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Reading

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.

  • Ask your child to choose what they’d like to read. They’ll feel more interested in the story if they’ve picked it themselves (and don’t worry if they keep returning to the same story)!
  • Turn off the television, radio and computer. It’s easier for both of you to enjoy the story without any other distractions.
  • Sit close together. You could encourage your child to hold the book themselves and turn the pages too.
  • Take a look at the pictures. You don’t just have to read the words on the page. Maybe there’s something funny in the pictures that you can giggle about together, or perhaps your child enjoys guessing what will happen next.
  • Ask questions and talk about the book. Picture books can be a great way to talk through your child’s fears and worries, or to help them deal with their emotions. Give them space to talk, and ask how they feel about the situations in the story.
  • Have fun! There’s no right or wrong way to share a story – as long as you and your child are having fun. Don’t be afraid to act out situations or use funny voices… your little ones will love it!

 

Encourage a love of reading

Older children:

With lots of other activities competing for their time, encourage them to make time for reading.

  • Read yourself! It doesn’t matter what it is – pick up a newspaper or magazine, take a look at a cookery book, read a computer manual, enjoy some poetry or dive into a biography, science fiction or detective novel. Ask your children to join in – if you’re cooking, could they read the recipe? If you’re watching TV, can they read out the listings?
  • Give books as presents and encourage your children and their friends to swap books with each other – it’ll give them a chance to read new stories, and get them all talking about what they’re reading.
  • Visit the local library together. It’s always fun choosing new books to read, and keep an eye out for special author events at the library or local bookshops. Check out the websites of their favourite authors for example, Cressida Cowell, currently the Waterstones Children’s Laureate (2019 – 2022), Babette Cole, Julia Donaldson, Anne Fine, Jan Pienkowski, David Walliams, Tom Palmer, Emma Carroll, Jacqueline Wilson and Anthony Horowitz. There are some brilliant sites and they encourage children to read stories from the same author.
  • Encourage children to carry a book at all times. That way, they’ll never be bored (this is something you can do, too)!
  • Have a family bookshelf. If you can, have bookshelves in your children’s bedrooms too.
  • Keep reading together. Just because your children are older, it doesn’t mean you have to stop sharing stories – you could try the Harry Potter series or A Series of Unfortunate Events.
  • Don’t panic if your child reads the same book over and over again, it's great to have a favourite and at least they're reading something.

Non-Fiction

 

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.

Black lives, black history and anti-racism books

Here are some recommended reads for children from Foundation to Year 6 that your child or children might enjoy. You could share the books together or older children might read them independently which you could discuss.

Reading for Pleasure                                                  

Reading Together in families counts!

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.

https://cdn.ourfp.org/wp-content/uploads/20211202105712/Book-Awards-Winners-2020-2021-1.pdf?_ga=2.190899434.172399595.1638354364-593587646.1628062519&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=reading_for_pleasure_news_december&utm_term=2021-12-26

 

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...

  • Talk about books. Talking to children about books and stories can help them to realise how exciting they are. Show an interest in what they've read, ask questions about it, and swap opinions.
  • Make it fun! There are so many fun things you can do with books beyond reading them. You could ask your children to draw their favourite character or act out what they've read for you. Or perhaps you could try recreating some classic book covers and taking photos!
  • Try funny books. Everyone likes a good giggle! (If your child is brave and depending on their age, scary stories might be worth a go too.)
  • Don't worry about what your children are reading. Whether it's a short story, poetry, a graphic novel, non-fiction, joke books, a comic or even the back of a cereal packet, it doesn't matter what your child is reading - as long as they're enjoying it! Anything could kickstart a love of books (again don't panic if they read the same book over and over again).
  • Give them the chance to choose. It's a great idea to give children the chance to choose what they read. Maybe you could take them to a bookshop and let them pick out something as a treat, or make regular library visits to help them figure out what they enjoy.
  • Enjoy books out loud! Why not read part of a book to your child, then leave it with them to explore further on their own? Or take turns to read a page or a chapter. Children might enjoy listening to audiobooks, too – the combination of hearing the story out loud and holding the physical book could be a big help. Why not try listening to a story the next time you're in the car together? There are some excellent audio books, try this website for a range of titles https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/45631.best_audiobooks_for_kids
  • Find books related to their interests. If your child is a gamer, why not try choose-your-own-adventure books, Minecraft guides or stories about virtual reality? If they like sport, you could try one of Kwame Alexander's verse novels or a biography of their favourite football player. If a book is about something they already love, it could be a brilliant way to get them hooked. Or perhaps their favourite film is based on a book - you could enjoy the story together and talk about how the movie and the original story are different.
  • Try series fiction. If your child loved the first Harry Potter book, there are six more stories for them to dive into! There are some wonderful series out there that have converted reluctant readers into bookworms - you could try the Tom Gates books by Liz Pichon or the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

Reads to reel in reluctant readers

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

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.

Top Texts for January

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

https://www.penguin.co.uk/

https://www.booksfortopics.com/

https://www.lovereading4kids.co.uk

 

Some recommendations:

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.

 

October booklist

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...

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