Reading Mastery at Acre Heads

At Acre Heads, we want children to establish an appreciation and love of reading at all stages of their learning journey.

We are committed to sharing high quality and vocabulary rich texts across the curriculum so that children develop knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live. We encourage our pupils to discover new information and develop their comprehension skills by reading widely using both fiction and non-fiction texts which (where possible) are linked to themes across the curriculum. We want our pupils to have access to an excellent range of home reading texts and feel enthused by the texts they have read.

By the time our pupils leave Acre Heads, we envisage that they will be competent, fluent readers who can recommend books to their peers, seek out books from a range of different genres, including poetry, and engage in discussion about authorial choices or impact on the reader. Once our pupils have unlocked the key to reading at Acre Heads, it is our intention that they will be able to apply their reading skills in order to access any subject in their secondary education and beyond.

The Teaching of Reading Through a Structured Process

We will support all children to learn to read through clear leadership; consistent teaching and learning approaches; regular monitoring and assessment along with a joint commitment between school and home. Teachers draw upon careful observations and continuous assessment to ensure children are challenged and to identify children who may need additional support. Timely intervention is planned for those children working below expected levels as soon as their needs are identified through additional Read Write Inc. (RWI) sessions in Key Stage One or participating in the Fresh Start programme in Upper Key Stage 2. All children read aloud during phonics or whole class reading. In addition, some pupils may read at least once more per week with a teacher, teaching assistant or reading volunteer; the focus being on the lowest 20%. Furthermore, Pupil Premium children and those pupils not reading regularly at home, have additional opportunities to read aloud.

At Acre Heads, the systematic teaching of phonics has high priority in the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage One. We use a synthetic phonics teaching programme called Read Write Inc. (RWI) Phonics as a basis to teach our pupils to read and write. Pupils usually complete the programme by Year 2; some may even finish towards the end of Year 1. Pupils in Lower Key Stage Two who need extra support with decoding may also follow the programme. Pupils in Upper Key Stage Two follow the Fresh Start programme if they are still struggling to decode and comprehend a text.

Whole Class Guided Reading

Whole class guided reading takes place daily once the children have progressed through RWI. These lessons use a quality, engaging class text that is chosen by the class teacher and if appropriate, linked to the class topic. The guided reading sessions will involve different types of reading activities, class/group discussions, investigating vocabulary and looking at the author’s intentions. This will lead to the children answering a range of appropriate/challenging questions that ensure the teaching of the content domains.

By having a daily guided reading session, children are given time to master skills and the opportunity to apply it independently in their work. Furthermore, children are given time to focus on fluency and expression as a skill when they are reading.

In addition, vocabulary sessions are taught throughout the week. These sessions allow children to be exposed to new vocabulary, which they can then apply to all aspects of their learning. During these sessions, children are encouraged to use a range of skills to learn new and challenging vocabulary: speaking, listening, writing, drawing and drama. We have high expectations for our pupils, so we choose texts which incorporate ambitious vocabulary.

Reading is not only taught throughout reading sessions but is also incorporated into other curriculum areas, such as science, history, geography, art and RE.

Comprehension Friday

In addition to the whole class guided reading, every Friday, the children have access to a quality comprehension task focused on a short piece of text and a focused set of comprehension questions. We have implemented Complete Comprehension from Year 2 to Year 6 with the series breaking down the complex process of reading comprehension into separate skills that closely match the curriculum requirements for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. Each teaching unit targets one comprehension skill, which is introduced through a modelling session and then practised using test-style questions.

Reading Plus

In addition to guided reading and comprehension activities, we have introduced Reading Plus from Year 2 to Year 6. This online reading resources is designed to improve reading speed and comprehension understanding of the different genres whilst giving our children the ability to investigate and question books they want to read. Our children have the opportunity during the school day and at home to access their personalised learning zone to access the different resources with the following areas:

Personalised Guided Practice
In the SeeReader® activity, children read text in the Reading Plus Guided Window™ to improve reading efficiency. The Guided Window moves according to the rate at which the child is currently reading and adapts based on the student’s performance with comprehension questions.

Gradual Release
As children increase their ability to successfully comprehend texts with greater reading efficiency, Reading Plus responds by transitioning them to more traditional reading formats. Text scaffolds are gradually removed in accord of each student’s reading rate. This helps students sustain attention and assists them with transferring the increased efficiency they attain to authentic reading activities.

Student Agency: Choice, Control, and Accountability
Children explore and select age-appropriate texts that excite and motivate them throughout their Reading Plus journey.

Intensive Visual Perception Games
During Scan, students will complete activities that help their eyes move quickly left to right.

Flash is an activity in iBalance that develops the ability to quickly recognize several letters in parallel within a fraction of a second.

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