At Cannon Park, we believe that reading is an essential life skill and we are committed to enabling our children to become lifelong readers. At the heart of our reading strategy is our drive to foster a love of reading. Our extensive library is expertly led by our knowledgeable school librarian, who was recognised as on the honour list for School Librarian of the Year in 2018 by the School Library Association.
Reading is a skill that enables children to develop their learning across the wider curriculum and lays the foundation for success for the future. We recognise the importance of taking a consistent whole school approach to the teaching of reading in order to close any gaps and to target the highest possible number of children attaining the expected standard or higher. Reading is fundamental to education. Proficiency in reading, writing and spoken language is vital for pupil’s success. Through these, children develop communication skills for education and for working with others.
At Cannon Park, we use a synthetic phonics programme called Bug Club Phonics. This programme is a method of learning letter sounds and blending them together to read and write words. It ensures children develop fluency and automaticity whilst translating this into writing skills.
How do we promote a love of reading?
All children visit our extensive school library and chose a library book to read for pleasure. Our highly skilled and knowledgeable school librarian supports children and staff in books of interest. Our library is well-stocked with up-to-date books including both fiction and non-fiction, poetry, graphic novels, comics and newspapers.
Children read regularly in school and, every afternoon, adults read to children. Each year, the school takes part in the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards. Children in KS1 and KS2 read the books together as a class and vote for their favourites. In addition to our school library, each classroom has a book corner to further engage and inspire children to read.
We are fortunate to enjoy regular author and illustrator visits, both online and in person. Recently, we have enjoyed visits from Tom Palmer, Dan Smith, Matt Goodfellow and Alex T Smith. These visits always leave children feeling inspired to read and write themselves.
Miss Cleveland, our school librarian, runs book clubs at lunchtimes to further encourage children to find their passion for reading. As well as previously editing a book for a publisher with a group of children, Miss Cleveland has also organised for our Year 5 children to be book pen pals with Jenny Moore.
How do we teach phonics and reading decoding?
All children in EYFS and Year 1 receive consistent and rigorous daily phonics lessons, following Phonics Bug Structured Synthetic Phonics Program leading up to the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check. At the start of Year 2, children receive daily phonics lessons to refresh phase 3, 4, 5 before moving onto phase 6. Children, who did not pass the phonics check in Year 1, receive additional phonics interventions with the aim of passing the re-test in Year 2. Children, who do not pass the re-test in Year 2, receive additional phonics support in KS2 as appropriate. These children are monitored carefully to ensure their decoding skills are prioritised to enable them to access the full curriculum at Key Stage 2.
Children have a Bug Club book matched to their in-class phonics learning to take home to practise reading. As children move into Key Stage 2, children select a book within their lexile range to ensure the book is appropriate matched for their reading ability. Adults listen to children read regularly in school, using books matched to their sounds in phonics.
How do we teach comprehension skills?
In EYFS and Year 1, the children enjoy Book Talk sessions, where an adult works with a focus group of children to share and discuss a text. Adults read 1:1 with children regularly, which includes comprehension questions. Through Book Talk sessions, children in EYFS and Year 1 are exposed to more challenging texts with more challenging questions to deepen thinking and understanding.
Starting in Year 2, children enjoy regular discrete reading comprehension lessons each week, following the Cannon Park Reading Sequence. Children are exposed to a combination of whole texts as well as appropriate text extracts from a variety of writing genres (fiction, non-fiction and poetry). Teachers share model answers to provide good examples to follow. All children have log-ins to Bug Club online, which enables them to access books at their reading level with questions built in to the text.
Children, who learn English as an additional language and are classified as New to English or Early Acquisition have access to Flash Academy online to build up vocabulary and understanding.
How can parents and carers help at home?
Simply put, reading regularly with your child is the most important factor in supporting your child’s education. Discovering the joy of reading together can be one of the most rewarding things to do with your child.