The teaching of word reading and reading skills is essential to a child’s learning journey throughout primary school. At Highwood, we promote a love of reading through many different teaching and learning approaches:
- Spellings, Punctuation and Grammar
- Guided Reading and Shared Reading
- Reading at Home.
The school is grateful to the Friends of Highwood who have kindly used funds raised to support the children in their progress in Key stage one. They have invested in the Reading Eggs programme.
It is a highly recommend and proven programme to develop a child’s reading through fun games and activities. Children will need assistance at times, but they will be able to complete many of the activities themselves.
You will find your child’s login details in the front of their reading record.
Here is a reminder of the programs available
Fast Phonics – The Fast phonics program highlights the proven power of systematic synthetic phonics instruction to boost reading skills fast! The program reinforces key phonics skills including letter–sound recognition, blending all through the word, spelling skills, nonwords, syllables and reading captions. Peak 1-6 focus on phase 2 sounds, Peak 7 -12 focus on phase 3 sounds. Peak 13 – 14 focus on phase 4 clusters and Peaks 15-20 focus on phase 5 sounds.
Reading Eggs – Makes learning to read interesting and engaging for kids, with great reading games and activities. Children love the games, songs, golden eggs and other rewards, which along with feeling proud of their learning, really motivates children to keep exploring and learning.
Reading Express – Is designed for older readers and provides them with a unique and effective learning environment where they can improve their English language and comprehension skills in a way that is both exciting and relevant.
To help you get the most out of each programme, please take a moment to explore all the resources available to your child by looking at the console map.
You can also find many useful videos by following the link below.
Here are 5 top tips:
- Remember you can find certificates for your child each time they complete a map under the “Awards” icon to help keep them motivated (see console map attached). Once they have been awarded a certificate pleases do bring it in to share with the class.
- As your child reaches the final maps of Reading Eggs, take a look at ‘Clinker Castle’ which is located within Storylands and is designed to bridge the gap between Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress for students who are ready for something more advanced.
- Storylands opens after Reading Eggs lesson 60 and is recommended for children who have begun reading but are yet to graduate to Reading Eggs Lessons have activities before and after a student reads a book and the books also have an audio reader option to support a good model of fluent reading.
- Encourage your child to spend time in the library, there are more than 2,500 books with quizzes to complete, they can then collect points for reading of their own accord.
- Once your child has completed all Reading Eggs has to offer, have a go at accessing Reading Eggspress.
If you have any questions, please contact your class teacher.
For parents: reading stories to children
The following has been drawn together by the DfE to provide guidance:
10 top tips for parents to support children to read.
- Encourage your child to read
Reading helps your child’s wellbeing, develops imagination and has educational benefits too. Just a few minutes a day can have a big impact on children of all ages.
- Read aloud regularly
Try to read to your child every day. It’s a special time to snuggle up and enjoy a story. Stories matter and children love re-reading them and poring over the pictures. Try adding funny voices to bring characters to life.
- Encourage reading choice
Give children lots of opportunities to read different things in their own time – it doesn’t just have to be books. There’s fiction, non-fiction, poetry, comics, magazines, recipes and much more. Try leaving interesting reading material in different places around the home and see who picks it up.
- Read together
Choose a favourite time to read together as a family and enjoy it. This might be everyone reading the same book together, reading different things at the same time, or getting your children to read to each other. This time spent reading together can be relaxing for all.
- Create a comfortable environment
Make a calm, comfortable place for your family to relax and read independently – or together.
- Make use of your local library
Libraries in England are able to open from 4 July, so visit them when you’re able to and explore all sorts of reading ideas. Local libraries also offer brilliant online materials, including audiobooks and ebooks to borrow. See Libraries Connected for more digital library services and resources.
- Talk about books
This is a great way to make connections, develop understanding and make reading even more enjoyable. Start by discussing the front cover and talking about what it reveals and suggests the book could be about. Then talk about what you’ve been reading and share ideas. You could discuss something that happened that surprised you, or something new that you found out. You could talk about how the book makes you feel and whether it reminds you of anything.
- Bring reading to life
You could try cooking a recipe you’ve read together. Would you recommend it to a friend? Alternatively, play a game where you pretend to be the characters in a book, or discuss an interesting article you’ve read.
9. Make reading active
Play games that involve making connections between pictures, objects and words, such as reading about an object and finding similar things in your home. You could organise treasure hunts related to what you’re reading. Try creating your child’s very own book by using photos from your day and adding captions.
- Engage your child in reading in a way that suits them
You know your child best and you’ll know the best times for your child to read. If they have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) then short, creative activities may be the way to get them most interested. If English is an additional language, encourage reading in a child’s first language, as well as in English. What matters most is that they enjoy it.
From year 4 onwards, children begin their Accelerated Reader journey. Accelerated Reader aims to assess your child’s reading age and identify areas of development in reading skills against the objectives of the National Curriculum. Reading ages are assessed through the completion of a Star Test (an online reading test that the children take at least 4 times per academic year) which generates a ZPD number.
A Star Test is an online tool that assesses your child’s reading age. It is highly accurate and ensures that your child is reading books that both strengthen their skills and challenges them further. There are 34 questions on a Star Reader Test and each of them is computer adaptive. This means that the difficulty of each question is based on how well the previous question was answered. The first 11 questions are based on children’s knowledge of vocabulary; the rest of the questions are based on reading skills such as retrieval and inference. The Star test should take between 20-30 minutes to complete and is done completely independently
After your child has completed a Star Test, a ZPD number is generated. ZPD stands for Zone of Proximal Development and is based on what areas of reading your child needs to strengthen and where they need to be challenged. An example of a ZPD number could be: 4.1- 6.2. This means that your child can choose a book that is labelled with a number within this range. Any books towards the bottom end of the range will strengthen areas of your child’s reading ability; numbers towards the top of the range will focus on areas for challenge.
MyOn is an online reading tool that each child has access to through a username and password. There are lots of books that the children can read online that are suitable for their reading age and ZPD level. This online tool records data, such as your child’s reading time, their reading speed and their engagement levels. All of this contributes towards their progression as a reader.
The majority of the library books that are labelled with a ZPD number also have online quizzes attached to them. When your child finishes a book, they can take the quiz at school. If they pass the quiz, they can change their book – it might also improve their ZPD range (they can check this on their MyOn account)! If your child does not pass the quiz, they are encouraged to read the book again to improve their comprehension skills. Passing the quiz is an indication that the child has understood what was read. Accelerated Reader gives children, and teachers feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher then uses to help set goals and direct ongoing reading practice.
Children using Accelerated Reader choose their own books to read within their reading range, rather than having one assigned to them; this makes reading a much more enjoyable experience as they can choose books that are interesting to them. The books within a child’s reading range are at an appropriate readability level so that they are challenging without being frustrating, ensuring that children can pass the quiz and experience success.