At Featherbank, we are always striving for ways of building and developing a life-long love of reading. Reading is the enabling skill that allows us to decode our world, communicate across the globe and learn from the past. From road signs to maps to fiction storybooks to email, without reading, we could not access entire worlds (both real and virtual) of information.
Reading is a wonderful gift, a bonding experience - a chance to go exploring while never leaving your seat...
OUR CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT ACROSS SCHOOL
In our school, we follow the National Curriculum Programme Of Study for English. (See attached for more detail.)
At Featherbank, our children's journey with reading begins in EYFS with story-focused topics, reading development and discovering the building blocks of language. Many of them have never read before, while others come to us with an already in-built love of reading. We consider it a privilege to be the ones to guide them into (hopefully) a life-long love of reading.
Through our Foundation stage studies and the development of the Early Learning Goals, we work hard to help all children achieve a Good Level of Development (GLD), including Reading.
In KS1, we are establishing reading patterns both within our lessons, featuring focus Topic books, class readers and comprehension-based reading opportunities. We have Reading Corners and promote home-school reading to help them move through the Book Bands.
Once they read KS2, we hope that they have secured a firm foundation in the basics of reading and can build on their good development so far of phonics awareness, fluency of reading aloud and internally. They should be able to discuss their understanding of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, narrative and non-narrative texts - at and around an age-appropriate level - and they are working in class to grow and develop their comprehension skills and their ability to process, evaluate and respond to what they have read at an increasingly adult level.
OUR ENGLISH POLICY
We review our English Policy to ensure that we are placing our children at the heart of learning in our school and everything that we work towards goes to support that.
Our new way of teaching, learning, assessing, monitoring and tracking READING skills in school is via the VIPERS programme. Originally developed by the excellent Literacy Shed, this programme has been successfully adopted to widespread approval in many schools and is already showing great success at Featherbank.
The way that it works is to classify questions under the six most commonly-occurring skill categories that make up our range of comprehension skills:
SEQUENCING (KS1) & SUMMARISING (KS2)
By taking this approach, the children develop a broad range of comprehension skills that allow them to develop higher-order thinking skills, analyse and respond to stimuli (including texts, pictures, videos, artefacts and sounds) and demonstrate a growing understanding of the Bloom's taxonomy of question/answer development, including: simple reactive answering to question focus words (eg: The 7 W's: Who, What, Where, When, Why, hoW and Which) through to supported arguments (eg: Which evidence can you find that supports this view?), evaluative reasoning (eg: Based on this chapter, would you argue that MrX is a hero or villain?) and synthesis (eg: Create your own advert for a new member of the Blue Street Gang.)
Here is an easy-to-print-out bookmark that can be used at home while supporting your child to read that helps them explore the VIPERS key skills, with sample questions to ask:
ASSESSMENT, TRACKING, MONITORING
As part of our VIPERS programme, we ensure that we are providing a broad and balanced coverage of the age-appropriate READING SKILLS expected at each stage of development across school. These are addressed via a range of stimuli, discussion, drama, role-play and written comprehension work.
READING AT FEATHERBANK
What makes Reading at Featherbank unique?
We are always investigating and committing to new and innovative ways of raising engagement, enjoyment and achievement in our children's reading.
Older children who need simpler reading books but want topics and plots more interesting to their age group? Yes, we've introduced those.
Reading buddies where the Upper Key Stage 2 children can help to foster a love of reading in Key Stage 1 children, while helping them to overcome difficulties with their own reading? Yes, we have those, too.
Constantly changing and evolving VIPERS stimuli replacing the old static Guided Reading schemes; so that now every week could be children using comprehension skills to explore a play, a movie, a soundbite from World War 2, from the Hall of the Mountain King to a two-hundred-year-old pair of dentist's pliers, fresh from our Artemis Artefact Museum? You better believe it!
In-class rewards for at-home reading, where the children can meet and explore prehistoric beasts... or chin-wag with Henry VIII's wives as they earn House Points and inspire their work? Yes, we've got that, too.
Book fairs where the children can explore new authors and familiar stories, where they can become archaeologists, adventurers, heroes, heroines, witches and wizards? We have not one but two each year! Not only that, but we earn rewards to enhance and develop our own library! In the last two years, we've added a Puzzle Book section, a Classics section, a Gothic Horror section, a How To Draw section, an Audio Book section and, most recently, a Girls Can Do Anything section!
Transforming the school into a winter wonderland of twinkling lights, flickering candles, a roaring twelve-feet-wide open log fire and an ocean of fluffy cushions, hot chocolate and marshmallows - all to create magical bedtime stories and READING UNDER THE STARS? Welcome! There's a spot free just over here!
In short, at Featherbank, we care about reading and we always will.
We want it to be a source of love and engagement for all our children - from the most avid reader to the one who's just starting out.
Share the books that you loved growing up with your own children now.
Make the time to read with them - and listen to them reading to you.
Discuss their books with them - maybe even throw some VIPERS questions back-and-forth. Create educated readers who can analyse, evaluate, investigate and appreciate - not just dictate.
Take them to a library - regularly.
Help them find world after world after world - and join them on their journeys.
We believe in you!
Ideas to help you to read with your child.
Sections for parents and teachers on developing the skills of readers as well as advice on how to overcome barriers to reading.
A really useful site with up to date information about great books to read.
Lots of recommended reads and book lists.