Reading Intent at Bridge
Bridge Junior School Statement of Intent for Reading
This statement sets out the principles underpinning the curriculum at Bridge Junior School and reflects the school’s commitment to developing all aspects of our pupils’ lives.
At Bridge, we want all children to SHINE which is at the heart of all that we do. We believe that every child can succeed and we want all members of our school community to have high aspirations and to feel confident about the future, looking forward to the opportunities it will bring.
Our curriculum is designed with these values in mind:
Strive for excellence
Happy and engaged
Nurtured and safe
Equality and fairness for everyone
At Bridge Junior, we believe that learning to read and to have a good understanding of what is read, is fundamental to the wider success of children as they move through the school and beyond. The ability to read fluently, and to comprehend what is read ensures that reading is meaningful and more enjoyable, and it enables children to access learning across the curriculum.
At Bridge, we aim to build upon the reading journey began by children at our feeder infant school. We endeavour to develop children’s word reading and comprehension skills, so that they are able to access reading books at an age-appropriate level, as well as texts that are used across the curriculum. By the time they leave us at the end of Year 6, we hope that children are fully equipped to tackle the more demanding texts they will come across in the next stage of their learning journey.
We hope that our children will be motivated to read and will develop a life-long love of reading, not just through quality teaching, but through access to a wide range of high-quality texts which are read by them and to them. We hope that children will become confident and independent readers, and we aim to foster a love of new words and to open up experiences beyond the known and familiar. We want reading at Bridge to be memorable, inclusive, meaningful and to open up future opportunities for all.
Our curriculum intent is implemented through the means outlined below.
Reading at Bridge is taught within the framework of the National Curriculum. By Year 3, the expectation is that children’s decoding skills are such that they are able to focus on what they are reading rather than decoding individual words. Teaching, therefore, focusses on vocabulary development and comprehension. This is done through weekly shared and guided reading sessions.
Shared reading is a whole-class, teacher-led lesson where children are taught a range of reading comprehension strategies. The structure of a shared reading session is as follows:
- The class teacher reads an extract with the class and discusses unfamiliar vocabulary. The extract will come from a text that is familiar to the children and one that is linked to the class topic. This helps children to make connections and further embed their understanding of the content.
- The teacher introduces and models the comprehension strategy that is to be taught, and demonstrates the language of learning through the use of sentence stems. Whatever the strategy, there is an emphasis on returning to the text to reinforce children’s understanding of what they are reading rather than seeing the skill in isolation.
- Children have a go with a learning partner while the teacher checks in to assess their understanding.
- Children work independently to apply the skill they have been taught.
Guided reading follows on from a shared reading session. Children are grouped with others of a similar reading ability and the teacher works with each group over a two-week period. The text used is at the instructional level. Staff will choose from a wide range of banded non-scheme books as well as books from our Big Cat reading scheme. The structure of a guided reading session is as follows:
- The teacher recaps on the comprehension strategy taught in the whole-class session.
- Any tricky vocabulary is taught before the text is read.
- The teacher models the strategy using an extract from the chosen text.
- Children read independently, practising the new comprehension skill. The teacher ‘listens in’ with each child to ensure they have understood and are applying the strategy correctly. Children are taught, and encouraged, to read silently.
- The group comes together at the end to answer a ‘big question’ which allows them to express and justify their opinions using evidence from the text. This is an invaluable opportunity for the teacher to assess the children’s wider reading skills.
Shared and guided reading takes place in all year groups and there is some repetition of the strategies taught so that skills are truly embedded. Progression is ensured by an increase in the text difficulty and, by Years 5 and 6, children are expected to draw together the elements of comprehension so that they are at one making predictions, wondering, using inference skills and summarising.
Children who are not part of the teacher’s focus group have reading activities to work on independently. These might be tasks related to their group’s guided reading session or the chance to practise sustained silent reading.
