The Importance of reading
There is a growing body of evidence which illustrates the importance of reading for pleasure for both educational purposes as well as personal development
• Evidence suggests that there is a positive relationship between reading frequency, reading enjoyment and attainment (Clark 2011; Clark and Douglas 2011).
• Reading enjoyment has been reported as more important for children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status (OECD, 2002).
• There is a positive link between positive attitudes towards reading and scoring well on reading assessments (Twist et al, 2007).
• Regularly reading stories or novels outside of school is associated with higher scores in reading assessments (PIRLS, 2006; PISA, 2009).
• International evidence supports these findings; US research reports that independent reading is the best predictor of reading achievement (Anderson, Wilson and Fielding, 1988).
• Evidence suggests that reading for pleasure is an activity that has emotional and social consequences (Clark and Rumbold, 2006).
• Other benefits to reading for pleasure include: text comprehension and grammar, positive reading attitudes, pleasure in reading in later life, increased general knowledge (Clark and Rumbold, 2006).
These are just some of the many reasons why we take reading so seriously at Icknield and why we would like to have a real focus on this in the coming weeks. In this digital age, I would like to flag up the joy of books! Reading at home, both listening to your child and reading with your child, is a vital way of supporting learning.
Children from Year 2 onwards should try to write their own comment in their reading records. They should write one brief comment per day and a longer more detailed one once a week. In Reception and Year 1, parents should aim to write in the reading records daily.
Teachers will be checking reading records every week and will acknowledge either through writing initials/comments/stickers that books have been checked.
I do hope that these reading records will be a valuable way of keeping home/school communication on reading up to speed and supporting your children’s learning.
Individual reading will take place in class on a daily basis for at least ten minutes per day and a variety of reading activities happen throughout the school in a myriad of ways. We will be listening to your children read as often as we can in as many ways as we can, but as time is at a premium in school, the more reading that can be done at home the better!
Whole Class Poetry Recitation
To further promote reading and highlight the (sometimes forgotten) importance of reading poetry, we have introduced whole class poetry recitiation to the school. Each class will learn one poem each term to recite in a whole school assembly. The poems chosen will also celebrate British poets in the first two terms to celebrate our cultural heritage. The aim is for Year 6 pupils to leave Icknield with a booklet of poetry, able to recite 21 poems from memory, a good knowledge of the major British poets and most of all a love of poetry which will stay with them into the future.
National Curriculum Objectives
The following document outlines the main objectives taught in each year group for the areas of word reading and comprehension which form the basis of the reading curriculum:
Supporting Your Child
Here are some tips or activities to do with your child to support him or her with reading:
1. Get to grips with what is being taught in your child's year group.
Having an overview of what your child is being taught is a good place to start and the link to the National Curriculum (above) in addition to what's happening in your child's class (see class pages for more information) will help.
2. Model reading
It comes as no surprise that children learn from others so modeling reading by reading to yourself or out loud shows children the importance of reading.
3. Share stories
Possibly the most important way of helping your child to learn is by reading together. It is never too early to share a book with your child, talk about stories and ask children questions about their reading.
4. Ask questions
There are different types of questions you can ask your child about what they are reading. Here are some ideas to help you:
a) For younger readers, questions relating to sounds or letters are a good question source. e.g. Can you find a word that starts with the letter 'c'? What sound(s) can you hear at the beginning of that word? How many syllables are in this word?
b) Questions beginning with question words: who/what/when/where/why using evidence from the text are useful for all readers, particularly younger ones. Generally this is called literal questioning as the children will find information from the text to form a straightforward answer. e.g. Where did Mum find Spot at the end of the story? How many legs does a millipede have? Wherever possible cover up the picture when asking these kinds of questions as they can sometimes give the children the clues to the answer, preventing reading skills from being practised.
c) Inferential questions become important as children move up through the school. These are questions where the answer isn't straightforward and the reader has to find clues to help form an answer. An example would be when a text shows someone arriving late for school and the question may ask: Why might Katie be worried?
d) Questions about the writer's intention: Writers always write with the reader in mind so it's good to question children on the use of certain words, phrases or even punctuation. Maybe you can ask why a writer has ended a chapter with .... (ellipsis) or ask how your child feels at the end of a section. When reading non-fiction, it is always good to ask about the order or the layout of the writing.
e) Questions about preference
5. Hear your child read regularly
We encourage you to hear your child read every day. Even older children can be heard read (for these children, work on their intonation especially around punctuation). We set regular reading homework for all pupils. Click the link below which shows you our expectations of reading at home:
6. Read, read, read!
Reading doesn't have to be in the form of a book, it could be a magazine, a road sign, a letter, information on a website...sources for reading are everywhere! Find as many opportunities as you can to get children reading and make them aware of the importance of reading as a life skill. Try to encourage your child to read a range of text types including both fiction (made-up) and non-fiction (factual). We find some children show a preference for one particular type which is great to an extent but can have a negative effect on their writing, making it tricky for those who read mainly non-fiction to write creatively or those who prefer fiction to write with a factual and informative voice.
7. Visit a library or buy an e-reader
Whether you're a tech-whiz or a traditionalist, visiting a library, a bookshop (or even your local supermarket) or investing in an e-reader or reading app such as Kindle is a great way to access a wide range of books! Children can always borrow books from school - we have collections of books and comfy reading areas in every classroom and in our KS1 and KS2 libraries.
8. Check the book is right
Do please check your child's book is right for him/her. Is s/he enjoying it? Are there some words which s/he cannot read? (This is usually a good sign as it supports learning) Are there too many words that s/he can't read? (This is not so good as it can ruin the flow of the book and be demoralizing). You could always try the '5 finger test' - get your child to place his/her hand on a page of the book and read the 5 closest words to each of his/her fingers. If s/he can read them all easily, the book is probably not challenging enough. Give it a try!