Opportunities for Reading at Abbotswood
At Abbotswood, we strive to stimulate a love of reading in every child because we know reading is an essential life skill. Each member of staff is determined to help every child develop their reading fluency, their comprehension skills and their vocabulary as well as inspiring a life-long enjoyment of reading.
Developing Early Reading Skills.
In order to help our children develop their reading fluency, we focus on developing strong early reading skills. In Year 3, teachers deliver a phonics programme four times a week. The structure of this programme ensures that the children’s phonic learning from infant school is consolidated and provides an opportunity to address gaps in phonic learning. In each session, children learn a phoneme and grapheme, read words with the focus phoneme and grapheme, write words with the focus phoneme and grapheme, and read Year 3 statutory spelling words. For those children who need additional support with their phonic learning, targeted support in phonic sessions and interventions ensure gaps in learning are addressed as swiftly as possible.
Getting the right book for every child
Early reading skills require children to have access to texts that are matched to their reading age. When children arrive at Abbotswood, they are screened to identify their reading age. Doing so provides staff with an accurate, current picture of their reading attainment. From this, we are able to ensure that they have books that match their reading age. Additionally, the screening process allows us to identify those children whose reading age is behind their chronological age and set them up on our Project X Reading Scheme. The Project X scheme is a high impact programme that provides children with banded books matched to their reading age. These books and Project X reading logs are shared between home and school. Following this assessment, children’s reading frequency and fluency is rigorously tracked to ensure maximum progress.
Fostering a love of reading.
Reading in class
Our curriculum at Abbotswood has reading at its heart. Each half term topic is based around a high quality text called a ‘Rich Read’. Across the half term, English lessons focus on unpicking the rich read by using comprehension skills to look at the characters and plot as well as exploring the vocabulary of the text. This immerses the children into the book which all their learning is centred around. Story time is used to read the rich read with the children. Consequently, reading is an integral part of daily life in class. In addition to the lessons which focus on the rich read, weekly reading lessons are used to teach specific comprehension skills whilst simultaneously exposing the children to a variety of texts, genres and authors.
ERIC stands for ‘Everyone Reading In Class’. This session provides staff with essential time to listen to children read. In doing so, staff have the opportunity to discuss books with children, provide feedback, support children’s fluency and comprehension skills and help our children see themselves as ‘readers’.
The Space Race
Our Space Race is a reading home learning challenge. It encourages our children to read frequently and rewards reading effort. Across the year, the aim is for the children to move through milestones linked to space: planets in Year 3, galaxies in Year 4, constellations in Year 5 and astronauts and scientists in Year 6. When a child reaches a milestone, they are rewarded for their efforts. Every child has a Reading Diary and is tasked with reading three times a week and recording this in their Reading Diary as their home learning. Class teachers look through the Reading Diaries each week and provide regular feedback. Children can see their progress on the class Space Race display.
Abbotswood Reading Challenge
This is an optional reading challenge that is unique to our school. Children who choose to take part are provided with a pack of resources. The Abbotswood Reading Challenge provides children with the opportunity to push their reading further by reading high quality titles from recommended reading lists and complete an activity based on the text. For each milestone that the children reach, they receive a certificate and prize. They are encouraged along the way by our Abbotswood Reading Challenge mascots. Our Librarian oversees this challenge and provides opportunities and resources in school to support pupils in achieving this.
We are extremely fortunate to have our own library and Librarian at Abbotswood. The library is stocked with current, high quality books. Our Librarian is always ready with a recommendation and a suggestion of something new to read. The library is open to children at break and lunch as a place to read, discuss books, or seek advice about their next read. Additionally, every class has a dedicated library slot each week. During this time, children listen to a story and browse and borrow books. Throughout the year, we invite guest readers in to read with our children – in the past this has included Father Christmas, the Year 6 cast of Moana and a Stormtrooper! Across the year we also take part in Hampshire Book Awards; such as, the Hampshire Illustrated Book Awards.
Each half term, our Librarian delivers a box of books that are topic-based to every class. In doing so, our children have the chance to browse and read titles that directly link to the learning of that half term. Our Librarian provides a half termly reading newsletter ‘The Buzz’ with key updates about reading and interviews with staff on their favourite books.
Our pupils are not only keen to read, but value our library. Year 6 children have the opportunity to apply and become Reading Ambassadors. The Reading Ambassadors work with our Librarian to organise the library. They are also on hand to help children with their book choices, show them how to effectively use the library and listen to children read.
Providing access to high quality books
Access to books is vital to foster a love of reading. Our library provides an excellent resource for children to find their next favourite read. To develop a life-long love of reading, we ensure that our children have the chance to find their next reading interest. We host Scholastic Book Fairs twice a year and ensure every child has the chance to browse the collection to create a ‘Wish List’ of titles they would like to read.
In addition to physical books, every child has access to an electronic library collection through the Sora platform. Through this, our children can explore audiobooks, graphic novels, magazines and books including books in different languages. We are determined to ensure our children have any and all means possible to access reading materials.
A school-wide enjoyment of reading
Enjoyment of reading can only be achieved through a school-wide celebration of reading. As well as the reading that happens in class, at home and in the library, we ensure that reading is celebrated as a school. We host school-wide events for World Book Day, but also have our own Abbotswood Book Day. This event in the summer term is a highlight of the year! It includes dressing up as characters from books, talks from authors, workshops run by visiting authors as well as activities linked to authors.
What our children say about reading.
Our pupils are the best advocates for an enjoyment in reading. Here is what they have to say about it!
“Reading is exciting and fun! I like reading the words and picturing what is happening. When I stop reading, I think about what could happen next.” Year 6 child
“Reading opens my imagination. You can’t learn about new things without it and you never know if you’ll like a book unless you try it.” Year 6 child
“I love reading! I always feel sad when I finish a story. That’s why I love series because there is another one to read when you finish. Everyone should read the Percy Jackson series – the content is fascinating!” Year 6 child
“Reading is fascinating and it brings me into a whole other world. School helps me with my reading too as I learn new words.” Year 3 child
“I like reading because I find new information about places. I also really like choosing books from the library. I have found I really like poems because sometimes they are funny.” Year 3 child
“Reading helps me understand our topic. It helps you get more information and find out what you don’t know.” Year 5 child
“Everyone needs reading. Books, whether fiction or non-fiction, help you learn in some way.” Year 5 child