Children get the opportunity to apply taught strategies through weekly comprehension lessons (fortnightly for Years 3 and 4). Children read an age appropriate text and answer questions which cover reading strands from the National Curriculum such as retrieval, inference and explaining the meaning of words in context. The questions are framed in a similar way to those children will come across in PIRA and SAT tests to further prepare children for the type of questions that will be expected of them at the end of Key Stage 2 and beyond. Those children who are beyond the decoding stage, but who are reading below age-related expectations, practise comprehension skills with a text at their level.
Every child at Bridge has a reading book from our colour-banded Collins Big Cat reading scheme. The scheme offers a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction texts including poetry and play scripts. An adult will listen to each child read their book on a regular basis, the frequency of which is dependent on their need; and children are expected to take their reading book to share with someone at home. To ensure correct book matching, all children are benchmarked using PM Benchmarking at the beginning of each year and at other times throughout the year so that staff can be secure that children are reading at an instructional level.
As stated above, by Year 3, the expectation is that children’s decoding skills are such that they are able to focus on what they are reading rather than decoding individual words. However, some children still struggle to decode, and require a systematic and rigorous phonics programme so that they can catch up with their peers. Such children include those who are new to learning English and may have arrived part way through Key Stage 1 or 2.
At Bridge, phonics is taught using the Letters and Sounds programme. This consists of 5 stages, an overview of which is below. Children at Bridge start at phase 2 where the emphasis is on learning letter sounds and corresponding graphemes and blending these to read words.
Letters and Sounds phase
Set 1: s a t p
Set 2: i n m d
Set 3: g o c k
Set 4: ck e u r
Set 5: h b f, ff l, ll ss
Tricky words: the to go no
Set 6: j v w x
Set 7: y z, zz qu
Consonant Digraphs: ch sh th ng
Vowel digraphs and trigraphs: ai ee igh oa oo ar or ur ow oi ear air ure er
Tricky words: he, she, we, me, be, was, you, they, all, are, my, her
Learn the alphabet
Blending and segmenting words with adjacent consonants (such as tent/crept/belt) and polysyllabic words (such as children/softest)
Tricky words: said, have, like, so, do, some, come, were, there, little, one, when, out, what
Alternative pronunciations of graphemes: fin/find cow/blow yes/by/very hot/cold tie/field chin/school/chef cat/cent eat/bread out/shoulder/could/you got/giant farmer/her but/put hat/what
Tricky words: oh, their, people, Mr, Mrs, looked, called, asked, could
On arrival at Bridge, Year 3 children who did not pass the Year 1 phonics screening check, are reassessed using a previous year’s test to gain a baseline assessment. Children joining the school at other times of the year who are new to learning English, are assessed on their knowledge of phonics and will start learning at the relevant phase.
Children who require phonics teaching will be given two reading books: a phonics matched book from our Big Cat scheme or one from a selection of Read, Write Inc phonetically decodable books; and a benchmarked book so they can develop comprehension skills alongside their phonics practice. Children will be given phonetically decodable books matched to the Letters and Sounds phase they are currently learning.
Some children won’t have passed the phonics screen despite being taught phonics since the Foundation Stage. For these children, phonics is probably not the best method for them to learn to read and they need to focus on whole words. For such children, we offer ‘Early Words’, which is a one to one intervention where children learn rapid recall of high frequency words.
At Bridge, we believe that all children, regardless of where they are on their reading journey, should have the opportunity to hear good quality texts. Staff at bridge always have a book ‘on the go’, the front cover of which is displayed on the classroom door so that anyone entering the classroom knows what the children are currently reading. Class teachers read to children at least three times each week, and during these sessions children learn new vocabulary and are given the opportunity to take part in discussions, make predictions and offer their own opinions about characters, settings and plot. Books are selected which complement the topics that are taught in each year group, helping children to make connections and further aid their understanding of the subject matter. These sessions are invaluable as they enable many children to access texts that they would not otherwise be able to read independently. The current reading spine is as follows:
Picture books of Anthony Browne
Leon and the place between by Angela McAllister
Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales
Stig of the Dump by Clive King
The Thieves of Ostia by Caroline Lawrence
Friend or Foe by Michael Morpurgo
The Firework Maker’s daughter by Philip Pullman
The Mountain of Adventure by Enid Blyton
Greek Myths retold by Geraldine McCaughrean
Holes by Louis Sachar
River Story by Meredith Hooper
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Eye of the Wolf by Daniel Pennac
Sky Hawk by Gill Lewis
Magic Tree House: Secret of the Pyramid by Mary pope Osbourne
How to train your dragon by Cressida Cowell
Charlotte’s web by EB White
The Arrival by Shaun Tan and
Oranges in no man’s land by Elizabeth Laird
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Demon Dentist by David Walliams
Street Child by Berlie Doherty
Reading for Pleasure
At Bridge, we want children to be excited about picking up a book and to experience the pleasure of ‘losing themselves’ in it. The more children read, the better their fluency and stamina, and doors are opened which enhance and extend their cultural capital.
