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Developing Reading

Reading is a key skill that all children need to develop so that they can access content in other lessons and understand the world around them.

There are a number of techniques that you can use to help the children in your class make progress in their reading skills so that they become fluent and critical readers.

Developing reading skills is one of the most important skills that children need to master before they leave primary school. Poor reading skills will mean the children will struggle in all aspects of their lives in the future. Help the children enjoy reading by planning for opportunities where they work co-operatively and individually to access the content in different types of texts.

Reading Variety
It is important that the children get to read and discuss a variety of texts. Some children will naturally enjoy reading fiction books whereas other children will savour soaking up facts from non-fiction texts. You need to ensure that the children in your class get to experience all forms of texts which can help you identify weaknesses in their reading abilities and plan steps to help them progress. You can select quiet reading times during the school week when children can read and share different forms of texts. For example, one day of the week the children could read a non-fiction book related to the current classroom topic and then on another day the children could delve into some poetry texts. You could also allow some reading time where the children are reading some other forms of non-fiction texts such as local newspapers or recipes. By encouraging the children to develop their skills working with different types of texts this will help support the children’s learning in other lessons and their activities outside of school.

Reading Co-operation
One of the best ways of supporting and developing the children’s reading is by getting them to work closely with a partner or group of children to read and interrogate a text. Select times during the school week when the children can read and discuss a piece of text with a partner. You can either match children with the same reading ability levels or you can get more able children to support poorer readers. During the activity, the children should alternate reading different parts of the text. You can also get the children to take it in turn to ask each other questions about what they have read for their partner to find parts of the text to answer each question.

Reluctant Readers
Some children might be reluctant and reticent about reading aloud to a partner, group or class. You can plan activities to help anxious readers build their confidence in a safe learning environment. If you have access to some tablet computers you can get the children to record themselves reading a text before reviewing the video or sound files to identify and correct mistakes. Some children could also try reading aloud to a favourite teddy bear to help boost their confidence before working with another pupil. You can also get some children to read stories to a younger age group in the school. This will help increase their confidence when reading aloud in a safe environment.

Independent Readers
It is important that all children develop independent reading skills so that they can access materials and information in their school and home lives. If you have a structured reading scheme in the school then this should only form a small part of what the children are reading. As well as selecting a levelled reading scheme book to read in school and at home the children should also be encouraged to select books from the library to read and enjoy. Teach the children how to select an age appropriate text by reading the first page of the book in the library before it is borrowed. If the children can read the page with less than five mistakes then it should be suitable for their reading ability level.

Class Reading
Reading and sharing a story with the class is one of the best ways of developing the children’s listening and comprehension skills. You can use this time to introduce the class to different authors and texts that they might not yet have encountered. Reading to the class does not always have to happen at the end of the school day. You might find it better to read to the class after a busy lunchtime so that they become more settled before beginning the afternoon’s lessons. It is also important to spend a few minutes at the end of any reading session discussing the children’s understanding of the text and getting them to make predictions as to what might happen next in a fiction story or what other information might be recorded in a non-fiction information book.

Parents’ Partnerships
It is important that parents take an active role in supporting their children’s reading progress. If you have a younger age group class then you can hold some sessions after school when you can introduce the parents to the school reading scheme and provide tips and information about how they might support their child’s reading at home. You should also encourage parents to visit the school library with their child after school to select some books to read together at home. Bringing parents into the classroom provides an excellent opportunity for the children to read to another adult who can then discuss their understanding of what they have read. Working together with parents can help the children progress in their reading so that they can become fluent and independent readers.

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