do not, but also develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that reading for pleasure is more likely to determine whether a child does well at school than their social or economic background.


How is reading tackled in school?


We firmly believe that getting children off to an early start in reading helps them to quickly build up the skills which are needed to expand their knowledge and vocabulary. The two areas which are essential for this are:  


  • Word Reading - good early phonics-based teaching of word-decoding skills to help children to recognise and understand the sounds that letter combinations make and to recognise and decode words. We use the 'Letters and Sounds' document as our primary source for teaching and learning. We also draw from other schemes to promote different characteristics of learning. 'Jolly Phonics' encourages children to learn through fun pictures, songs and actions. 'Big Cat' phonics also enables children to build fluency, recognising tricky words through repetition and handy hints.
  • Comprehension - supporting and encouraging children to engage with reading through book talk and precise, targetted discussion about text. This is tackled through 'Reading Adventure' lessons, writing lessons and across the curriculum.


Being able to decode is not enough on its own: unless children have opportunities for regular practice and experience of reading, they will not build on their decoding skills and become adept readers. 


Competence in both dimensions, decoding and comprehension, is essential for children to read fluently and confidently. However, the balance between word recognition and language comprehension shifts as children acquire secure decoding skills and progress from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn’ for purpose and pleasure.


​Reading Adventures


In Years One to Six , within our 'Reading Adventure' lessons, we use Collins Big Cat books as well as  a broad range of rich, age-related texts.


Reading Adventure lessons occur weekly or twice weekly across KS1 and KS2. Within these lessons, children read and discuss a text in a small group, led by their class teacher or teaching assistant. These sessions allow for directed time to focus on specific skills, such as word reading, phonic use and basic comprehension skills in Key Stage One, and more sophisticated comprehension and higher order reading skills (such as inference and deduction) in Key Stage Two. Children will also take part in independent or adult-directed tasks which link with a text or build on their group activity. This system of structured teaching and regular practise provides children with the tools they need to become confident, motivated and fluent readers.


We have broken down the reading curriculum down into smaller steps, so that we are able to assess progress through 'Reading Adventure' lessons with great precision.


Reading at home


In Year One and Year Two (Key Stage One), we read on an individual basis with the children several times a week, and also provide home readers which are changed regularly. A wide variety of book banded schemes are used including Big Cat, Oxford  Reading Tree, Rigby Star, Alphablocks and Comics for Phonics, to name but a few. These books are decodable, in order for children to apply the phonic knowledge they have learnt, but also encourage children to read fluently by recognising 'tricky words' by sight.


In Year Three to Year Six, home reading books are levelled appropriately and are linked with the Accelerated Reading Programme (please see 'Supporting Learning' on the main site for further details). This exciting system allows pupils to record their progress and demonstrate comprehension of the books read.


We hope that you will be able to support your child’s readingdevelopment and help foster a love of books by regularly reading with your child at home. Please see 'Supporting Learning' for ideas about how to help your child at home.