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The importance of reading in the classroom

Posted on: 17 Jun 2016 by Headteacher

More than half of UK primary school teachers say that they do not have enough time to read and discuss books in the classroom, a new survey has found (article in the Times Ed, June 16 2016).

Earlier this year we held a well-attended Parents Workshop on the subject of Phonics and Reading, during which we shared our philosophies on the mechanics of reading and how we listen to children read.

At Edenhurst, it is our policy to hear children read on a daily basis up to Stage 10 (there are 13 Stages - Stage 10 is normally reached in Prep 4), after which the frequency decreases as they are, by then, competent readers. Reading is maintained after that as a daily Homework activity for all children.

Advice on what teachers and parents should usefully be doing while listening to children read was presented at the meeting: the full document can be found on our website here.

Reading, handwriting and spelling are all linked in our curriculum, with the emphasis being placed on the meaning of the new words the children are learning weekly. This technique has a beneficial impact on the children’s reading ages.

This week sees the pupils undertaking their annual reading age tests, the results of which help us to identify those needing a little extra support as well as being an accurate forecast of potential 11+ ambitions. The school target is to exceed the actual age by around 18 months by the time the children are in Prep 6 - this level of competency helps them to understand the language commonly used in entrance tests.

Early results so far indicate that pupils in Prep 4 and 5 are already meeting the target and in a lot of cases doing even better than that. This is fantastic news and just highlights that our policies in the teaching of reading are working most effectively.

To see an example of a pupil’s progress in reading and how it compares to national norms, including a short video, please see this page of our website.

To read the full article on the state of reading in UK schools click here.

Nick Copestick, Headmaster at Edenhurst Prep School

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