At Beeliar Primary School, reading is a whole school priority focus. We set high expectations for our students and believe that every child is capable of reading and making progress. We believe that by providing students with access to high quality literature, along with the tools to be proficient readers, that all students can develop a lifelong love of reading.
For children to become accomplished readers, they must to be provided with a variety of learning programs including:
- A K-6 whole school reading scope and sequence;
- A systematic whole school phonics program;
- Explicit direct instruction of reading strategies;
- Ongoing termly reading targets;
- Opportunities to learn and apply reading strategies to critically analyse and discuss complex texts;
- Exposure to an extensive range of high quality literature;
- Repeated reading to develop fluency;
- Differentiated reading instruction;
- Reading integrated across all curriculum areas;
- Opportunities to apply reading skills during independent reading time at school and at home.
We are passionate about the value of reading to our children’s education and have implemented whole school programs to address the above criteria.
At the conclusion of 2017, we analysed our whole school data and identified reading comprehension as a priority focus for 2018/19. From extensive research, we developed and introduced the Beeliar Critical Reading Model across all year levels. Critical thinkers analyse, evaluate and synthesise the information they hear or read. They ask relevant questions, challenge ideas and transfer their understandings to new situations. We believe that for deep, quality learning to occur, children need to be provided with the tools and opportunities to apply their critical thinking skills.
Critical reading requires careful analysis of complex, engaging passages of texts whilst promoting critical thinking and collaborative peer discussion. Students engage with reading and analysing a passage of text multiple times over 3-4 lessons. Each reading has a defined purpose, supported by carefully designed text dependent questions. This allows students to engage and discuss the text on a deep level. Students also develop annotation skills that assist in their understanding of a text, in addition to developing effective study habits.
The five main elements to support critical reading are:
1.Repeated readings of short, complex and high interest passages of text;
2.Annotation of the text to reflect thinking and new understandings;
3.Strategically planned and sequenced text-dependent questions;
4.Collaborative discussion and analysis of the text using academic language;
5.High quality, engaging after reading activities.
Skills acquired during Critical Reading sessions translate across all areas of the curriculum.
Our model was introduced in Semester 2, 2018. Since implementation, we have seen benefits to students’:
- Comprehension skills;
- Confidence in choosing and reading challenging texts;
- Oral language and communication skills;
- Listening skills;
- Collaborative skills;
- Extended vocabulary;
- Writing (texts are used as modelled examples for students’ written work).
The Critical Reading Model is supported by the explicit teaching (EDI) of reading strategies and encourages students to foster a love of high quality literature and reading. It addresses the ‘deep’ learning in our Beeliar Instructional Model. Students know that to understand a complex text, they must engage with it several times in a meaningful way.
At Beeliar Primary School, developing reading skills and a lifelong love of reading is one of our focus priorities. Research has shown a strong correlation between independent reading and reading achievement. It is understood that independent reading has a positive effect on:
- Reading fluency;
- Practice of learned skills;
- Developing a wide bank of vocabulary;
- Confidence in choosing and reading a variety of texts;
- Developing a bank of general knowledge;
- Sparking an interest in reading.
We believe it is essential to provide students with time to develop a positive relationship with reading and engage with a good book. Each class begins the first 20 minutes of their school day with Drop Everything And Read (DEAR). Students use books from the classroom library, school library or books brought in from home.
During this time, your child’s classroom teacher might be:
- Talking to students about the books they are reading to develop comprehension skills;
- Guiding students to choose high interest books at an appropriate level;
- Listening to students read aloud to assist in developing their fluency and expression;
- Conducting ongoing reading assessments to help students achieve their reading goals.
At home, you can ask your child about the book he/she is reading during DEAR time. It’s a great opportunity to show your interest in their reading.
Should you wish to assist in the classroom by listening to students read during DEAR time, please see your child’s classroom teacher. We would be delighted to have your support.
Reading is one of the most important fundamental skills in a child’s education. Research has shown that children who read for just 20 minutes per day are exposed to approximately 1.8 million words each year. In comparison, a child reading just one minute per day is exposed to just 800 words per school year.
- Provides opportunities to practice skills learned at school;
- Develops children’s fluency;
- Creates opportunities for quality time with your child;
- Helps develop a love of reading;
- Provides exposure to a wide range of vocabulary.
Home reading books are generally texts that your child can read confidently and fluently. It is our expectation that students will read or engage with a book for at least 20 minutes each night. Weekly home reading folders are sent home by classroom teachers, as well as appropriate levelled texts to suit students’ individual needs.
At times, your child may bring home a library book that may be too difficult to read independently. This is a great opportunity for a shared reading experience between you and your child. By listening to an adult read, children are being exposed to a wide range of vocabulary, developing a love of reading and cultivating their imagination. When children are read to by an adult, habits of a successful reader are being modelled.
Children who read more frequently, develop stronger reading skills and as a result, are more likely to achieve across all areas of the curriculum. We are firm believers in the value and importance of nightly home reading. A little each day will make a whole lot of difference.
Termly Reading Targets
Individual learning goals have a strong correlation with student achievement and provide the greatest impact when developed by the child. John Hattie’s research suggests that effective learners set clear learning goals and know what needs to be done to achieve them.
Our classroom teachers closely monitor our students’ reading progress using PM and PROBE benchmark assessments. With guidance from the classroom teachers, our students set personal reading targets each term, along with their proposed steps for success. When students achieve their reading goal, their achievement is celebrated with a certificate from the principal. The aim is to increase the purpose and motivation for students to improve their reading.
You might assist your child in achieving their term reading target by:
- Reading with your child for at least 20 minutes each night;
- Encouraging reading a variety of different materials;
- Visiting the local library to offer a wide range of books and genres;
- Talking to your child about their reading goals and their steps for success;
- Finding opportunities for different reading experiences;
- Encouraging independent reading at home;
- Discussing the books your child is reading.
The more practice and exposure your child has with reading, the greater their chances are of achieving their goal.
Repeated reading is a practice aimed at developing children’s fluency and expression.
During repeated reading sessions, a short passage of text is read aloud by the student whilst being timed. This practice is repeated four times over four days, with the student aiming to increase their speed and accuracy with each reading. Students are also reminded to read at the ‘Goldilocks’ speed (not too fast, not too slow, just right) whilst using punctuation to pause and add expression.
Other added benefits of repeated reading include increasing students’ comprehension of texts and developing self-confidence in their reading ability.
When a child reads a favourite book multiple times, they are building their confidence and reading for enjoyment. At home, your child may want to reread favourite books time and time again. We recommend encouraging this love of revisiting favourite texts.