Reading at Monkwray Junior School
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!
Giving children a window to the wider world is our main aim at Monkwray, and what better way than to give them the skills they need to pick up and understand a good book. Whether it be through fiction; exploring imaginary worlds and gaining access to an extensive range of vocabulary or non-fiction; becoming independent researchers and finding answers to their own questions, fostering a love of reading is one of our top priorities. Throughout our school we have many ways in which we try to encourage children to read and these approaches are working well to develop a love of reading among our children, with more children choosing to read for pleasure than ever before.
We have adopted the whole class approach to the teaching of reading skills across the school. The curriculum objectives are taught in a themed approach throughout the week, using different extracts and exposing children to all genres. Our teachers are then able to assess the children from their work in these lessons and provide the next stages in their reading progression accurately, providing appropriate challenge or support when required.
Children who are working within the phonics stages have daily read, write inc. sessions and read independently with an adult every day as priority readers. This approach means that progression is accelerated and children can access their age-related reading skills sooner.
We endeavour to listen to every child in the school read once weekly. Our children love their opportunity to read with an adult and this is essential to improving their attitudes to reading.
Our Reading Scheme
Children who are working on Read Write Inc take home the book they are studying that week to consolidate their learning as well as a book of their choice to continue to foster their love of reading. Children who have finished Read Write Inc phonics are classed as free readers with lower key stage 2 and upper key stage 2 having separate free reading shelves so that children are reading books at their age appropriate level.
Reading and the children’s Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural education
During our whole class reading lessons each year group covers the following themes through different genres:
Year 3: Notable people, Hearing impairment, Internet Safety, Healthy eating, Indian cultures
Year 4 : Armistice Day, Chinese new year, International Women’s Day, Mental Health, Migration, Notable People and Recycling
Year 5: Brazil, Christmas, Equality, Middle-Eastern countries, Nigeria, Notable People
Year 6: Autism, Civil rights, Critiquing the media, Drugs and alcohol, Muslim culture, Inspirational women, Resilience
As well as the above themes being taught explicitly through reading, teachers plan for SMSC activities and discussions from events in the class reading book.
Class reading books throughout school that have strong opportunities for SMSC learning are:
- A Boy called Christmas
- The Miraculous Tale of Edward Tulane
- The Journey
- The House with Chicken Legs
- Letters from the Lighthouse
- The Nowhere Emporium
- Boy at the Back of the Class
Our Reading for Pleasure School
Individual choice – Once children complete Read Write Inc phonics they are put on to free readers. This means they can choose a book that interests them and that they want to read. This is the first step in maturing as a reader and helps to hook children who haven’t found a love of reading so far. Teachers take an active role in this process, using their expert knowledge of children’s fiction to recommend books that they think a child may like, matched to their interests or challenge level.
The Book Nook – We want the children to see reading as an alternative fun option to do in their free time. What better way to do this than offer them a cosy space to read at their break and lunchtimes? On our school yard we have a ‘Book Nook’ which is an outdoor space dedicated to reading and quiet time during breaks. Following a generous donation from Sellafield Ltd. we were able to purchase many up to date children’s fiction books for children to enjoy while cosying up on a bean bag.
The School Library – Our new and refurbished school library is at the very heart of our school. It has a wide range of uses, from a hub of research and homework at lunchtimes to a vital part of research and reading in class sessions. We have recently invested in a range of non-fiction books that match our curriculum topics. This means children who access the library on their break times can research information relevant to their topic. Teachers are encouraged to plan in library sessions, where possible, to research their topics or to allow the children free reading time.
Class Readers/Story time – Class readers are the class book that we share together each day in class. This book is chosen by class teachers using recommended reading lists and by level of challenge. Teachers chose reading books that the children may not be able to read on their own but will provide with a rich learning opportunity of their ability to understand and enjoy a wider range of fiction. The class reader is read every day and whole class reading lessons on Monday and Friday are based on events in the class reading book. This is to ensure that all children have the opportunity to explore what is happening in the book and demonstrate their understanding.
Library Van – Twice a year the library van visits our school and gives us the perfect opportunity to replenish the fiction/non-fiction on our classroom bookshelves. Each year group is split in half to visit the van so they have space to read and enjoy books once in there. Children also have the opportunity to exchange a book from the last visit for a new one.
Author Visits – Over the last couple of years we have had a range of authors/poets visit us to work with the children. Most recently, we have had a Cumbrian author/riddle writer Taffy Thomas and to the delight of our year 5 pupils, they had the author of their current class reader; ‘The House with Chicken Legs’ Sophie Anderson visit to provide a writing workshop to the class.