English : Reading
At Handcross, we just love reading and writing!
During the school day, children may read in small groups or 1-to-1 with an adult, with a peer, as a whole class or even as a whole key-stage during one of our "author assemblies". They may listen to audio CDs of favourite books and enjoy 'story time' with their teacher. Whatever the reading activity, we place a strong emphasis on high quality 'book talk' whereby all children are able to discuss and unpick carefully chosen, high quality texts. We expose children to a wide range of texts, styles and genres, including stories, non-fiction and poetry and both classic and contemporary texts. We use a variety of reading schemes and books linked to current interests and topics to support the children's reading development. We believe that, at all levels, good quality reading is invaluable for good quality writing!
A special message from Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet!
Home Learning Ideas
Places to read, watch or listen to stories online
Our 'Ladybird Library' opened in 2019. We have a wealth of exciting, engaging books for children to look at and enjoy, including books linked to every topic taught across the school. Children love their visits to Ladybirds, sharing books with friends and borrowing them to read at home! The library also provides a calm, quiet space for group work.
We love exploring the library!
PHONICS : Read, Write, Inc.
We follow the Read Write Inc. programme to teach phonics, reading and spelling in the early stages. It can also be used for children in older year groups who have difficulties in learning the basic skills of reading and spelling.
Read Write Inc. is widely used in many schools and has proved to be hugely successful in getting children to read and write quickly and easily. The programme is taught daily in a very lively, highly interactive manner and children enjoy their sessions. They are taught in small groups, closely matched in ability, and make very good progress. The children are continually assessed so that as soon as they have outgrown one group, they move on to the next.
Parents are kept up-to-date with the sounds their child is learning in phonics via a weekly homework sheet. We also send home a letter each time a child moves up group so that parents are aware of the sounds that their child is already confident with (and will continue to revise) and those they will be learning next.
To learn more about how to pronounce each of the sounds taught as part of the Read, Write, Inc. programme, please watch the videos below:
Many of our 'take home' books in classrooms and in Ladybird Library are compatible with the Accelerated reader programme used within school. We use the programme to assess the children's reading age and zone of proximal development to ensure that children have access to the most appropriate books to support and challenge them. When the children have read the books, they can use an iPad to complete comprehension quizzes to ensure clear understanding of the text. The children love to monitor their progress and earn points!
Lexia Reading is an intervention programme to help children who have gaps in their reading development and with their ability to comprehend texts. Lexia sessions are delivered in small groups by trained staff. As part of their individual Lexia programme, children use an iPad to practice key skills and then have targeted sessions with an adult.
Special Events and Rewards
To celebrate our love of reading and to emphasise how important it is, children are rewarded for consistently reading at home. We also plan special events throughout the year to promote a love of reading. These include World Book Day celebrations, book fairs and after-school events like "Stories and Snuggles" in which children share books and a mug of hot chocolate with family, friends and teachers. We also organise visits and workshops with inspirational children's authors, such as M.P.Robertson, Vashti Hardy, Miriam Moss and Maria Farrer.
Celebrating World Book Day! "Stories and Snuggles" with Miss Ralph
We always love it when it's Book Fair time! A visit from the wonderful author of 'Brightstorm', Vashti Hardy
Reading at Home
We have an array of books that children may borrow to read at home, including a variety of styles and genres to ensure breadth of reading.
Confident, competent readers may take home free choice books from the classroom and library selections as well as an Accelerated Reader book that they can 'quiz' themselves on when they have finished.
Emerging readers take home a book matched to their phonic ability. Phonics group colour and book band colour align so when children move up a phonics group, they move up a book band (or vice versa). Colour banded books contain the sounds that the child has learnt and / or is currently learning. Lengths of texts and complexity of sounds increase as children progress. Children should be able to read their colour banded book fairly independently and with fluency and accuracy; their confidence and motivation for reading should blossom!
Children are also encouraged to take home a gold 'sharing' book. This is a free choice text which is not linked to their phonic level but is something that they would like to look at, read or share with people at home. When they are ready, they may also read Accelerated Reader books.
Yellow reading records are used for parents and children to record what they have read and their thoughts and feelings about it. These records helps us to celebrate reading and make recommendations and suggestions to the children.