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Reading Comprehension

Reading is a fundamental part of every child's life, and we fully subscribe to the notion of 'Every Child A Reader'. We believe that there are books that will appeal to every individual, no matter their interests, and support will be given to those that struggle with the fundamentals of reading (fluency, decoding and comprehension).

In KS1, we teach a systematic phonics-led curriculum, which progresses to a morphological approach as children enter KS2. These approaches take into account the difficulties that some children face when learning to decode and read. Nothing is more disspirating than struggling to read age-appropriate texts, year after year. These difficulties should not present a barrier to reading for pleasure, and we aim for all children to leave Fittleworth school as fluent, competent and engaged readers.

We promote the enjoyment of reading within our classroom environments, with highlighted, concentrated displays of texts, access to a wide range of books in our library and motivating discussion and activities. Our libraries are updated termly to include fresh, high-quality texts (both fiction and non-fiction). We encourage children to participate in reading challenges (including the West Sussex Summer Challenge) and to share their reading experiences with peers and teachers. Staff members regularly hold reading sessions for all ages to attend and we have a periodic Book Club too.


In understanding the importance of reading -and most importantly- reading for pleasure, we can also turn to the large body of evidence and research that has been conducted. In 2009, Sir Jim Rose lead a review of the state of national education. In this report, he scrutinised the role of reading and drew a number of important conclusions:


1. Research in the USA has shown that by the age of 5 some children [...] have heard 32 million fewer words than the average.[...] child. Further studies have shown how the number of books in the home influences children’s ‘word knowledge’ and ‘world knowledge’.


2. When story forms are never known, there is less ability to infer and to predict. When cultural traditions and the feelings of others are never experienced, there is less understanding of what other people feel.


3. Nowhere is an entitlement to ‘quality first teaching’ more necessary or important than in equipping every child with a command of reading and writing skills.


According to another government review in 2012,  strong evidence was found to support links between reading for pleasure and higher academic achievement. Reading for pleasure was cited as having a greater effect on achievement than the child's socio-economic background. Just as importantly, it also demonstrated links between reading for pleasure and social development and mental wellbeing.


These points highlight the importance of reading regularly, both in school and at home. We can combat these startling facts through positive and proactive actions at school and home. Starting a child reading as early as possible is absolutely key to their success, academically and socially. At Fittleworth School, we encourage reading for pleasure on a daily basis with whole class text reading sessions, sharing of personal books and frequent personal reading time.