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Austin Farm Academy

Austin Farm Academy

English - Reading

How we approach the teaching of Reading.


At Austin Farm Academy we believe that everyone can succeed in reading, developing a love of books and knowledge. We aim to help all children to become competent readers and help them to see reading as an intrinsically pleasurable and worthwhile activity which will help them to become lifelong learners. Providing a wide variety of good quality texts, which will appeal to all children, we teach a range of strategies to help children to become effective readers.

At the beginning of their journey, in Foundation, we use a synthetic phonics approach to teach early reading skills providing a systematic programme of reading which involves a combination of shared, guided and individual reading. We aim to develop a reciprocal and interactive community of readers, fully involving parents and carers with supporting their child’s reading development. We aim to develop an appreciation of a wide variety of literature from English and other cultures. We believe that it is important for children to hear stories read aloud to them, to engage in making preferences about books and to build vocabulary of the written word.

Implementation of our Reading curriculum

At Austin Farm Academy we use the RWInc scheme (Read Write Inc.) for the teaching of phonics and daily lessons are delivered to groups of children assessed to be accessing the correct part of the programme. The emphasis is on teachers modelling the correct sounds and providing practise time. Reading books that are sent home match the sounds being taught in class. The lessons are fast-paced and develop fluency of recognition of phoneme/grapheme correspondence. Children are assessed on a half-termly basis and move groups according to outcomes. Children who are identified as falling behind receive support to catch-up. All children take the phonics screening check in Year 1.

As children finish the phonic programme, they begin Accelerated Reader (AR). This scheme (Yr2-Yr6) ensures children select the correct level of book to take home. A half-termly star reading test determines the range from which a child may select books. After reading a book, children take an online quiz and the results count towards the child’s overall word count and progress towards their reading targets. Teachers monitor the engagement levels of children and certificates reward children at different points of progress. After half-termly STAR Tests, children identified as working below expected levels are supported with reading and comprehension in class. Opportunities are provided for children to read independently in class and to discuss and recommend books to each other. See the link below for information on Accelerated Reader.

At Austin Farm Academy, we have developed a Reading for Meaning approach to teaching reading comprehension and use this as a basis for reading from Year 3 to Year 6. At the heart of this initiative is the explicit teaching of key skills used in reading: vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval and summarising. This whole-class approach centres around real books and empowers every child to engage in high quality texts and progress together through interactive lessons and practical activities. This means that all children access the stories and develop a greater love of reading through exploring vocabulary and talking around texts deepening understanding and knowledge of whole stories. Children learn to recognise question types used in formal comprehension.

Reading underpins all that we do and developing oracy is a key focus the school: talk and embedding vocabulary are seen in lessons across all subjects. Reading events help bring our reading community together and help to foster reciprocal and interactive approaches e.g. shared reading between classes and family challenges and homework activities.

Click on the link below to see how you can support your child and help them grow as a reader!