A main aim for our Grasmere reading curriculum is to make sure that children read to learn. To enable this, our reading programs ensure that decoding and comprehension skills are at the heart of what we teach. We know that both skills need to be embedded before we can say that a child is a secure reader.

In Reception and Year 1, our main focus is on teaching children to read through a systematic phonics program called Sounds Write.

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The idea behind this program is that children see, hear and say phonic sounds within the context of words. Reading books that are sent home are linked to the sounds learnt in school. There is clear progression in both classes, with lesson units mapped out in detail. Reception learn the Initial code whilst Year 1 learn the Extended code. From Spring term 2022, Year 1 will also have Daily Supported Reading lessons that aim to build on the children’s understanding and comprehension of texts.

Daily Supported Reading Programme (DSR) – Year 1 | Hackney Services for Schools

In Nursery, there is a focus on developing phonological awareness. They begin to learn initial sounds and the sounds that make up their name. They identify initial sounds of objects too and engage in hands on experiences to facilitate their learning. This gives them a good grounding for when they join the Reception class and have more formal phonics lessons. In Year 2, more emphasis is placed on understanding what has been read. We use the Big Read program where children hear and read high quality texts as a class and with a partner. Key questions are asked to ensure that children pick up on key points throughout the text. They also build skills such as clarifying and inference. It’s a great way to get the children thinking about their reading. It also helps develop their vocabulary as they are exposed to a variety of texts and language.

In Key Stage 2 we use a program called Destination Reader. The emphasis is on using high quality books to build the reading skills of summarising, clarifying, predicting, inference, questioning and evaluating. The teacher makes these reading skills explicit and models how to use them. Talk Partners and good learning behaviours are also key components of Destination Reader thereby producing a collaborative reading atmosphere in the classroom.

Destination Reader (per school) | Hackney Services for Schools

Another aim for reading at Grasmere is that we want everyone to enjoy the reading experience. We believe that if children read for enjoyment they are more likely to want to engage in reading activities. Children have opportunities to read a variety of books from a range of genres. Whether it be in our well stocked library or in their own classrooms, children have access to age appropriate and interesting reading material.

Paired reading takes place weekly whereby older children read with younger children. This a fantastic opportunity for the older children to act as reading role models for their EYFS and KS1 peers.

We recently received books through an initiative called Reading for Change that is aiming to get more diverse books into schools. Each class were given books for their book corner to make sure that children in each class see themselves reflected in the books we provide. This is something we aim to build on as the school explores the themes of equity, equality and diversity.

With quality first teaching and the reading programs that we offer we ensure that children leave Grasmere with a high reading standard. For those children that need extra help we provide well thought out interventions such as Project Reader which targets support for under-achieving black and Turkish/Kurdish children in Year 2. We also have a highly trained Teaching Assistant who gives support to KS2 children who are showing signs of dyslexia.

A clear articulation of the reading offer demonstrates a wealth of provision. Reading enjoys a consistently high profile at the school.

As Covid restrictions ease we hope to extend our reading offer. For example, inviting more authors into school. Also, having a re-launch of our ‘read together’ sessions. This is an initiative where any parent or carer can come to the school at a set time every week to read with their child or a small group of children.

We look forward to all the exciting reading adventures ahead!

Our reading lead is Lena. Please speak to her if you require further information.

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