Ashmead intends for all children to read for enjoyment, understanding and knowledge with the aim that all pupils will foster a love of learning through reading. We encourage children to read a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, specifically guiding them to read a range of authors through class novels, home reading, School Library Service’s books and topic texts. Reading focuses on two areas; decoding (word reading) and comprehension. Decoding skills are seen with both the segmenting and blending of unfamiliar words and the speedy recognition of familiar words. Good comprehension is separated into three main categories; inference, language structure and presentation and retrieval. Ashmead aims to develop curious readers - inquisitive about the wider world - who expand their imaginations and understanding through the wide variety of literature available at the school.
Reading books are sent home regularly with a child’s reading record, which can be filled in by teacher, teaching assistant, parent or child. Books are allocated (or selected by the children, if appropriate) from central locations across the school. The books are published by Oxford Reading Tree and are colour coded (or numbered) and linked to the National Book Band scheme. These book bands in turn link to the National Curriculum levels, assessment grids and support materials used by staff. Once a child is a confident, fluent reader and is successfully able to comprehend the final numbered stage (Stage 16) accurately, they become a ‘Free Reader’. This final stage allows the children to choose their own reading material from a wide range of authors that the children themselves have selected – to help foster, maintain and embed a love of reading.
From Reception class to Year 6 all children across the schools participate in daily guided reading sessions where key skills are taught alongside high quality book discussion. Lessons are taught either in a carousel or whole class, depending on the set, with the aim to deliver lessons that have the highest impact on learning and development. Throughout the year, a wide range of genres will be focused on, which are often topic related or coincide with the genre of writing being taught at the time.
Throughout the school well-stocked mini libraries are scattered and each classroom has a variety of reading material including fiction, poetry, library books, dictionaries and thesaurus. We use a computerised system to log the books that the children have selected to take home (all data stored on this system is held securely and is deleted when children leave the school). The school also has a strong link with the Bucks School Library Service where termly ‘Topic Boxes’ are delivered to each classroom with the intention to help engage the children further with curriculum.
We intend for the impact to be that children will develop a love of reading. Driven not just by the long term benefits of reading (academic success, knowledge of the word, testing success, emotional well-being) but in the knowledge that if we implement a nurturing, engaging and inquisitive environment, children will discover the intrinsic value in reading, in that moment. Ashmead believes that in creating this environment, we will naturally create curious minds, ready to reap the benefits that the literary world has to offer.