To this end, class libraries are stocked with a wide range of high-quality fiction and non-fiction texts, including poetry books and newspapers for children to immerse themselves in. To maintain interest and engagement, the books are rotated round the three classes in each year group every term. As well as their class library, each class visits the school library once a week where there is a range of books to suite all tastes.
Children at Bridge take part in national initiatives throughout the year, including National Poetry Day and World Book Day. We also participate in ‘Whatever it Takes’ initiatives organised by our Local Authority. This includes Author Week, where a ‘real-life!’ author comes into school and shares thoughts, extracts and inspiration with the children; ‘Our Best Book’ which is aimed at Y5 children who have access to 20 of the latest books which they have to read and whittle down to a short-list of 5 and then a final winner; and Our Brilliant Book Club where, throughout the year, individual year groups are sent multiple copies of books to read and respond to through competitions.
Where children are found to have difficulty in their reading, a pupil profile is carried out to try and ascertain what the area of difficulty might be. The child will read a text and, through specific questioning, it becomes clear which reading strategies they need to develop. We offer a number of specific reading interventions.
Inference groups are run by teaching assistants who have been trained in the programme. We have purchased the inference training package from Leicester City Council. The aim of the intervention is to develop the inferential skills of readers in order to increase their comprehension of the text. Children work in a small group to unpick a text in order to gain a deeper understanding of it. Children are asked to read a text, and are taught to identify unknown vocabulary, visualise, and draw on their background knowledge in order to show their understanding and answer questions. Inference sessions last 40 minutes and take place twice a week for six weeks. Progress is measured through pre and post Hodder reading tests.
Better Reading and Writing Partnerships (BRWP)
BRWP is a specialist 1-1 reading intervention designed to identify and target a child’s reading difficulties. Children are taught to recognise when they have mis-read a word and to apply different strategies to correct errors. Children are encouraged to read in phrases (to read like they talk), to aid their comprehension.
Lexia is a computer-based reading programme which works by monitoring the individual performance of children and adapting automatically to their learning needs. The feedback provided by the programme is easy to interpret and weekly reports of the progress and areas to work on can be printed. The intervention covers a wide range of reading aspects including: phonological awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Finding the right starting point for the children in the programme is achieved through an assessment task that the children complete independently. From this assessment the needs of the child are identified and then the software chooses the correct starting point by automatically generating lesson plans and practice worksheets. These worksheets can be printed and given to the children as homework to complete or as part of an independent reading activity within the school day.
We want our reading curriculum to have a long-lasting impact on the lives of our children. We want them to leave as confident readers who are able to tackle the demands of the KS3 curriculum. We want children to have experienced a wide range of reading materials and to be able to express preferences and talk about favourite authors, genres and books. We hope that children will have developed a love of reading so that they can lose themselves in worlds beyond their immediate existence. We want reading to be a tool through which they can access the arts, science and humanities.
The impact of our curriculum on children’s reading ability is measured through a triangulation of published tests, on-going assessment for learning, work in children’s books and benchmarking. Children sit the Rising Stars PIRA tests three times each year and a standardised score is obtained. Each child has a reading journal where their comprehension lesson is recorded as well as learning completed during shared and guided reading sessions. Judgements are secured using the Leicester City Reading Standard descriptions.
Children at Bridge make above average progress in their reading (2019 which was the last published data.)