Reading at Chartham
Reading is at the heart of teaching and learning at Chartham Primary School.
We promote reading as one of the key areas of our childrens' learning and development;
foster a love of literature and encourage life-long reading habits.
The on-going success of Reading Recovery and our ChIRP programmes, mean the majority of our children develop into confident readers who read for enjoyment and pleasure.
We have a well stocked library which the children have the opportunity to visit each week. They can choose a book to take home and share alongside their levelled reading book. We encourage all parents/carers to read with their child every day and to make time to discuss the story, characters and setting.
At Chartham School we do not follow one particular reading scheme; we use a mix of texts drawn from various schemes as we believe that this provides the children with a breadth of experience. All books that the children have as reading books are graded by difficulty using colour levels known as Book Bands; this method is used nationwide in many primary schools. Once the children are proficient, fluent readers and they have progressed through the colour bands, they begin to make choices from the school library. Initially the first fiction section and then a totally free choice.
Below you can see the progression of colour band reading levels that your child will work through and details of the skills required within each level. Please remember that all children progress at different rates and their travel along the reading journey may not be the same. We take many things into consideration before moving a child on to the next colour band so please come in and chat if you have questions about this.
Phonics (see phonics section) is just a part of learning to read once the basics are known. Other strategies children use are much more useful to them. For example, it is really important that children understand what they are reading, so context plays a big part. Fluency and phrasing, using expression and having the right voice pitch are also essential.
Phonics is a very useful tool to have for reading, but it is not the only part, especially past the early years. It does help with spelling, but again, children are taught that there are always exceptions to the rules. Phonics are the building blocks of words, but reading is so much more.
Once the basics are understood, the best way of improving reading is to read plenty of level appropriate books of varying topics to build up ‘reading milage’. This can be done through individual reading at home and school, and reading as part of a group (guided reading).
Beginning your child's reading journey at Chartham
A reading/phonics handout from our workshop for parents of children starting school.
When we meet the parents of the children due to start each September, they are able to choose a book to keep and share at home. We hope that this supports our new pupils on their journey to becoming lifelong readers for pleasure!
Reader of the Week
Every Friday morning, each class has a reader of the week. The award is not necessarily about being the BEST reader, but for displaying something which we feel is important: fluency, expression, segmenting, blending, reading more at home than usual, comprehension, etc! These children will be recognised in Celebration Assembly and they will be awarded with a certificate to take home.
Research has found that early readers need to read about 600 to 1000 words a week to become competent readers! This is called reading mileage. So the more they read, the better, and this impacts upon the rest of the curriculum. Lots of reading at home will contribute to your child’s reading mileage; it can be familiar books as well as new ones, comics, magazines, newspapers, the list is endless!!
Getting the most out of reading with your child...
Books that children have read more than once are considered ‘familiar’ texts, and are an important part of the early literacy journey. Reading books that are easy over and over again helps children to practise reading fluently, which means that reading sounds smooth and not choppy or robotic. It should sound like talking, with expression and intonation. Children need to read familiar books many times before their reading is quick, expressive and like spoken language. Good fluency leads to good comprehension, an easier transition to the next reading level and it increases confidence.
Remember, it is not necessary to have a new book every day and it is good if your child returns to a book that they have chosen in the past.
Take a sneak peek yourself before you read it together
This will enable you to give your child a brief overview of what the story is about, the characters’ names and activities and a sense of where to direct your conversation to ‘activate’ related vocabulary and/or any prior life experiences that will help your child connect on an emotional level to the book.
Have a quick look through the pictures together before reading the book; talk about the story and the characters
Looking through the pictures prior to reading will give the reader clues about the story, and will help them to predict what is coming up as they tackle the words and phrases on each page. It also helps refresh the reader’s memory for new vocabulary and character’s names to avoid stumbling on them in the middle of a sentence.
Take turns reading
Your reading sets an example and the pace for your time together. It also helps you get through more stories in less time! Another perk? Reading comprehension. An experienced reader can bring characters to life with exaggerated voices, sound effects and expression. Another advantage of shared reading is that both partners can be listening to ensure that what is being read makes sense.
Keep it short and sweet!
A parent knows their own child best. Goal number one is to ensure an enjoyment of books and reading. Light hearted fun, praise for a great time together and some laughter is a positive outcome.
There are also super tips here on how to read with your child, whatever age:
The importance of reading at home
A short video from Save the Children
Finding time to read at home
Everyone is incredibly busy; finding time to read with your child can often be a challenge. BookTrust have some fabulous ideas to help with this. Check out the BookTrust website:
How to find little pockets of time to fill with family reading.
Top tips from Julia Donaldson for reading at home
Ideas for great books to share
If you are looking for help when choosing suitable books for your children to read then have a look at one of these websites, they are great for finding out about all things bookish! There are recommended book lists for different age groups, news and blogs and occasional competitions or incentives. Enjoy!
E books to read at home
Log on to www.oxfordowl.co.uk to find lots of fabulous E books. Just another way to keep up your child's reading mileage!
The children will use the website at school but you can create your own profile at home, it's free and great fun.