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At HJS we are passionate about reading because being able to read well matters. It significantly impacts on success in school and beyond. We believe that equipping children with reading skills leads to success in all areas of their education, inspires creativity, boosts self-confidence and offers greater potential to lead to rewarding and enriching lives. Reading can take children into imagined worlds far beyond their own experience, and make possible endless opportunities to explore new areas of learning, thinking and ideas. The power of reading is immense, and we want children to be able to take full advantage of the benefits, pleasure and enjoyment that it has to offer.  

We immerse children in a language rich environment in order to maximise their communication skills. This supports the use of high quality vocabulary. It underpins progress and attainment in reading and writing so that children learn to read as a writer and write as a reader. 

Guided reading sessions in class

Three times a week each class has a ‘Whole Class guided reading session’. During a session every child in the class will be reading the same text. Reading aloud builds a culture of expressive reading. There will be numerous opportunities for children to read during these sessions including whole class reading aloud (including choral reading and echo reading), paired reading (including ping pong reading) and reading independently. During these sessions we follow Reading VIPERS. VIPERS is an acronym to aid the recall of the 6 reading domains as part of the UK’s reading curriculum (Vocabulary, Inference, Predict, Explain, Retrieve, Summarise) and links directly to the National Curriculum.  They are the key areas which we know children need to understand in order to improve their comprehension of texts. 

Each classroom has the Reading VIPERS displayed and the class teacher will make explicit links to the skill the children will be learning about. This gives all children across the school a common language to discuss their reading knowledge and understanding. During these sessions we use high-quality engaging texts covering a wide range of genres, a mix of extracts, short texts, whole books, poetry, song lyrics and non-fiction. 

These sessions allow opportunities for children to engage in higher order questioning. They also enable those children that find the mechanics of reading difficult to stay motivated to become fluent readers by helping them experience high-quality texts, that they might not be able to access independently, as well as developing their comprehensive skills.  


Supporting children who are not reading at age related expectations

Children who are not making expected progress are rapidly identified. We have a variety of ways to support these children. We believe that equality isn’t treating everyone the same, it is ensuring all of our children have what they need to succeed. We use bespoke interventions tailored to children’s needs that are designed to improve a range of skills. For example, if a child is struggling with their decoding of words and the mechanics of reading they might take part in a rigorous phonics programme. If a child needed to develop their fluency they might take part in a paired reading programme.  

These interventions are in addition to taking part in the whole class guided reading sessions. It is really important that all children remain in the whole class guided reading sessions to enable them to experience and discuss rich, imaginative texts. Not only will it introduce them to and familiarise them with challenging vocabulary but it will enable their comprehension and inference skills to still further develop. During these sessions we have a variety of ways to support these children in staying motivated and engaged: they may have a ‘Reading Buddy’, someone who is sat beside them role modelling and reading aloud to them; the teacher or TA might read with a specific group of children taking turns; a group of children might pre-read ahead of the rest of the class. 

Reading for pleasure

We intentionally timetable reading for pleasure sessions. These give children the opportunity to use their imagination to explore new ideas, visit new places and meet new characters. Interestingly, reading for pleasure also improves children's well-being and empathy. It helps them to understand their own identity, and gives them an insight into the world and the views of others

We ensure that children have opportunities to read for pleasure:

  • Whole school Friday afternoon focus on reading for pleasure 

  • Weekly visits to our school library and the option of using the library at break times and lunchtimes  

  • Class book corner with a diverse collection of books 

  • Reading Ambassadors from each class who recommend books to others

  • Biannual book fair  

Diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are topics where books can be an invaluable aid in helping children learn about different cultures and experiences. Children need to learn about all aspects of diversity and feel empowered to discuss what makes us all unique, valued and respected. More so than ever it is crucial to share with children books and texts which represent diverse and varied experiences and cultures. We are currently working on creating diverse bookshelves that are full of books to help build understanding, empathy and tolerance of our different backgrounds. We want to share books with our children within which they can all see themselves, and which reflect our world community in all of its diversity. 

We have a 'Read around the world' display in the main corridor which showcases books from a diverse range of cultures that children can borrow to read both in school and at home. 

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