One of the four principles that drive our curriculum here at Norton is that every child should leave us at the end of Year 6 an avid reader.
Reading is central to everything we do. From the moment the children start school, they are exposed to books daily, whether to browse freely, to share for pleasure or to stimulate an aspect of learning. In conjunction with their parents/carers, the children are supported in learning to read in school through the use of the Read Write Inc programme. This programme enables children to climb the higher rungs of the fluency ladder. This is achieved by accelerating reading accuracy and developing comprehension.
The teaching of reading and writing is rigorous, consistent and of the highest quality so that children can reach the expected standard of the Phonics screening check. Teachers are experienced and well-trained so that they know how to teach even the most struggling reader. The programme is designed so that all children develop reading fluency so they can read with comprehension; as importantly, they will also develop the co-operative behaviour necessary for them to articulate their ideas and understanding.
In Key Stage 1, children continue with daily Read Write Inc sessions. Their progress is tracked individually throughout the year, so that intervention can be put into place in order that a child should not become 'stuck'. They also have timetabled guided reading slots where they read with an adult and work on decoding, accuracy, fluency, expression and comprehension. They experience a wide range of texts throughout the year, which will challenge them in different ways. We are constantly updating our school and class libraries, and it is our mission that every child will see themselves in a book. As they read, whether individually, in pairs, to an adult, or within a small group, they learn to retrieve information from a text and make simple inferences and deductions. Reading for pleasure is hugely important, not least for vocabulary acquisition, so home reading is rewarded in our celebration assemblies with 'Reading Rainbows' and also, for more confident readers, 'Accelerated Reader' certificates. Readers who need that little extra support are heard daily by staff or volunteer helpers. Class teachers read each day from smaller stories or poetry books, to longer class readers.
In Key Stage 2, Reading activities are incorporated within English lessons, with texts being chosen to support their learning. We continue to support struggling readers with daily 1-to-1 reading with an adult, and progress and attainment are continually assessed both formally and informally. The school used PIRA assessments termly, which analyse pupils' individual strengths and weaknesses, and SHINE Reading interventions, which use this information to produce intervention programmes geared towards addressing those weaknesses. Class reading books are used to promote a love of reading and allow children to access texts of a higher level or more challenging content than they might be able to on their own. STAR Reading assessments, which the children take online, inform their reading level which guides them in their choice of individual reading books to take home and read outside school; these levels are instrumental in the success of our Accelerated Reader programme, which allows staff to monitor individual reading habits and levels of comprehension to ensure children are reading at the right level to progress and be challenged.
The STAR test online, which the children sit several times each year in school, generates a ZPD level which corresponds to the categorisation of the vast majority of our class and school library books. This allows the children to select a book from a range appropriate to their reading level. On completion of the book, they are encouraged to log on to their own accounts and 'quiz' on that book. Successful quizzes, in which the child scores 60% or more of the questions correctly, are translated into a word count which accumulates as the weeks go by - children are rewarded in our celebration assemblies with the following certificates:
- Bronze Award for 100,000 words read
- Silver Award for 250,000 words read
- Gold Award for 500,000 words read
- Platinum Award for 1,000,000 words read
In the academic year 2021-2022, the children of Norton School read approximately 60 million words, with many 'millionaires' as well as many of our Year 1 children starting their Accelerated Reader journey. The regular celebration of reading and the lively book chat which buzzes around each class makes for a very positive reading culture in the school - children enjoy reading at Norton, and are good readers.