Placement Two. Thinking About Reading
My PP2 placement was a very positive experience. I worked with some exceptionally talented staff whose enthusiasm and commitment to the children’s learning was inspiring. The year four class I worked with were enthusiastic readers and enjoyed reading and sharing what they had read with others. I think that the children’s enthusiasm for reading was fostered by parents who supported and encouraged reading at home and a class teacher who made it a priority in the classroom.
The class teacher was very proud of the rigorous way in which guided reading was done in her class. She commented that there was no point her guiding a group unless she was actively moving the children’s learning on. There was therefore lots of questioning and discussing prompted by the teacher, enabling the children to explore a text to a depth and at a pace that they would not be able to without her input. The guided reading I observed, both in year four and across the school, was delivered in a well organised and high quality way. It was expected that texts were chosen to match the ability of the children based on assessment of those children from previous sessions. The session was expected to be planned out properly with clear objectives, which were shared with the children at the beginning of the session, for example they might be doing some sentence level work or thinking about reading with expression. The teacher made notes on her plan during the session to keep a record of the children’s responses relating them to AF levels in the plan. During guided reading there was plenty of paired talk and group discussion, ensuring that the children were learning from each other and not just back and forward questioning and answers between teacher and pupils.
The children in both year four classes enjoyed spending time in the reading corner. The reading corners were set up as Viking long ships and the children sat in the ship on little benches that spanned its width. The benches were covered in comfortable blankets. One group would spend the guided reading session in the reading corner each day and would be asked to make notes on what they were reading and share interesting facts with the class at the end of the session. As children were coming in in the morning there was often a group allocated to reading corner time.
The children did not have time set aside during the school day for changing their home reading books. They were encouraged to do this just before or just after school with their parents when they had finished a book and they needed to change it for another. All the home readers were on book shelves down one of the corridors. I thought that this was a nice way of helping the parents to feel involved in their children’s learning and encourage them to promote reading at home.