Reading at Darenth
Our AimsAt Darenth, our aim is simple. We want our children to blossom into fantastic readers. Readers who not only read assuredly to independently seek and discover information, but who also read for the sheer pleasure and enjoyment a book can bring. We want our children to enjoy talking about books and sharing the experiences they have read. We want them to appreciate story-telling, as both the teller and the eager listener. We want them to read everything; from bus-stop posters on their way to school, to the dinner menu during lunch. Most importantly, we want them to have all the support, tools and self-belief to be the fantastic readers we know they will be, by the time they leave Darenth.
How we are realising these aims?At Darenth, we attempt to instil a love of reading in many ways. Firstly, through our topic-based curriculum. The children are at the heart of the learning and drive the teacher’s planning every step of the way. If children are engaged in a particular topic, each class’ book corner will reflect it. Related books will be on display for the children to pick up and browse as they like. Children are also encouraged to bring in their own books, relating to the topic for others to read.
Reading in our Curriculum
Our curriculum at Darenth is forever evolving and growing the meet the needs of our very special children. We believe a 'core-text' approach to reading and writing is essential for good classroom practice. From September, each class will be delegated 3 - 5 'set texts' which will be taught throughout the year. These texts will range from classic literature focusing on the likes of Charles Dickens, J.R. Tolkien, William Shakespeare and Michael Bond - to name a few. We will also be using these challenging texts to teach our compulsory history and geography topics throughout each year group, ensuring a focused and meaningful study takes place, where our aim is to also provide each child with their set text book for easy access to the material.
What better a way to learn about the Ancient Greeks than through the heroic travels and 'Adventures of Odysseus' or to learn how truly blessed we are to live so close to a fantastic and opportunistic city such as London, our local area study, through the eyes of 'A Bear called Paddington'? We are very excited about our choice of books for next year and we hope your children will enjoy reading them as much as we have enjoyed choosing them! Children exceeding Year group expectations are encouraged to further develop the love of and skill of reading for children further down the school. We often encourage shared reading across the Year groups, especially for those demonstrating a caring, pastoral nature towards younger children.
Curriculum for reading.
Darenth Community Primary School follows the National Curriculum Programmes of Study. We plan, teach and assess to National objectives and encourage a cross-curricular approach and text experience through engaging, child – initiated topic planning.
Key Stage 1.Darenth Community are proud to offer ‘Read, Write, Inc’ phonics scheme to our reception children and Key Stage 1. This is a comprehensive synthetic phonics programme that teaches reading, writing and spelling. This is delivered by fully- trained and competent staff, consistently on a daily basis. Whilst additionally offering, Read, Write, Inc. one-to-one intervention, for children requiring extra support.
In Key stage 2.We continue their reading journey into ‘Read, Write, Inc – Get Spelling’. This programme follows on from their initial phonics teaching. It offers engaging activities, where children are taught spelling patterns and are exposed to new, adventurous vocabulary. ‘Get – spelling’ lessons are mixed age-groups to allow children to work to a level, which is most suited to their ability.
Children who are identified as benefitting from extra support are enlisted into our ‘fresh start’ approach. This starts immediately after their daily phonics session. During ‘Fresh Start’, fully- trained members of our team take the children in small groups, through a mix of engaging reading and writing activities. These activities use basic phonic teaching in a way that is both relevant to their Year group, as well as highly accessible to all who take part.
Children identified as requiring extra support are also invited to school early to participate in extra reading with our fantastic and fully trained support staff.
Summative.At Darenth, we use termly (every 6-8 weeks) summative assessments to gauge understanding and progression of our children. Teachers are expected to track progression, using ‘Rising Stars’ level descriptors. These help indicate where are children are compared to their Year group and National expectations. This progression is tracked using a specific spreadsheet, where each child’s strengths and gaps in learning are highlighted to further inform the teacher’s planning.
Formative.At Darenth, we also use ‘Rising Stars’ to assess on a more regular and formative basis. Teachers are expected to use the assessment focuses to plan for guided reading sessions. These sessions take place four times per week. Through effective delivery, teachers can inform the tracking spreadsheet more frequently and accurately to overcome any gaps in their children’s learning. During guided reading, teachers also check contact books to ensure there is regular home reading and question children on their comprehension / change texts accordingly.
New Admissions.All new admissions complete an initial baseline assessment, with a trained member of staff. This will assess the child’s phonic knowledge and will aid in placing them correctly either in a Read, Write, Inc. phonics group, spelling group and / or 'Fresh Start’. We use this baseline assessment as means of a starting point to track their learning journey. By termly reassessing them, we strive to ensure our children are continuing to make good progress.
There is an expectation on the parent, to help maintain a child’s positive attitude towards reading. This is through reading with their child at home. Reading books are sent home every night, along with a reading journal. Once a child has read alone or with an adult, the adult must sign and date this book, preferably with a comment on their child’s progress at home. Whilst we are aware that supervised reading is not possible every night of the week, we do ask as a minimum expectation, that reading takes place with an adult overseeing, at least once per week. Once this book is finished, and we receive signed confirmation of completion, the reading book is then changed according to the child’s level of ability. Children will then move at their own pace, with encouragement from staff, to progress through various coloured book bands. Once a child has completed the highest band (lime), they will be known as ‘free readers’. Children will then take home non-colour banded books from our library and book-corners. We also encourage own books from home to be brought in to school, for the children to read for their own pleasure when they have a free time from their learning.