Strong Foundations in Reading and Literacy
Literacy is an important part of succeeding in life. The ability to read and understand what you are reading is at the centre of this development.
Research shows that adults who read well have a wider access to the many and varied job opportunities which are constantly changing in our 21st century world. In today’s society, a child may end up having five or more different careers or jobs in their lifetime! In fact we really do not know what the job opportunities will be over the next decade and beyond. Literacy learning gives our children the knowledge and skills needed to do well in other curriculum areas which they will need throughout life beyond school.
At Salisbury Downs Primary School our students do not work their way through levelled books. This way of teaching children to read relies on memorising words and does not teach the alphabetic code. All of our student will begin their reading journey using decodable (predictable) books. Decodable books are designed to align with our explicit, systematic phonics instruction. They are simple stories constructed using almost exclusively words that are phonetically decodable, using letters and letter-groups that children have learned in phonics lessons. As our students learn more of the alphabetic code, these books become more and more complex, but still support where they are up to in their own learning journey. Students will read more complex books and stories, when they are ready, during shared book with their teacher or small reading group time, and importantly, at home with you.
Comprehension – Going from ‘Learning to read’ to ‘Reading to learn’
Comprehension is the understanding of any text being read, viewed or listened to. This includes finding information in tables and graphs, understanding a commercial on television or a street sign as a few examples. We believe in putting the right book in the hands of the right child at the right time and know that pushing students onto harder books just because they can read or decode the words does not mean they can read fluently or deeply understand what they have read. Reading the right book is the key to being able to access information and make sense of the world around us. The comprehension taught in schools includes activating prior knowledge that is gained in our daily life, inferring meaning from a clue, analysing the information presented to us, knowing how and where to locate information and being able to communicate what has been learnt.
The major determining factor in comprehension success is a student’s basic reading skills. When any of the foundational skills and processes are compromised, so too will be reading comprehension.
Many complicated processes must function harmoniously for comprehension to occur. Students must be able to:
- Say what is on the page using accurate and fluent word-level processing (decoding)
- Assign meaning to each word (vocabulary, morphology and etymology)
- Assemble words into sentences and follow punctuation
- Retain this information while attending to subsequent sentences, continuously updating their understanding of the text
- Use their knowledge of language and the world to supply further context.
At Salisbury Downs, staff have been highly trained in all aspects of comprehension and explicitly teach these skills using the gradual release of responsibility model. (I do, We do, You do) This means students are supported in their learning as teachers gradually give more independent control to students as they show evidence of learning.
Good readers utilise a set of highly complex and well developed skills before, during and after reading so they can understand, learn from the text and remember what they have read.
Salisbury Downs offers quality teaching of all aspects of Literacy which are integral to the lifelong learning, future financial and social stability and success of literate students.