Enlivening Reading at Mount Stewart
A bespoke Reading Comprehension approach at Mount Stewart written by Annie Swan and Sally Newing
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. As children’s reading develops at different rates, teaching is tailored to each child and their ability, with a focus on instilling in our children a word-rich vocabulary that will enable them to access a variety of texts. This begins in the classroom with cross-curricular displays that provide a vocabulary-rich environment to inspire and encourage our children to understand, practise and apply new words to their everyday oracy and written language. By including a vast range of vocabulary in all lessons and the physical learning environment, we aim to embed high-quality language and increase children’s retention of key vocabulary, which they can then understand and use accurately and independently. Through the tiered approach, children also learn how to group vocabulary based on their common usage and make links between words based on definition and etymology.
Children read daily in the classroom, either in shared reading pairs, one-to-one with a member of staff, or within guided reading groups. Staff teach and model reading to all children, before building on each child’s understanding of vocabulary, to increase their confidence and individual bank of word knowledge. We continuously encourage all children to read a range of texts both in school and at home, so that they have as many opportunities as possible to discuss the meaning of texts, build on their knowledge of the language and make links between texts and vocabulary. Children are given lots of opportunities to ask questions, explore texts in-depth and become used to answering a range of questions accurately and in a clear, succinct manner.
In EYFS and KS1, the teaching of systematic phonics encourages children to link sounds and letters and begin to read and write. Children are expected to apply their phonics skills in all areas of the curriculum. Phonics planning allows our children to gain a progressively deeper understanding of the phonetic structure of the English language as they move through the school, to ensure all children acquire the key tools needed to become a fluent reader.