English ~ Reading

'I spent most Saturdays during my early years at the library, drinking in fairy stories, myths and legends, classics, contemporary stories, fantasy, science-fiction and anything else I could lay my hands on' - Malorie Blackman

At Mount Hawke Academy we are passionate about reading and children's access to books.  We value reading as a key life skill and a way into other worlds. By the time children leave us, our aim is that they are confident selecting and reading a wide range of material and that they enjoy regularly reading for pleasure.

We have an up to date choice of reading material - always involving the children's input.  We belong to Cornwall Schools’ Library Service, so we get a large book exchange from the Library Van every term, and our library is regularly refreshed.  Every classroom has an enticing book area, so the children can select books for reading for pleasure and for finding out more about the world, for escapism, relatable characters and diverse perspectives.  There are shared story sessions for the children; all teachers read, entertain and thrill their classes with whole class reading daily, including sustained 'class stories', non-fiction texts and poetry.

We strive to nurture life-long readers, who take pleasure in searching out new books to read, exploring and discovering through literature.  Our children’s reading experience is much more than the reading book which comes home from school.  Reading is happening all the time in our school. Our environment reflects this too, from class Book Corners to Book Nooks around the school and displays, all celebrating the joy of reading.

Reading is taught in specific reading and English lessons, and our children are practising and using their reading constantly across all subjects too.  Our children’s reading journey begins with ‘learning to read’ and moves on into ‘reading to learn’.  It is almost impossible to overestimate the importance of reading. Without the ability to read, our children cannot access other subjects properly. Reading is empowering and wonderful.

Building on our love of reading, we teach English both as a discrete subject and in a cross curricular way.  Reading Practice Sessions and focused sentence level work may be taught outside the normal English lesson. English is at the heart of curriculum planning so that subject matter from other curriculum areas is available as content or stimulus for speaking, listening, reading and writing. All curriculum areas involve some aspects of English.  We have developed our own Reading Spine for the whole school, selecting books that we know will stimulate, enthral and educate our children, enriching our teaching too.

For information about our approach to Early Reading (Early Years and Key Stage One) please click here.


How we Teach Reading in Key Stage Two

By Key Stage Two, most of our children have acquired the fluency to access a wider variety of reading material. We continue to teach reading comprehension through regular reading lessons.  Teachers explicitly teach higher order reading comprehension skills and our children closely analyse texts for meaning.  Children have the opportunity to practise answering questions verbally before answering them in a written format in their books. This follows the ‘I do, We do, You do’ teaching method.

Over time, our children will read and analyse a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts. Reading lessons include:

  • An element of prosody (reading with feeling)
  • A close look at key vocabulary that children may be unfamiliar with
  • Unpicking the key skill/s  focus/foci for that lesson (vocabulary, inference, prediction, explaining, retrieval, sequencing/summarising, making links)
  • Modelled answering of questions
  • Opportunities to apply reading skills independently
  • Teaching fluency by model reading, echo reading (teacher reads and children read back using the same pace and prosody), choral reading and paired reading

In addition to our explicitly taught reading lessons in Key Stage Two, we also provide our children with:

  • Many opportunities to read for pleasure, including daily times when teachers read children the latest class story
  • Rapid catch up for children for any child who is not a fluent reader or cannot comprehend at at least an age appropriate level
  • Regular, open ended discussions about stories and books
  • Opportunities to read and discuss a wide read of genres including fiction, picture, easy-reads, poetry and non-fiction (including news reports to ensure children are aware of local, national and global issues) to foster a love for reading
  • Books to take home, carefully chosen to match children’s interests and their level of fluency
  • In Years Three and Four, a structured reading book as well as a book for pleasure
  • In Years Five and Six, further support to read a varied diet, often challenging them to read an unfamiliar author or genre

We also have a number of reading enrichment activities, including:

  • Regular visits from St Agnes Library, where children have book talk and are read to by the Children’s Librarian
  • Regular visits to our school library, a great space with a wide variety of regularly updated books
  • Participation in local reading competitions including the Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge
  • Book Fairs - children are timetabled in for browsing sessions
  • Celebrations for World Book Week
  • Reading buddies - teaming up older and younger classes to share favourite books together

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