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Reading for pleasure

This term our priority in school is to review, explore and further develop our approach to reading, especially our approach to 'reading for pleasure'. In this article I will share some of our plans, the ideas from our Young Governors and some helpful tips for reading at home.

This term we have a big focus on reading. We have always believed that reading is the most important skill for children to learn as without this vital skill children find it enormously difficult to access all other areas of the curriculum. 

In school, we will be really looking at how we create a culture where reading for pleasure is integral in our curriculum and sharing how this can be mirrored at home. We believe this starts with the adults modelling their love for reading and sharing their enthusiasm for a great book.

We will also be looking at our systems and strategies in place to support the development of reading and this includes ‘paired reading’. I managed to persuade Miss Long to let me add the video below to this blog to show how paired reading works. In this example, Miss Long is reading alongside the child to simultaneously model fluency and other reading strategies. When the child is ready he or she can use a signal to say they are ready to continue reading alone. The adult should then jump back in to support with tricky words as appropriate. This can also be done with older children supporting younger children. This strategy is proven to rapidly improve reading fluency and understanding and could easily be replicated at home.

 

As part of our focus on reading we will be ensuring that children’s Reading Diaries are used effectively at home and in school to help achieve our goal of every child reading 6 times every week. We are going to elevate the focus on our Reading Challenge competition by creating a display in the hall and, perhaps, sharing this in the newsletter. We are also going to set up competitions and invite children to share the photos of them reading in wacky or extreme places. Look out for photos of our staff sharing theirs, too!

This week I asked the Young Governors what they would like to do to encourage children to read and they said:

  • Opening the library for children at lunchtime
  • Better books in the classrooms
  • More reading for fun (not just for answering questions in your book)
  • Introduce the ‘one-minute review’ (where a child gives a one-minute review of a review for a video and/or the newsletter)
  • Improve the selection of books / more popular authors (like David Walliams)
  • Reader of the week
  • Extreme Reading (for example, photos of children reading in extreme places)
  • Improve the tidiness of the library
  • Mr Woodford to give books out as prizes (for good effort in reading – and maybe other areas, too)
  • Classes receive a book prize for winning the ‘Reading Challenge’ award 

Any of our teachers would be happy to talk about what we do to help teach your children to read and, of course, we are always open to suggestions, too!

Happy reading!

Pearson's Top 10 tips to help children enjoy reading at home

1. Make books a part of family life – Always have books around at home. That way you and your children are ready to get reading, even if it’s only for ten minutes.

2. Join your local library – Get your child a library card. They’ll be able to get their hands on hundreds of fantastic books, as well as the latest video games, blu-rays and DVDs. Let them choose what they want to read to help them develop their own interests.

3. Read about something they’re interested in – Help your child find the right book for them. It doesn’t matter if it’s fiction, poetry, comic books or non-fiction.

4. All reading is good – Don’t rule out non-fiction, comics, graphic novels, magazines or leaflets. Reading is reading and it’s all worthwhile.

5. Get comfortable! – Snuggle up together somewhere warm and cosy, whether it’s in bed, on a beanbag or on the sofa. And make sure your child has somewhere comfy to read on their own too.

6. Ask questions – To keep them interested in the story, ask your child questions as you read. Start with ‘Where did we get to last time?’, ‘Can you remember what’s happened so far?’ and ‘What do you think will happen next?’. 

7. Read whenever you get the chance – Have a book or magazine with you for any time your child has to wait, like at the doctor’s or the dentist. 

8. Read favourites again and again – Encourage your child to re-read the books and poems they love. Re-reading helps to build fluency and confidence.

9. Enjoy bedtime stories – Read with your kids at bedtime as often as you can. It’s a great way to end the day and to spend valuable time with them.

10. Make the most of rhyme and repetition – Books and poems with rhymes and repeated words or phrases are great for getting your kids to join in and remember the words.

Pearson’s top tips can be found here.

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