Our priority is that children leave Rook’s Nest Academy with a lifelong love of reading. We aim for our pupils to leave school as fluent and confident readers who have essential reading skills needed to further their understanding in all areas at secondary school and beyond.
Reading for pleasure is at the core of what we do. Teaching staff dedicate at least 15 minutes daily to reading a book to their class which is purely for pleasure (Everybody Reading In Class or E.R.I.C Time). Literacy and topic lessons are often driven by a quality text to ensure that children develop their knowledge, apply different reading skills and boost their comprehension within a broad curriculum. We encourage children to talk to each other about books and build in regular opportunities for paired reading across year groups. In the early years and KS1, we invite parents and grandparents into school once per week to share books with their children. We have a very well resourced library and book corners enhanced by the resources of the Schools Library Service. All these resources are available to children and we carefully monitor the selection and changing of books. Opportunities to promote a love of reading are also built into the school year through themed events such as World Book Day, visits from the library, author visits, rewards and competitions.
The academy has strong expectations that pupils read daily at home and school. We make sure that parents and pupils understand the importance of daily home reading throughout each academic year. Communication between home and school is encouraged via a pupil reading record.
Phonics is taught rigorously in differentiated groupings throughout reception and key stage 1 using the Letters and Sounds document. Within daily phonics lessons, children focus on specific sounds, rules or tricky words within a set structure of review, teach, practise and apply. Children are assessed each half term and are grouped accordingly. We ensure that our teaching staff rotate around the phonics groups to ensure that teachers have an overview of all children. For children who are not on track to reach year group expectations, we provide additional interventions and support.
Guided reading takes place for 30 minutes each day in KS1 and KS2. Children are grouped according to their reading ability and share books with a teacher and teaching assistant twice weekly. Within the supported session, children are taught specific word reading or comprehension based skills which they then practise and apply independently. The reading skills known as VIPERS are referred to when teaching reading with our students (vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation and sequencing or summarising).
The Accelerated Reader program is used in school for children’s independent and home reading, from Year 2 upwards. Half-termly assessments determine children’s reading age. From this, pupils are assigned a “reading zone” from within which they can choose a library book. After reading, pupils complete an online quiz which assesses their comprehension and understanding of a text. Teachers carefully monitor pupil completion and performance in these quizzes every fortnight.
We assess children from Year 1 upwards termly using the PIRA assessment and Accelerated Reader data alongside guided reading assessments based on year group specific reading objectives.