Reading at Acacias Community Primary School
Reading at Acacias
At Acacias, we recognise the importance of reading for pleasure and aim to foster and develop a love of books and inspire children to become avid readers. Our curriculum aims to put books at the core of learning, and all children have access to a wide range of high-quality text types across all subject areas. Whole class, guided and individual reading all form part of our reading provision, ensuring children are passionate and fluent readers who develop a wide range of reading skills that they can use for the rest of their lives.
Guided reading sessions take place daily in all classes, using the carousel approach: adult led and independent activities centred around vocabulary work, a pre-read, guided read and post read questions or tasks. Through this approach, all children will read with an adult at least once a week, and children who do not meet word reading expectations are targeted daily with additional reading sessions. Children are also given the opportunity to read for pleasure as part of the reading carousel, where they can read any material of their choice including books, magazines and newspapers.
Reading at home is essential to continue with the work that is done in school. Evidence suggests that children who read for enjoyment every day not only perform better in reading tests than those who don’t, but also develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures. In fact, reading for pleasure is more likely to determine whether a child does well at school than their social or economic background
It is for these reasons that we ask that children read at least five times per week at home. This can be for as little as five minutes or as long as they like. Within these five sessions, three should be independent and two should be with an adult. Each time a read takes place, it should be recorded in the child’s reading record.
KS2 Home Reading
In KS2, we use the Renaissance Accelerated Reader program for our children’s home reading books. Accelerated Reader is a nationwide reading program that is used to motivate and encourage children to read books at school and at home. It allows teachers to manage and monitor children’s independent reading and is closely tailored to match a child’s reading ability and needs. All children are assigned a zone of proximal development (ZPD) range. ZPD is the range of books that will challenge a child without causing frustration or loss of motivation. Home reading books have coloured stickers that indicate the level of the book. Once a child has completed a book, they will need to take a short quiz on an iPad or computer at school. Passing the quiz is an indicator that a child has read and understood the book.
You can find out more about Accelerated Reader by clicking here.
KS1 and EYFS Home Reading
The home reading books in KS1 and EYFS are chosen to reflect the phonics level each child is working at. The books have been checked to ensure they are decodable and contain tricky words which will be familiar to the children. Children are provided with two decodable reading books, one that is matched to the learning from phonics for the week and one which is matched to their reading ability. Children are encouraged to read to an adult at home each day and to share a story at bedtime to widen their vocabulary.
Championing Reading at Acacias
We have lots of ways of championing reading and celebrating our reading successes at Acacias.
World Book Day
Every year, we really look forward to our annual World Book Day celebration. We engage our children in lots of fun activities, including our Extreme Reader Challenge, Create a Toilet Roll Book Character competition and our super popular book swap. This year, we themed our WBD celebrations around the story book Where the Wild Things Are. We transformed our school hall into the imaginary dream world that the main character Max travels to. Mr Griffiths read the story to us and we danced a wild rumpus like the characters in the story. Each class also created their own Wild Thing and these are proudly on display in our main entrance and school library.
Each week, raffle tickets are given out in each class that count towards our remarkable reading raffle. The children who have read the highest number of words or who have quizzed the most books, are rewarded with a raffle ticket that is put into a special pot in each classroom. At the end of each term, a ticket is drawn in our celebration assembly and the winners get to choose a book of their choice. These are then presented in a later celebration assembly.
One of our most popular reading incentives is the prestigious Millionaires’ Club. If any child in UKS2 reads one million words, or half a million in LKS2, then they are presented with the much coveted ticket to the Millionaires’’ Club. The owners of these tickets are permitted to join a special end of year trip. Last year, we took 26 millionaires into Manchester city centre where we visited Waterstones bookshop. The children were allowed to browse the shelves before spending their £10 vouchers. Afterwards, we had a guided tour of Central Library before we met the leader of Manchester City Council Bev Craig. We had a Q & A session with her all about reading and then she showed us around the council chambers. I wonder what the trip will be this year?
Our School Library
This year’s WBD was extra-special as we finally opened our school library. It has been a long road to finally getting our amazing reading space up and running. We started to develop the library in 2020 before the Covid-19 pandemic halted its progress. However, after lots of hard work, we finally had the grand opening on World Book Day, where the oldest and youngest children in school cut the red ribbon. We are currently in the process of appointing librarians, who will look after and run the library so that it can be used throughout the school day.
Each class has a protected slot each day in their timetables where the teacher will read the class story. Teachers aim to make story time as engaging as possible by dimming the lights, putting a cosy fire on the interactive whiteboard and allowing children to lie down to be more comfortable. As a UNICEF Rights Respecting School, our children vote on what book they would like as their class read (Article 12: Your right to be listened to and say what you think should happen). Books are chosen from the school’s reading spine which can be found below:
Recommended Reads/100 Books Before You Leave Acacias
As a school, we have identified 100 key books that we think all children should have had the opportunity to read before they leave Acacias. We asked staff and children for books that they had enjoyed reading, both at home and in school, and collated their ideas for our list of 100 books to read before you leave Acacias. Take a look at the list and see how many you have read.