Enabling your child to become a really great reader is our core aim here at Ark Kings Academy. This is because reading is fundamental to education - being able to read unlocks the entire curriculum!
How we get to know your child as a reader
In order to provide your child with the best reading instruction, it's essential we know and understand them as readers. We do this through assessments that allow us to identify their ability to read words and comprehend the language they read. We use the Simple View of Reading as a tool to understand where your child may need support and then provide teaching that is tailored to their needs.
The assessments we use are RWI Phonics Assessments, NGRT Reading Age Assessments and PM Benchmarking. With this wealth of information, we provide your child with books that are appropriate for their level and teach them the specific strategies they need in order to make progress in their reading.
The foundations of a great reader
The way we teach your child to read is based on five 'pillars': phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.
We recognise how important it is that your child becomes skilful in each of the five areas in order to become a successful reader. We also recognise how interdependent and equally important these pillars are – if your child has a gap or weakness in one area, they will not be secure in their reading. For this reason, our teaching and assessments in all aspects and phases of our reading instruction are centred around these core areas.
When our pupils join Nursery, we attune them to the sounds around them and help them to develop their oral blending and segmenting skills. Pupils tune in to sounds (auditory discrimination), listen and remember sounds (auditory memory and sequencing) and talk about sounds (develop vocabulary and language comprehension).
Once pupils are secure in this aspect, we teach them to decode through the teaching of phonics. We use the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme. Pupils begin the programme in the Spring term of Nursery, then the programme is taught in small groups with:
- All pupils in Reception and Year 1
- Any pupils in Years 2, 3 and 4 who are learning to decode
- Pupils who are learning to decode in older year groups follow an age-appropriate version of the phonics programme.
How to support your child with early reading
Becoming a really great reader
In Year 2, pupils progress to Read Write Inc. Comprehension. This programme develops their comprehension, writing, critical thinking, discussion skills and pupils also gain a firm knowledge and understanding of grammar. This programme is used as a bridge from the phonics programme into whole class reading lessons.
As part of our reading lessons, which run from Year 3 to Year 11, pupils are explicitly taught the mechanics of becoming fluent readers, comprehending texts and developing a wide vocabulary base. Pupils engage with high-quality texts and extracts, both fiction and non-fiction, around a wide variety of themes. Pupils learn consistent strategies for reading, which they develop throughout their journey with us at Ark Kings and take with them into adulthood.
In addition to reading lessons, pupils have a wide range of opportunities to read books of their choice. Classrooms are stocked with class libraries - an exciting bank of age appropriate texts to engage and inspire your child! Pupils in the primary phase are also given a book from our reading scheme - this is a book that is perfectly pitched to your child's reading ability. Beyond this, pupils also have access to our school libraries, which are run by staff and pupil librarians, who recommend great books and develop a school-wide community of readers.