At Sacred Heart we use the Oxford Reading Tree and Collins Big Cat reading schemes. These books are used for whole class guided reading in school as well as reading at home. When children finish the reading schemes, they are able to choose a reading book of their own choice. We view reading skills as very important to children’s success in school and work. In addition, reading can be a fun and imaginative activity, which opens doors to all kinds of new worlds for them. Reading and writing, across a range of genres, are important ways we use language to communicate. Therefore it is vital that children have an opportunity to read as widely as possible in order to develop these essential life skills.
As a starting point, children need to be able to retrieve information from what they have read, but there are a number of other reading objectives. Children learn how to interpret feelings and emotions and to use these to make predictions. They are guided to identify a writer's viewpoint and comment on the author's choice of language, structure and presentation. Performance poetry now appears under the Reading heading in English, so this is taught as a distinct objective as part of lessons.
At Sacred Heart, we are very keen to promote reading, and to offer support to families to encourage their children to develop a love of reading. For example, in September each class hosts a ‘Learning Together’ morning to provide an opportunity for children and their families to work together on this shared goal.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of questions that we would encourage you to discuss with your child, as appropriate, when reading at home.
- Where does the story take place?
- Who are the characters in the book?
- What happened in the story?
- Where in the book would you find…?
- Can you sum up what happens in these three/four/five… paragraphs?
- How do you feel about…?
- What do these words mean and why do you think the author chose them?
- Which stories have openings like this? Do you think this story will develop in the same way?
- How is character X like someone you know? Do you think they will react in the same way?
- Why do you think the author chose to use a… question/bullet/subheading/table to present the information?
- In what ways do the illustrations support the instructions/text?
- The writer uses words like … to describe …. What does this tell you about a character or setting?
- What other words/phrases could the author have used?
- Compare and contrast different characters/settings/themes in the text.