Love of Reading
Learning to read
No doubt you will come across the word ‘Phonics’ as soon as your child starts school. Phonics is a method of learning to read words that is taught right from the start of Reception/Nursery.
Children are taught to read letters or groups of letters by saying the sound(s) they represent – so, they are taught that the letter / sounds. Children can then start to read words by blending the sounds together to make a word. This is a very exciting time as the more accurate and fluent your child becomes the more they are likely to enjoy reading. There is strong evidence linking reading for pleasure and educational outcomes, but the benefits go beyond this and stretch throughout a person’s life.
Love of reading
Research specifically shows that the benefits of reading are more likely to be felt when reading takes place through free choice. The outcomes of reading will occur more often and more strongly if reading is enjoyable in the first instance. This is why the 'for pleasure' element of reading for pleasure is so important.
Reading is not something that children should do in school; it needs to be an everyday part of our lives, something we choose to do at all ages. At Midfield Primary School we want to build a culture of reading for enjoyment that will develop a lifelong love of reading which could benefit children in so many ways. We recognise that reading for pleasure will encourage children to succeed both academically and socially.
At Midfield Primary we are all passionate to make a difference and promote this love of reading. We aim to empower children to explore the multitude of worlds beyond their own world. So how do we do this? First of all we need to see this beyond performance league tables and transform the whole school ethos, so that EVERYONE loves reading. Here are some of the things we do:
1. Class reading time
Reading to the class remains a priority and it doesn’t have to fit into the curriculum, the timetable or have an objective which needs ticking off. Everyday, every class are read to by their teacher during a set time. It isn’t gobbled up at the end of the day by tidying up and getting ready for home time. This is a non-negotiable!
2. Involving the community
At Midfield we love to involve our parents. We aim to support parents with tips and techniques for helping children develop reading, comprehension skills and a love of reading.
We send reading books home which not only can be read to parents but books which parents can read to their children, so that stories can be enjoyed together. A comprehensive recommended book list can be found on our website.
Every Friday morning, parents of Reception, Year 1, 2 and 3 pupils are invited into the classroom to listen to their children read. Parents are then encouraged to stay for a coffee afterwards and we usually hand out a weekly reading tip.
Our school has strong links with our local library and we will invite authors to visit our school at least once a year! We have found that authors visiting the school can inspire children to read books they might not previously have considered – and engage them with writing, too.
3. Book donations
Throughout the year we have regular events whereby children can swap books or sell their books. If children can see a book they have brought in or recommended on the bookshelves or being enjoyed by their peers, it can really help them to appreciate the value of the enjoyment of books.
If children can see a book they have brought in or recommended on the bookshelves in school being enjoyed by their peers, it can really help them to appreciate the value of the enjoyment of books.
Most of our fundraising by our school PTA in the last year has been invested in quality texts in the classroom and in our home reading books which connect closely to the phonics knowledge pupils are taught when they are learning to read.
Our school PTA runs a book donation scheme through which children, parents, staff, governors and other members of the local community can donate £5 towards the cost of a new reading book. The money is regularly shared out between the classes and new books for class library areas are purchased; the donors' names are then proudly displayed on the inside of the front cover of the book they helped to fund.
4. World Book Day or other reading events:
Like other schools around the world we too celebrate World Book Day! It is however important to remember that it shouldn’t be just about the children dressing up in a superhero costume that they’ve bought from the supermarket. We ask the children to bring in a book from home, one that includes their favourite book character; or if the children don’t have books at home, we support them in school to select from books they have read here. The timetable is abandoned and we truly celebrate books that day. Children can dress up but, more importantly, we ask them to come "in role" as their character and parade on stage in a whole school assembly. This is great fun and a Midfield tradition. Staff too are great fun and also dress up and role play throughout the day.
Such an event can give children a real reason for understanding characters, expressing preferences, talking about books they have enjoyed and hearing about books from their peers that they might not otherwise have chosen to read. And perhaps, most importantly, it enables them to see the power of a shared love of reading.
5. A reading environment
It may seem obvious, but the school environment can really make a big impact. All classrooms have clearly thought out reading corners and much emphasis has been placed on not only how they look, but how accessible, welcoming they are and stocked up with good quality, appropriate books. Sometimes less is best!
At Midfield we are fortunate to have a subscribed to online reading apps which can be accessed through our LearnPads and / or class Ipads. This can demonstrate to the children that reading isn’t just about books.
Staff themselves play a big part in this as they are part of the environment as well. Teachers and other staff promote reading for pleasure simply by having a copy of a book or magazine they are reading on their desk and by being ready to discuss it with the children if they ask what they are reading. Staff also have books in the staff room which they also swap and the opportunity to attend a weekly staff journal club to discuss current educational research is also on offer.
Find out how children learn to read with phonics, and how you can help your child's reading at home.
Getting ready for reading (Ages 3-4)
Starting to read (Ages 4-5)
Building on reading skills (Ages 5-6)
Developing confidence as a reader (Ages 6-7)
Building independence (Ages 7-9)
Encouraging reading (Ages 9-11)