Reading and Vocabulary
Our teaching focuses on the two dimensions to reading – ‘word recognition’ and ‘language comprehension’.
We have a sharp focus on high-quality phonics teaching, ensuring that children rapidly gain the crucial skill of word recognition that once mastered, enables them to read fluently, freeing them to concentrate on the meaning of the text, building their language comprehension skills. They progress from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn’ for purpose and pleasure.
A robust and continuous assessment of children’s phonic progress is used to identify those who may be falling behind, allowing support to be given to ensure they keep up, not catch up.
Word Poverty Matters! We view words as a commodity.
- Evidence shows that vocabulary is one of the most significant factors to children achieving higher grades at GCSE in most subjects.
- The vocabulary gap starts early (by the age of 2) and is hugely significant.
- Children can have a 30-million-word gap before children even enter school.
- The link between vocabulary at 5-7 years old as a significant predictor of reading comprehension and academic understanding at GCSE.
- Less than 1/3 of children are read to at home daily. Children who are read to at home will hear 1.4 million ‘rare words’ yearly that improve language development and understanding.
- Children’s books have 50% rarer words than the language of television, or even the conversation of graduates.
We close the vocabulary gap through planned and explicit vocabulary teaching. All the words and phrases needed to understand texts are taught as explicitly as possible. Key vocabulary lists for each subject have been generated and are deliberately taught in context. Grandma Fantastic is one method used in Early Years to teach deliberate vocabulary.
We have a ‘Ten Minutes Reading Aloud a Day Pledge’ which is over and above any other reading that occurs. Just 10 minutes a day exposes a child to around extra 700,000 words a year.
Children’s fluency, confidence and enjoyment in reading is central to our curriculum as a whole. Reading has been integrated into our curriculum from the very beginning. For example, in science we develop children’s capacity to read scientific texts alongside learning the scientific concepts themselves. Every possible opportunity is made for children to learn about the topics we cover in each unit through reading about them.