At Haydn, our intent is to provide a curriculum that inspires a love of reading. Leaders in our school prioritise the teaching of reading: word reading and reading comprehension. We work to achieve this through experience of and engagement with, a range of high quality and enjoyable texts. We value reading as a key life skill, and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers; we believe reading is the key to academic success. We want our pupils to understand and use reading as a tool to access information and to communicate with the world. We want them to become independent learners, so that they become confident and comprehensive readers; that they learn to read and read to learn.
We have a consistent, whole school approach to the teaching and enjoyment of reading.
The National Curriculum states that it is essential that the teaching of reading focuses on developing pupils’ competence in word reading and comprehension. Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics is taught rigorously as soon as they start school.
Reading with your child
Sharing a book with a child is fun! It's a time for closeness, laughing and talking together – and it can also give children a flying start in life and help them become lifelong readers.
If you’re not feeling confident about reading aloud or sharing books, don’t worry – there’s no right or wrong way to enjoy a story together, but here are a few pointers that may help.
For young children:
Sharing picture books can be a lot of fun – but don’t worry if your child gets distracted or wanders off… that’s perfectly normal! Don’t worry either, if you don’t have a lot of time in your busy day – just a few minutes can make a huge difference.
Encourage a love of reading
With lots of other activities competing for their time, encourage them to make time for reading.
Non-fiction is a vital part of children’s reading experience. Reading non-fiction allows children to follow their interests and immerse themselves in the subjects they are interested in. It opens up new worlds, introducing them to ideas that will broaden their horizons and help them to make sense of the world.
And we live in a golden age of non-fiction at the moment. The modern web-connected world, where any conceivable fact is just an online search away, might have spelled the death of non-fiction. Instead, non-fiction has flourished.
A quick browse in any bookshop or library will reveal shelves of beautiful non-fiction texts, as attractive as they are fascinating.
At school and at home, non-fiction should be a key part of every child’s reading diet.
Here are five reasons why:
1. Non-fiction can help your child find their identity as a reader
For some of us, losing ourselves in a great novel is one of life’s greatest pleasures. But that isn’t for everyone. The reading of many adults consists principally of non-fiction texts: biographies, history books, the newspaper or websites that reflect their interests. Reading non-fiction helps children to form their own tastes and opinions. You don’t know what you like until you’ve tried it.
2. Non-fiction is great for children’s vocabulary
Reading non-fiction will introduce children to lots of new words. Some of this will be technical language linked to the subject they’re reading about – pirouette in a book about ballet, for example.
But even more useful are words that are less common in speech and fiction, but are useful for education – words like consistent, definition, indicate. Words like these are so useful for understanding the texts used at school, and non-fiction is often full of them.
3. Non-fiction helps children learn new language patterns
It’s not just new words that children can learn from non-fiction – the patterns of language themselves are often very different. For example, non-fiction tends to make greater use of the passive voice (it is thought that…, rather than I think that…). Reading these patterns of language can help children to absorb them and use them in their own writing, particularly in the more formal types of writing that are useful for school and beyond.
4. Non-fiction uses different skills to fiction reading
While we might pick up a non-fiction text and read it from cover to cover like a work of fiction, the chances are we’ll read it very differently. We might skim through, looking for something that catches our eye, or we might scan a page about a topic we know a lot about already, before slowing down to read about something new more carefully. We might use the glossary to look up the meaning of a new word or use the index to find a topic quickly.
These reading skills are taught and practised in classrooms all over the country, but reading non-fiction gives children a chance to practise them at home with books they enjoy. And, of course, these reading skills are useful at secondary school when researching for homework or finding information for an essay.
5. Non-fiction isn’t always about the reading
The benefits that children get from reading are well known. Academic research has suggested a link between reading in childhood and stronger reading skills, better school results in general, increased empathy for others, a larger vocabulary, increased happiness as a teenager… Being a reader is one of the most important things we can do for future success and happiness.
But while we’d love every child to be an avid reader, some children prefer to spend their time doing other things – drawing, sports, music, using screens or just playing with their toys. No matter how good our intentions, forcing children to read because it’s good for them could well backfire and make them even less keen to read. Non-fiction (both books and on screen) can be a secret weapon in the battle for reading: unlike a story book, children don’t always see non-fiction as proper reading.
When we’re finding out about something we’re interested in, the activity becomes about the topic we’re interested in, rather than reading itself. And time spent enjoying a fascinating non-fiction text might just be enough to kick-start the reading habit.
Reading for Pleasure
Children need support to develop the habit and love of reading. Three core strategies support readers.
- Reading aloud
- Time to read as a family
- Book chat
Time and space to hear stories and to read and talk informally about what you’re reading makes a difference to children’s pleasure in their reading.
Click the link to see a list of the Reading for Pleasure 20 - 21 book awards. There's something for everyone.
What if your child doesn't like reading?
Research shows that reading for pleasure can make a huge difference to children - not only academically (even in subjects like maths) but also socially and emotionally.
But what if your child doesn't enjoy reading? Whether they find it difficult or think it's boring, it's not always something young people are keen to do and it's interesting to know that even some authors were reluctant readers growing up...
But here are some things that could help...
Summer Reading Bingo is an activity for children (and adults if they wish!) to complete over the summer holidays. The focus is on reading for pleasure experiences rather than specific texts, with activities like make a den and read inside, read in the dark using a torch and read to a pet or a soft toy. Children can choose what they read for the challenges, although we have included some Summer 2022 recommended reads for those looking for new ideas. There is a choice of two bingo board options 25 squares or 9 squares. Are you up for the challenge?
World Book Day was a wonderful celebration of books and reading. Children and staff dressed up to celebrate their favourite characters or inspiring people depicted in non-fiction books. It was our first time together as a whole school and the perfect time to re-establish our fantastic school community. Thank you to everyone who made it a really special day.
Christmas begins with a book…
Christmas is a most exciting time of year for children, so why not add that extra sprinkle of magic with a book? There’s something for all readers.
Check out the following websites for great inspiration in the Christmas section
The Christmas Pine
A magical picture book for Christmas, written in perfect, heartfelt rhyme by Julia Donaldson.
The Christmasaurus and the Naughty List
Tom Fletcher’s joyous festive series finds the Christmasaurus on a mission to show children languishing on Santa’s naughty list the error of their ways.
The Jolly Christmas Postman
A seasonal favourite and a justified classic that never loses its magic. Peek inside the special deliveries in the jolly holly postman's Christmas mailbag.
A Boy Called Christmas
Matt Haig's beautifully realised origin story, recounts how a boy from Finland became Santa Claus through a moving, magical tale of adventure and hope.
Summer Reading & Bingo Challenge
Are you up for the challenge?
Look at the bingo, can you complete the challenge?
Make the most of the holidays and read at every opportunity. There are a range of great titles. What do you like to read...
WORLD BOOK DAY 2021
Thursday 4 March - watch this space...