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We believe that teaching of reading is one of the most vital roles teachers have and at West Didsbury CE it is our mission to ensure every child can read fluently and comprehend what they are reading as early as possible. 

A child’s reading ability is one of the greatest indicators of how successful they will be in later life. Instilling a love of reading opens the door to so many opportunities and interests that will remain with a child for life. 

Below is an overview of how we implement the teaching of reading with each element explained in more detail below. 


How we teach reading

Daily phonics lessons in Reception, Year 1 and if necessary in Year 2- we follow the ‘ELS’ Programme because it is a systematic, synthetic approach, which is recommended as the most effective way for children to learn to read. Phonics learning is revisited throughout the day and connected to all curriculum areas, with the aim for all children to make rapid progress, so they become fluent readers as quickly as possible. During lessons, children are identified to participate in daily 'keep up' sessions for extra practise.

1:1 reading – children who have been identified as our daily readers will have a daily reading activity. This could be 1:1 reading with a particular focus, a phonics activity or a daily activity. This may be carried out with a teacher, teaching assistant or learning support assistant. We will often have parental helpers offering to read with a child. Each parental helper is trained in reading 1:1 with a child.  There activity will depend on their phonic ability and books will be decodable and matched to their secure phonic knowledge. 

Attainment group Guided Reading - Guided Reading sessions are led by the class teacher or teaching assistant and will last 30 minutes. There can be up to 6 children in a Guided Reading group, and they are all reading the same book (range of text types — fiction, non-fiction, play scripts, newspaper etc.).
Year 1 and Year 2 have a guided reading carousel. See the link below for the type of reading activities that the children engage in. This allows opportunities for children to read a variety of different texts such as age appropriate newspapers and magazines, engage in a reading activity or complete a follow up activity based on what they had read the previous day.

Whole class guided reading – Years 4, 5 and 6 have some of their guided reading sessions as whole class. Whole-class reading sessions means that children of all attainment bands are immersed in the same high-quality literature and the discussions that these texts promote. There may be children with additional needs who cannot access whole class texts and will therefore have adapted work with additional adults. Years 5 and 6, use whole class texts and have a weekly sessions on a specific reading skill which is taught discretely. Year 3 and Year 4 use a variety of whole class texts and extracts, focusing on whole class texts towards the summer term.   Year 3 currently use a blended approach with some children receiving whole class guided reading and others having smaller guided reading groups. In the summer term – year 3 will move to all children having a whole class guided reading approach.  Please see the yearly overviews for texts and extracts used in each year group.

Reading Aloud Story Time from the Reading Spine - we would like all children to develop a love of reading and understand which books they enjoy and why. There is a reading spine for reception, year1, year2, year 3, year 4, year 5 and year 6. Within each spine there is a large collection of books which aim to provide depth and breadth to the children’s reading. Please see the Reading Spine year group overviews for details on books listed on the reading spine. 

The read aloud reading spine fiction books - this was developed from Doug Lemov’s work “Reading Reconsidered”. In his book, he points out that there are five types of texts that children should have access to in order to successfully navigate reading with confidence. The idea is that in each year, a child will cover all 5 plagues of reading so that, by the time they reach year 6 and beyond, they have a good understanding of all of them and are able to access more complex books expected of them in secondary schools. The 5 plagues of reading are: Archaaic, Non-linear, Narratively complex, Symbolic/figurative and resistant. At WDCE we have also added an additional category of diverse texts, which feature characters which are traditionally underrepresented in children’s books. They also these reflect and celebrate a wide range of heritages and they include a range of captivating and inclusive stories by creators of colour. 

Classic books from 50+ years ago Books with uncertainties and inference Books with a complicated or un reliable narrator Non-linear books (not in time order) Books with simple plots or informal style Books with a complicated plot or emotional/ethical theme

Books which reflect and celebrate a wide range of heritages and feature characters that are traditionally underrepresented

Cultural Diversity Neuro Diversity Physical Disabilities & Medical Conditions BAME Main Characters Different types of families

Non – Fiction Reading Spine – We have an established wide selection of non-fiction texts per year group, per half term linked to history, geography and science. These books support the development of background knowledge and provide additional reading for those children who enjoy non-fiction texts. These books will support the teaching of specific subject areas, whole class reading, or they could be accessed independently by the children.

Library visit - At WDCE our library is stocked with a high range of high-quality texts and resources. Our resident librarian is font of book knowledge and along with her library monitors helps to run and administer the library effectively. It has attractive displays of books and resources which are rotated throughout the year dependent on topics and current affairs. Each class has a timetabled time to visit the library each week to choose books to read at school or enjoy at home. Story time is often held in the library and children have the opportunities to snuggle up with book.

Recommended Reads –  a list of relevant, up to date books to encourage and reward wider reading for pleasure outside of school

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