Reading at Swimbridge


We aim to provide children with a literacy-rich environment, high quality texts and inspiring learning opportunities, which will help them to:

  • Gain a life-long enjoyment of reading and books.

  • Read accurately, fluently and with understanding;

  • Apply a knowledge of structured synthetic phonics in order to decode unfamiliar words with increasing accuracy and speed;

  • Be able to read with expression, clarity and confidence;

  • Develop a good linguistic knowledge of vocabulary and grammar;

  • Read and respond to a wide range of different types of texts;

  • Develop a deeper level of emotional intelligence and empathy;

  • Read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.

Reading Implementation

Guided Reading

In Key Stage 1 Guided reading is delivered by the teacher, or a teaching assistant, working with a smaller group of about six children. For small group learning activities the children are grouped according to reading ability. This means that the teacher is able to choose a book at an appropriate reading level. This strategy is our main teaching approach throughout the school and takes place in every class each week, A typical guided reading session lasts for between 15 and 30 minutes and includes:

  • A text is introduced and discussed.

  • Children will be asked to make predictions about the book by using clues from the title, layout and images.

  • The teacher will share a reading objective or focus activity for the chosen text.

  • The teacher will recall and revisit different strategies to help decode new or tricky vocabulary.

  • The children read the text; on their own, with a partner or within the group.

  • The teacher will observe and prompt the children during their reading.

  • The teacher refers back to the main learning objective or focus and brings the group together.

  • Children might be asked to identify particular words, to talk about certain characters, or to express opinions.

Guided Reading sessions also include a variety of activities designed to extend the children and address teaching points such as retrieving information; understanding inference and deduction; commenting on the writer’s viewpoint and effectiveness; and the historical and cultural traditions of the text.

In the Foundation Stage the main focus is on decoding and retrieval of information. In KS1 the focus is preparing to develop comprehension strategies and in KS2 this is extended further to a deeper level of analysis.

Whole Class Reading

In whole class reading sessions, there is a high level of interaction between teachers and pupils in order to develop a good level of comprehension. Children are exposed to a wide range of high-quality texts and discussion in an immersive environment that aims to provide appropriate challenges to build on pupils’ existing knowledge and understanding.

In whole class reading sessions, there is a high level of interaction between teachers and pupils in order to develop a good level of comprehension. Children are exposed to a wide range of high-quality texts and discussion in an immersive environment that aims to provide appropriate challenges to build on pupils’ existing knowledge and understanding.

In KS1 the children read in Guided reading groups with children of similar ability. They

In KS2, we have adopted a whole class reading approach, which allows all children to comprehend above their word reading ‘level’ using the VIPERS comprehension skills.

The mnemonic ‘VIPERS’ covers the key comprehension skills:

  • Vocabulary

  • Inference

  • Prediction

  • Explain

  • Retrieve

  • Summarise

Independent Reading

Independent reading is the reading that children do on their own, at school and at home. In class the children may work as a group, or will read independently with a teacher, teaching assistant or adult volunteer.

We believe that independent reading plays an important part in developing children’s reading skills and confidence. Throughout the school the children have access to a variety of different text styles in class, our reading bay and in our library and they are given opportunities to freely choose and read at their own pace.

The ideal book for independent reading is one that allows the child to practise the learning from a Guided Reading session. In this case, the book should be slightly easier than the child’s Guided Reading book because the child is reading on their own.

Most importantly, independent reading is the time when children get to choose their own books and can enjoy reading for pleasure as well as reading to learn.

Reading Schemes at Swimbridge

EYFS and Key Stage 1

  • Children will receive a phonics book matched to the sounds they have been taught within school closely matched to their ability in order to develop their confidence and fluency. There is an expectation that this book will be read several times throughout the week to develop your child’s confidence and fluency. The book should be 95% readable and therefore your child’s need to segment words into sounds should reduce the more the text is read. Once your child can read the book fluently without segmenting words and an adult has signed the home reading log to acknowledge this, the book can be changed.

  • In addition to their scheme book, children will receive a free choice book to share with an adult. There is no expectation that your child will read this independently. It is to be shared with an adult to develop sight vocabulary, a love of reading and to increase exposure to new vocabulary.

  • Once your child has completed the Year 2 scheme and is deemed a confident, fluent reader, their reading ability will move on to the BIg Cat Collins scheme.

Key Stage 2

  • In Key Stage 2 children follow the Big Cat Collins reading scheme working through these coloured bands:

  • Copper- Provides more complex plots and longer chapters that develop reading stamina

  • Topaz- Offers longer and more demanding readers for children to investigate and evaluate

  • Ruby - Provides increasing opportunities for children to develop their skills of inference and deduction

  • Emerald- Provides a widening range of genres, prompting more ways to respond to texts

  • Sapphire- Offers longer reads to develop children's sustained engagement with texts that are more complex syntactically

  • Diamond- Offers more complex, underlying themes to give opportunities for children to understand causes and points of view

  • Pearl- Offers fluent readers a complex, substantial text with challenging themes to facilitate sustained comprehension.

The children in Key stage 2 also have the opportunity to choose a free reader ‘Big Blue’ or ‘Big Green’ fiction book selection in the library or a Non Fiction interest book.

One to One Reading

At Swimbridge School, this approach is used throughout the EYFS to support the development of sound phonic knowledge and skills in decoding words for reading. Each child reads to a teacher or teaching assistant. This approach is also used with children who are requiring additional support with their reading and for assessment purposes.

Reading for Pleasure

All staff encourage the children in all year groups to read widely. Although our reading schemes provide an excellent resource, the rich language and images found in the brilliant picture books and chapter books by popular authors are essential reading for every child. These books can give your child an opportunity to stretch their reading, experience different text types, and, enhances their reading immeasurably.

As well as rereading scheme books we strongly recommend our school and local library. Reading widely and often will improve how your child imagines, creates stories, writes and communicates ideas. All children need plenty of opportunity to talk about books, to share favourite books and to browse for enjoyment or to find information.

Developing a positive attitude to reading and books is as important as learning to read itself.

Reading Records

At Swimbridge School we recognise the importance of the time and effort parents put into reading to and with children in the home. To support this we ask that parents record all home reading and we encourage dialogue between parents and teachers through a reading record.

Children are encouraged to read every day and record this in their home reading record. This reading can include books sent home from school and the books your child chooses to read from their own collection or the local library.

Reading from a wide selection gives your child the experience of reading for pleasure and enjoyment. The reading record gives the teacher valuable information on your child’s interests and reading experiences.

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