Discussing Reading with Children
The starting point for evaluating reading in primary schools is to look at the standards and progress within reading. One of the main ways to address the whole-school approach and progression within reading, is to speak directly to pupils and get an in-depth understanding of the individual pupil’s reading development. Let’s focus on the reading of Key Stage 1 pupils.
When inspectors talk to children about their reading, they will be checking a range of things, including:
- Their reading level
- Degree of independence & choice
- Knowledge of books & authors
- Decoding strategies (incl. phonically irregular words)
- Attitudes and enjoyment
- Support from school & home
- Comprehension: literal & inferential
- Higher order reading skills
- Awareness of own progress and development as a reader
- The school’s reading culture & expectations.
Possible questions when talking to children about reading in Key Stage 1
- Who chose this book? Did you choose it yourself or did someone choose it for you?
- Have you read it before today or is it a new book?
- Did you know anything about it already?
- Do you know any of the characters/people in this story?
- What do you do if you get stuck on a word?
- [Return to a word that the child hesitated on and see how s/he tackles it.]
- What point of the word would you look at first?
- [Check that the child starts at the beginning.]
- Can you show me what you do?
- What sound does this letter make? And this one? And this one? [Point from left to right through the word, not randomly, making sure that you are not covering up the letter.]
- what word is that when we put those sounds together?
- Say the word for me?
- Why do you think X [a character] did hat?
- Why do you think Y [an event] happened?
- What do you think will happen next
- Do you read to someone in school? How often?
- Do you read with someone at home?
- Do you have a reading record/diary? Please may I see it? [Check how often an adult listens to the child read? Which adults? Parents/teacher/teaching assistant?]
- Do you like this book? Why?
- What are your favourite sorts of books?
- What books has your teacher read to the class that you have enjoyed?
- Do you feel you are a good reader? What’s easy? What’s difficult? How do you think you could get even better as a reader?
- Do you enjoy reading?
When these questions have been covered, an inspector can address the positive progress that has been made and any challenges that are being faced for the individual pupil. The progress of the individual can then be reflected on when looking at the ‘bigger picture’ and the whole school approach.
Deep Dives into Reading
Developing Reasoning and Depth in Reading
The Place of Guided Reading in the English Curriculum
Shekina is the Digital Marketing Executive at Focus Education.