At Deer Park School, we ensure that there is both an embedded culture of reading for pleasure and an understanding that we also read to gain knowledge, ideas and inspiration. We ensure that all pupils develop confidence in phonics to enable them to become confident readers and writers. All pupils are taught how to word read with fluency, automaticity and to have developed secure language comprehension skills.
Pupils read and are read to throughout the day and have access to a variety of books in class and in the library that reflect their own realities and also provide windows into other people’s lives and culture. The pupils are exposed to a wide range of texts from non-fiction texts, classic novels, modern fiction, myths and legends, poetry and plays.
We have a curriculum that sets out the high-quality texts which are used throughout school that builds children’s knowledge of literature and their reading ability in a structured way. We study a range of modern and classic fiction. Reading for pleasure is encouraged through the work of the class librarians, shared book reviews, story bags, displays within the library and around school and participation in local book related events. Pupils are taught to read fluently through the systematic synthetic phonics scheme Little Wandle, which is taught with fidelity and consistency. These lessons are daily and revisited during the day to ensure long term retention of the sounds and tricky words. All staff are trained and take reading groups, keep up and catch-up groups and whole class lessons. Reading is taught initially through phonics then through reading skills lesson in Year 2-6. The same format of 3 lessons is utilised in Whole Class Reading lessons across the school to reduce the cognitive load of reading. The first lesson focusses on de-coding and fluency, the next on prosody and the third on comprehension. In these lessons, pupils read together, read in pairs and are read to. Simultaneously, these skills are revisited through diverse, high-quality varied texts in writing lessons. Vocabulary acquisition is support through the explicit teaching in all lessons and the use of Vital Vocabulary for subject specific Tier 3 vocabulary.
The impact of our reading is assessed in a variety of ways across the school.
In Reception and Year 1 Little Wandle assessments are conducted every each 6 weeks. Phonics Screening Check is the final assessment of their fluency in Year 1. Regular reading groups across the school (3 times a week) assess those who need support or are new to English. Little Wandle and Big Cat book assessments are used as and when required to determine the next stage for pupils in KS1.
Star reader tests under taken each term give an approximate guide to the reading level of pupils in Year 3 and above to support their decisions about library books. Pupils take SATS or NTS assessments 3 times a year in year 2-6 to assess the impact of reading skills lessons and language comprehension. These assessments feed into the curriculum reviews and leaders and teachers make any changes necessary to support the pupils.