Reading at the Heart
‘After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.’ Philip Pullman
At Freshford Church School, we know reading is at the heart of all learning across the curriculum. We endeavour to ensure that all children leave our school not only reading well and prepared to read any text at secondary level across the curriculum, but as lifelong lovers of books. From EYFS to year 6, we believe that a genuine passion for reading should be developed, that access to great literature is an entitlement, that books provide a window on the world that can encourage children to become not only more knowledgeable, but also instil more reflective, questioning, empathetic and compassionate attitudes.
Reading and progress as a learner
A love of reading is the biggest indicator of future academic success. OECD – The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
We believe that the key to academic success lies with reading. At Freshford we believe that learning to read is not a linear process whereby teaching and learning of decoding is followed by teaching and learning of language comprehension: we believe that our systematic and excellent teaching of phonetics is a tool through which a child is empowered to decode the written word and have greater capacity for fluent reading and deep comprehending. In this process, a child is reading to learn. Therefore, a child a Freshford learns to decode using phonetic knowledge alongside being drawn into how to think about meaning. Once the skills of decoding have been mastered and as the comprehension of a child develops with age and experience of the world, our focus in teaching reading lies with providing children with opportunities to achieve deep understanding of the text.
Reading at Home
‘That pleasure is not far away...But don’t let the years go by. Just wait for nightfall, open the bedroom door, sit by their bed, and start reading together.’
‘Free. That was how they experienced it. A gift. Time out. In spite of everything. The bedtime story relieved them of their daytime burdens. ‘
Daniel Pennac, The Rights of the Reader
We believe that the reading at home with a child throughout the primary years is not only important in the learning process for children, but is precious for the social-emotional connections created. As such, a bedtime story is the home learning activity that we will always promote, encourage and insist on. We establish age-appropriate dialogue between home and school about each child’s reading using See-saw and reading logs.
Teachers as readers: building a community of readers.
Teachers at Freshford are knowledgeable and passionate about reading and literature, constantly refreshing their awareness of literature new and old. We are well placed to monitor, share and enthusiastically recommend books for individual children and books to be shared with the whole class. We model the pleasure of reading and reading for pleasure. Each class and the library have a well-stocked and inviting bookshelf as well as well provisioned sets of whole class readers in KS2 thanks to our generous PTA who share this belief in the value of reading enticing high-quality books.
Reading in the Freshford Curriculum
‘To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries’
Through BIG QUESTIONs we enable children to explore concepts, make connections and build cultural capital. Central to this is a rich diet of inter-related fiction and non-fiction in class reading: this not only deepens conceptual connections through subject matter, but also opens opportunity to read and process extended texts with subject specific vocabulary from across the curriculum, whether science, history, RE, geography, philosophy or maths. We believe that reading is the key component in internalising knowledge and making connections; furthermore, this process is strengthened further still when it is journey shared by the class through and around the written word.