We aim to share our love of reading with all of our pupils at Lapal and encourage them to choose books that are interesting, enjoyable, from varied authors and those that challenge. We encourage all pupils to continue their reading at home using tools in their individual pupil planner to support this and ensure consistency between home and school. Pupils in EYFS and KS1 are taught to read through Letters and Sounds, supported by Jolly Phonics and pupils from year 3 to 6 have a 30 minute reading lesson, 4 times each week. This develops our pupils’ reading skills through VIPERS linked to the national curriculum and through a shared text in group discussion.
All children at Lapal have an individual pupil planner, which contains a daily reading diary so that pupils, parents and staff can track their reading. It is the school’s expectation that the diary should be completed daily by a member of staff, parent or carer to ensure that regular and daily reading opportunities are provided in and out of school.
At Lapal, we prioritise the development of early reading by putting reading at the heart of everything we do. Through the use of robust and systematic teaching of phonics this provides an effective transition into independent reading, which then subsequently encourages our older pupils to read widely and deeply. Phonics is undoubtedly an essential tool here but as a school, we are aware that whilst phonic knowledge enables pupils to decode words, it does not teach them to know their meaning. We achieve this by providing opportunities for our pupils to sing, hear and join in with stories, to gain an understanding of what words actually mean through early, verbal comprehension. These solid and secure foundations are then built upon to enable the children of Lapal to be fluent, confident readers and adopt a love for reading.
We want to help all of our children at Lapal to become successful readers, who love reading. In order to decode (read) words, children are taught through a systematic phonic approach following the Letters and Sounds scheme, supplemented with Jolly Phonics, which captivates our children. Daily, discrete phonics sessions are taught in small, flexible groupings and sessions are fast paced, interactive and challenging. Children are encouraged to apply their phonics skills across all curriculum areas (and have further opportunities to apply enhanced provisions in EYFS and home learning.) We hold an annual parent workshop for EYFS & KS1 in the first half of the autumn term to share our approach to the teaching of synthetic phonics, which is then followed up by parent drop in sessions for EYFS to enable parent and carers to work alongside their child in a phonics session to see how it is taught at Lapal, to enable them to support and continue this at home.
Children start taking home a reading book in EYFS. This follows the Rigby Star phonics books, which we ensure are linked to the phonics phase and sounds that the children are currently learning to allow for application and retention. Year 1 and Year 2 pupils continue with these books until they move on to the Rigby Star independent books and then the KS2 Collins Big Cat books. Pupils can also regularly take home extra books from the ‘home readers box’ which is linked to the book band that they are on. This means they can read additional books if they wish, at the correct level of challenge and change these as frequently as they choose.
Once pupils complete the school’s reading scheme books, they become a ‘free reader’ where they can read any books of their choosing, from the class book corner, books from home or from the array of books in our school library. Whilst the children are able to read books of their choosing, staff will still monitor these to ensure there is challenge and pitch.
We have a fantastic new library located in KS1, which has been stocked with lots of brand new books that the children asked for, including new authors, new topics and those that cover current issues worldwide. The library has a booking in and booking out system that is led by the school librarians from KS2, enabling all pupils from KS1 to choose a library book each week.
We are currently developing plans to enhance the KS2 library also. New books have already been purchased for KS2 based around authors pupils have asked for, curriculum topics and books that address well-being, mental health and worldwide subjects.
At Lapal, we encourage our pupils to access their local libraries, tapping into the events and opportunities that they provide, as well as accessing the wealth of books on offer. This information is displayed in our school entrance and updates feature on our newsfeed on the school website.
Wider Reading Opportunities
At Lapal, we strive to enrich the children’s love and enjoyment for reading by providing wider opportunities throughout our curriculum and differing times during the school day.
As a school initiative, we set up an annual challenge of reading 1 million minutes as a school over the academic year. The children have a section in their planner to record their weekly minutes that they read to add to their class total and then the school total, trying to contribute towards reaching the 1 million minute totals.
We always join in with annual reading and book events such as Roald Dahl Day & World Book Day to encourage and inspire children to share their favourite books and authors, but to also discover new books and authors from which they have not yet read. This is also promoted through Trust events such as the annual book quiz, where a team of pupils are quizzed on specific books from which they have read, to test and develop their reading skills such a retrieval and inference skills as well as author knowledge.
With the use of our refined knowledge organisers, we promote further reading through our curriculum by providing ‘Recommended Reads’ linked to each topic in History, Geography and Science. This enables us to promote wider reading opportunities linked to a range of topics and subjects, enabling pupils to become familiar with subject specific vocabulary and key knowledge.