At Tidemill Academy, we passionately believe that for our children to participate fully in our society they must first become successful readers. Reading develops children’s language and communication skills, enriches relationships and engenders creativity and imagination. To foster a ‘reading for pleasure’ culture at Tidemill, we read and study our favourite texts together in order to explore ideas and develop curiosity and excitement in our children. We aim to create life-long readers.
During their time at Tidemill, children are exposed to a wide variety of genres and text types. In order to develop their language skills and imagination, we provide a range of quality texts both in our learning environment and for children to take home. In addition to this, we teach a rich text-based curriculum with adult support for all children. Teachers share whole texts with their classes as part of their English teaching, allowing children to access texts that may be beyond their current reading capabilities. Parent volunteers visit the school weekly to listen to children read, strengthening the home-school bond and making visible the importance we place on children’s literacy at Tidemill. We make full use of the Deptford Lounge, located next to the school with its fantastic library; classes visit regularly to exchange books. In school, we have an Audio Library stocked with quality audio books for younger readers or readers who prefer to access texts in this way. As well as these opportunities for reading, Tidemill also hosts a ‘Book Week’ festival yearly to coincide with World Book Day. This is a week-long celebration of children’s literacy, and we play host to well-known authors and design special activities to engage our children in the reading process and inspire them to be the life-long readers we wish to develop.
Teachers plan the teaching of reading by following National Curriculum and Tidemill Academy reading guidelines, which form part of our current English policy. This ensures progression of knowledge and skills across and within each key stage. Planning includes the text types and National Curriculum outcomes to be taught alongside clear learning objectives and success criteria, differentiated activities and opportunities for assessment.
In the EYFS children begin to read regularly with an adult, alongside the systematic teaching of phonics. In Nursery, phonics activities are embedded within the curriculum either as adult focus activities, part of the continuous provision or as a whole class game or activity. In Reception, daily fifteen minute phonics sessions are taught explicitly using the Letters and Sounds programme supported by Jolly Phonics in order to meet the needs of all children. Phonics is also delivered as teacher focus activities and independent activities throughout the week.
In KS1, children begin to undertake independent Guided Reading tasks as well as their targeted adult-led reading sessions and daily twenty minute phonics sessions. At Tidemill, we use reading series that can be carefully matched to children’s reading abilities (including Project X and Big Cat. Children also regularly access Bug Club. All year one children take the ‘Phonics Screening Check’, which is a statutory assessment. Those who do not meet the pass mark will be given support and intervention programmes in year two to provide them with sufficient knowledge and understanding to re-take the ‘Phonics Screening Check’. Additional phonics workshops are delivered to parents to enable them to support their children at home.
As they progress to KS2, children are taught Reciprocal Reading strategies (questioning, clarifying, summarising and predicting) to support and strengthen their comprehension of texts. These are woven through the sharing of whole class texts, and through Guided Reading carousel activities. Tidemill has a rich range of guided reading texts across the school.