Our Approach to Reading
In St. Declan’s we have moved away from the more traditional ‘reader and workbook’ approach. After a comprehensive review of the children’s reading, we are focusing on the following areas:
- children who are not reaching their potential in reading. These children read two or more years below their chronological age on assessment.
- children who may be reading fluently but have significant difficulties with comprehension.
- children who are reading at or beyond their chronological age but who need to be encouraged to read a wider range of reading material.
In St. Declan’s we use First Steps to enhance the objectives of the Primary School Curriculum. We emphasise comprehension strategies such as predicting, developing vocabulary, making comparisons, re-reading, visualising, etc. The aim of using these strategies is to support the children towards being more independent readers. First Steps is widely used and is endorsed by the Department of Education & Science. (click on the icon to access First Steps)
St. Declan’s has made a substantial investment in Treetops (Oxford Reading Tree) which is a series of levelled fiction and non-fiction books. This enables teachers to place the children on a book that is at their assessed fluency level. This series allows teachers to ensure that each child is on the right book for his or her level. (click on the icon to access Treetops)
The school also has a subscription to the online reading programme Reading A-Z. This is an excellent website which has up to 40 short books for each letter of the alphabet. The books provide a range of high-interest fiction and non-fiction texts which can be both downloaded and printed, and also projected on the class whiteboards. (click on the icon to access Reading A-Z)
We also have a comprehensive library stocked with novels and reference books. The library is fully computerised using Junior Librarian and each child has their own library card.
Children are trained in using the software allowing them to administer loans in each class. Parents have generously supported our appeal for new and good quality used books which allows us to have multiple copies of suitable books for each class level. (click on the icon to access Junior Librarian)