At Aylward, we are determined that every pupil will learn to read and develop a life-long love of reading. We do this by prioritising reading and promoting books in as many ways as possible. As a school, we are always thinking of new ways to encourage the children to pick up a book and read.
In Reception and Year 1, phonics is taught systematically, using the Read, Write, Inc (RWI) programme. RWI is lively and challenging. It ensures that children learn to read quickly and that they enjoy reading right from the start. There are also intervention phonics groups in Key Stage 2 to support those who need extra help with their reading and writing. All of the children on the RWI programme take home RWI ‘book bag’ books which closely match the sounds/phonemes they are learning in school. By reading and re-reading these books at home, the children are able to practise and re-enforce what they have been taught at school.
From Year 2 upwards, the children have daily lessons which focus on comprehension skills. During the lessons, they develop a range of skills including discussing word choice, unlocking the meaning of whole texts and critical appreciation. In KS2 Reading is taught using the Destination Reader framework, which ensures a wide range of skills are taught explicitly. This framework involves using quality, whole-class texts that promote a love of Reading while also ensuring that our pupils have the skills necessary to access and understand a wide range of texts.
Workshops are run to help parents support their child’s reading development. At these workshops, parents find out about how Reading is taught and promoted at school, as well as how they can support their children at home.
When children have reached the end of the RWI programme, they will take a colour-banded book home to read. These book bands are selected based on the child’s word-reading and comprehension level, and pupils are listened to read regularly.
At Aylward, pupils across all year groups have access to an online reading and comprehension program called Bug Club. Through this website, pupils are assigned levelled books which match the difficulty of the banded book they read at school and at home. When children read books on Bug Club, they are tested with a range of comprehension questions. By answering questions correctly, the children earn ‘coins’ which can be used on the website to play different games. Our pupils enjoy this program and have been encouraged to read frequently as a result.
Every day, teachers read from a quality text to their class, which forms our daily story time. These texts are carefully chosen to inspire and engage pupils and promote reading for pleasure.
During English lessons, teachers read a wide variety of text types with the children: fiction, non-fiction, short stories, reports, diaries, poems etc. This ensures that pupils are continually exposed to quality texts and are given plenty of opportunities to read a variety of text-types and styles. Often, books related to topics the children are learning about in Learning Enquiry or Science, are used to inspire pupils’ writing.
Teachers also regularly use ‘blue project box’ books, to help broaden the children’s knowledge of topics and to develop research skills. These are books provided by the Harrow Library Service.
At Aylward, we have a beautiful, organised and well-stocked school library. Once a week, each class visits the library to take out books. During their time in the library, the children listen to their class teacher reading a story while they select books in groups. Our library books have been grouped into bands, which helps the children to select an accessible text for themselves. In addition, the children use their ‘bookmarks’ to look for recommended texts and to check whether their book is right for them. The bookmark has a series of questions and prompts to help children think about their book selection. We provide an ‘Open Library’ time before school, every Tuesday, for children to enjoy reading with their parents. These sessions are run by our ‘mini-librarians’.
At Aylward, we have enjoyed a range of author visits and workshops, including visits from Stewart Ross, John Dougherty and the young author H.G. Sansostri. Our pupils always enjoy meeting authors and are often inspired to write their own stories afterwards.
Alongside this, we run a range of events to promote reading across the school each year. In KS1 we have a ‘Bedtime Stories’ event and in KS2 there is the ‘Book Cinema’, both of which are very popular among the children. Various competitions are run, including ‘extreme reading’, and we hold events for World Book Day each year. We also take part in the Junior Book Award.
Additionally, each term parents are invited into their children’s classrooms for a ‘Family Reading Morning’ where they share stories together.