The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go (Dr Seuss).
In Year 6, the children have their ‘Read and Respond’ skills constantly challenged. These skills need to be at the highest standard so the children can access the Secondary School curriculum (and beyond) when they leave in the summer.
The ability to read texts for pleasure and fillet information for research is an invaluable skill in all areas of the School curriculum … and life itself! Reading also opens up a world of pleasure, excitement and new experiences. In Years 5 and 6, the children are encouraged to touch the text, and I say the words will travel through their hands and arms and into their heads and hearts, this being in addition to using their eyes to read and ears to hear. There is nothing like ‘handling’ a piece of text/book.
Children can learn so much about a world beyond their own existence through the written word and encounter (and hopefully use) an amazing range of ideas and vocabulary. To cultivate a love of the written word is a ‘must’ for everyone.
After the initial stumbling over the decoding of letters into words, words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs – an Aladdin’s cave of amazing fiction, poetry and non-fiction awaits. These texts will awaken imagination, offer points for discussion, stimulate thoughts and allow access to a wonderful world of facts and figures.
Reading really is amazing and the key, which unlocks the door to education. In a bid to improve the children’s reading skills, a new Guided Reading Policy was introduced at the start of this academic year: 2017/18. The purpose of the policy was to further enhance our teaching of reading, especially in terms of encouraging, developing and extending independent reading skills.
Feedback from staff is has been positive:
“It is a helpful policy and the children really enjoy the sets of questions as they generate discussion.”
“The children really enjoy it and there are helpful record keeping resources.”
“A useful and workable policy with differentiated resources.”
“I have noticed an improvement in reading.”
“The children are enthusiastic about discussing the books.”
“It is never too late to teach an old dog new tricks.”
Personally, I feel the renewed emphasis (and policy) has improved my delivery of Guided Reading sessions to Years 5 and 6 – the classes I take for English. I now highlight a specific focus/foci for each group/session and use more precise questioning. New follow up activities also develop further understanding whilst I continue to maintain the non-negotiables of reading an age appropriate text with fluency, accuracy and expression.
How you can help?
I am conscious that parents like to help their children however they can so I have included a link to ‘some’ suggested questions and activities, which support Guided Reading These questions and activities will be beneficial for developing your child/children’s independent reading skills. I hope you find them useful (and fun) to do.
Julie Lawford, English Specialist