Reading at Mousehole School

Reading is fundamental to education. Proficiency in reading, writing and spoken language is vital for pupils’ success. Through these, they develop communication skills for education and for working with others: in school, in training and at work.

- Department for Education July 2021


At Mousehole School we love books and reading!


When our children leave Mousehole School in year 6 we want them to be confident, accomplished readers with a real love of reading: we are very proud of our success in teaching reading (our end of Key Stage 2 SATS results have  been significantly above local and national averages for a number of years). We are also not complacent about our reading offer and always on the lookout for innovative and effective methods to improve reading pedagogy.

Staff share their love of literature in lots of ways but there are some fundamental routines present in all classes in the school: 

  • Every day, every child in the school will be read to by an adult: from their first day in Mousehole Mice pre-school to their last term in year 6. Teachers carefully select texts and share great stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction texts throughout the curriculum usually taken from our reading spine (follow the link on the left to find out more). Staff will engage in 'book talk' about these texts - highlighting new and interesting vocabulary, pointing out literary and grammatical conventions and exploring how author's use language. In younger classes, texts will be read repeatedly over time to help embed language patterns and develop vocabulary skills.
  • We use Little Wandle Revised Letters and Sounds a systematic synthetic phonics programme (SSP) to teach the foundations of reading. This programme starts right at the beginning of the reception year and is used with all reception and year 1 pupils and includes: daily phonics sessions; regular small group reading practice sessions and keep-up sessions to ensure all children keep pace with the programme. More details can be found by following the Little Wandle Phonics link on the left.
  • We provide children with great books (in addition to our Reading Spine): we have a well stocked and beautifully presented library which every class visits on a weekly basis and we subscribe to the library service which provides regular book exchanges and project relevant books for each class. We use a reading spine of great children's literature that aims to create a living library inside the minds of children who attend Mousehole School. 
  • We provide carefully banded books so that children can practice sounds they have learnt and increase their reading fluency. For younger children, these books are aligned with Little Wandle our phonics programme. We encourage children to read these books at home regularly and we change the books regularly. Staff check that children are able to independently read these books without having to guess words ensuring that they can focus on deducing meaning from the text. For children who have completed their phonics learning we provide carefully selected books that continue to allow them to read fluently and focus on their comprehension skills.
  • We support parents with sharing a love of reading with their children: giving advice; communicating about reading via reading records and Seesaw and having clear expectations about how often children should practice reading with an adult at home.
  • We ensure children with Special Educational needs are provided with extra support and adaptations as appropriate to ensure they are included in reading lessons. We also provide bespoke support to ensure their progress. Where appropriate, we use the Nessy Learning Programme (programme designed to support children with dyslexia to read and write).
  • We start teaching the foundations of reading in our pre-school. Where pratice includes : sharing high-quality stories and poems with children; learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes; activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending; attention to high-quality language with children.
  • We use formative assessment techniques throughout our reading teaching and where children are identified as falling behind their peers, we act quickly to support their progress and to ensure they catch up with their peers.
  • All our staff have had specific phonics training and we update this training regularly. Our English and phonics lead Mr Mullaney and the Head Teacher review practice regularly with teaching staff and provide support and training where appropriate.

Supporting your child with becoming a fluent reader 

Fluent readers are readers who not only sound natural and conversational while they're reading, but who also understand what they're reading.
You can help your child get from non-fluent to fluent.

1. Fully decodable reading books

The books your child has been given to read will only contain the phonemes (sounds) they have already been taught. Some of these may have been learnt some-time ago, so regular revisiting is essential to developing fluency. Your child will not be able to read a text fluently if it contains phonemes they have not yet encountered.

2. Let your child hear you read fluently

The more often your child hears fluent reading, the more likely they are to pick it up. You could start by reading a paragraph or a full page from a book, and then ask your child to read it. When you provide that model, it’s an opportunity for your child to get familiar with the story, understand the pacing, and then mimic you.

It may sound silly and over-dramatic to you, but reading with exuberant, expression and appropriate pauses at commas and full stops will help to demonstrate the cadence of our language. Audiobooks are also really helpful in developing this skill.

3. Tracking words

Tracking — or running your finger under words as you read them indicates to the child where words begin and end. Encouraging your child to do the same when they read out loud will help.

4. Choral reading

Choral reading simply means you read a story out loud and ask your child to read along with you at the same pace. This helps them understand what fluent reading feels like and gives them the chance to practice it themselves at your pace. It’s fine if you are a little ahead of them, just be sure to pick a book that they can already read themselves. That way, they're working on pacing and accuracy rather than decoding new words.