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On Monday 25th September, Parents and Carers at Heronswood Primary School were invited to attend a Reading Workshop. Reading is given high priority at Heronswood.

Every child is a reader!  This is evident in each classroom, where you would find a warm and inviting book corner, where reading for pleasure is clearly promoted and enjoyed.  Parents at the workshop agreed with the expectation of reading five days a week.

The event was well attended by parents who first discussed the importance of Reading, not only the Primary curriculum but also life in general. Research reinforces that reading develops cognitive development and also can alleviate stress. Then Mrs Kingston gave an outline of Reading at Heronswood.

As early as Preschool, children are encouraged to share books with an adult and talk about the pictures. This is a vital skill that is the basis for more complex Reading skills. Phonics also begins in Preschool, which then flows through to Reception as the children progress through to Phase Five. Books are banded to ensure a progression of challenge.

Moving through the school, the children enjoy Guided Reading sessions daily, where they enjoy reading; analyse texts using the reading skills: predict, clarify, explain, retrieve, infer and summarise and complete tasks based on the texts read.

Parents also learned about Reciprocal Reading. This is a group approach to reading so it is ideal to use in Guided Reading. If possible, frequent or consecutive sessions, i.e. more than once a week, enable children to develop confidence in using the strategies.

The Reciprocal Reading strategies are also used in shared reading where the teacher demonstrates and models the approach and how they can make a prediction or find the answer to questions.

It was also explained how adopting Reciprocal Reading strategies as an effective approach allows Heronswood to ensure that children develop a language for talking about and investigating texts and sorting out difficulties.

It is also potentially very useful as a consistent approach to support children's reading in different curriculum areas - particularly valuable for secondary schools anxious about literacy across the curriculum.

In every classroom, the children enjoy listening to their class book, which is read to them each day.

Parents and carers were also given a leaflet which enables targeted questions, supporting the different reading skills. 

Mrs Kingston also introduced a new initiative to encourage children to read. After half term, each child in school will be invited to complete a reading challenge. This will be a list of books to read by the end of the year.  In addition to the challenge, each child who reads five days a week, will be invited to a termly get together, along with an adult from home – to celebrate their achievement.  Parents and Carers thought this was a great idea!

Children in each class then eagerly shared their Reading activities with the visiting adults.

Feedback from the workshop was very positive. ’I will question my daughter more on the wider picture now when we read.’ Year two parent.  ‘The Reading challenge will help me gauge suitable reading material for my child.’  Reception parent.


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