Dear Junior Parents,
Reading skills are important to your child’s success as an adult and allow them to access the breadth of the curriculum in school. Reading is fun and an imaginative time for children which opens doors to all kinds of new worlds for them. Evidence informs us that children who read for enjoyment every day not only perform better in tests, but also develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and better understanding of other cultures.
What is going well?
We have been reviewing how we teach reading in our school and researching how children best learn reading. Our reading session as part of the ‘English’ lesson and phonics lessons are working well and children are making good progress in these lessons. Children and staff really love the DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) sessions that are the last 20 minutes of every day to read for enjoyment. Our children really like the new ‘Bug Club’ online reading books.
New – ‘Book Club’
We have decided to make some changes to improve our ‘Guided Reading Sessions’. After February half term all the junior children will start ‘Book Club’. The children will be in a group of up to 8 other children with an adult (teacher or TA) and they will meet to read every day for about 20 minutes. Because the children are reading in an intense session every day and discussing the book, the flow of the book will be much better and we are hoping to get through lengthier books, stretching the children.
Each child will have their own copy of the book. At the end of the session the children will be set some pages to read independently, this can be done in the evening at home or at morning playtime in school. The children will also have a reading notebook to make any notes that has interested them, any vocab they are unsure of or any phrases they want to discuss. The next session will start with a discussion of what the children have read so it is essential you support us to ensure they are reading their pages.
The children may continue taking books home from school to read, and they will select these from their classrooms. In the Juniors, because the children will be reading every day, we will no longer be counting the ‘at least 3 reads’ at home and will not be using the blue reading records.
The staff are all very excited about starting the new ‘Book Club’. We have had several training opportunities to ensure we get the best from the children in the sessions. We have also been busy purchasing new sets of books that we hope the children will enjoy. We have been ensuring the children have a mixture of fiction and non-fiction. The non-fiction will support our wider curriculum so children will be able to enjoy books about history, geography, science, etc, that we hope will be another opportunity for children to learn their ‘sticky’ knowledge. The fiction books we have chosen include poetry, classics, famous authors, science fiction, sports themed, etc. The staff have put requests in for some of their favourite books. As we get going the children will be able to let us know books that they would like to read in their Book Club and we will continue to build the stock.
Parents reading with their children
Just because we are no longer checking the three reads at home this does not mean we don’t want you to read with your children. Research has shown that children need parents to be their reading role model. We need our parents to support us with reading on a regular basis to ensure that our children develop their reading skills. Daily is best practice. You can read the pages your child has been set with them or we encourage you to read books you have at home, the ‘Bug Club’ online books or select books from your child’s classroom.
"It's one of the most pleasurable activities that you do with your child - there's physical closeness but it's probably the most unhurried time that children have with their parent and it is focused on them."
Zuckerman Feb 2016
We appreciate your support in ensuring your child has read their set pages, bringing their book back to school each day and keeping their book in a good condition.
If you would like to discuss this new approach further, please do so next week with your child’s class teacher at parent consultations. Miss Howlett and I will also be in the junior hall to discuss it.