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Reading development

Development in Reading will vary considerably across any class or age group due a number of factors including pre-reading experiences, cognitive readiness and orientation to the task, social maturity, and personal attitude towards books and text.

Early reading experiences, in particular, need to be positive, unforced, rewarding and directed experiences in which the pupil develops an expectation of being able to access the meaning of the text through the print and supporting clues.

Development of increasing fluency through to the ability to access any meaning beneath the surface of the text is intricately tied to social and personal development, personal experiences, the frequency of reading and the example of adults gaining meaning from text in the pupil's life.

The following expectations, which are drawn from the Literacy Learning Progressions, will not be met by some children at some stages of their development just as others will exceed them at every stage. Continuing positive encouragement and motication is important for all pupils.

When we assess your child for the National Standards, we will be assessing him/her against these descriptions of reading development from which the standards have been created.

Reading development by Year Level

By the end of Year 1
After one year at school, pupils are reading, responding to, and thinking critically about a variety of texts at the Ready-to-Read Green level.

They use a range of sources of information in the text, along with their prior knowledge, to make sense of the texts they read. They know that reading should be phrased, and they read at an appropriate pace. With some teacher guidance, students use strategies such as asking questions and making inferences to help them think more deeply about the ideas in the text.

They draw on knowledge and skills that include:

  • having all concepts about print under control - direction, orientation, letters, words;
  • using appropriate language about books, (e.g., the terms title, author, and illustration);
  • using their developing phonemic awareness to aurally identify and distinguish individual phonemes within words, i.e., to blend phonemes (e.g., by saying m/a/n/ is man ) and to segment phonemes (e.g., by saying seat is s/ea/t/) ;
  • identifying all letters by name and being able to produce an associated sound for each letter;
  • automatically recognising many (100–200) of the high-frequency words in their instructional texts;
  • decoding unfamiliar words by using their developing knowledge of grapheme–phoneme relationships, which enables them to:
    • identify common graphemes (e.g., sh, ch, ow, ai, th, oy ) and produce an associated sound for each one
    • apply the knowledge that letters can be pronounced in different ways (e.g., a bout , a nd , a pron )
    • apply strategies such as: sounding out words; using knowledge of graphemes (e.g., sh, aw, t, p, or ); and using analogy to read words that contain familiar chunks (e.g., est, en, ump );
  • decoding unfamiliar words by using some knowledge of morphology (e.g., the word endings -s, -ing , and -ed );
  • applying their knowledge of vocabulary in order to understand words as they decode them and to make meaning at the sentence and whole-text level;
  • understanding the meaning of basic punctuation features (e.g., full stops, speech marks, and exclamation marks).


By the end of Year 2

After two years at school, pupils are reading, responding to, and thinking critically about a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts at the Ready-to-Read Turquoise level.

They read longer texts with increasing independence and with appropriate intonation, expression, and phrasing. They flexibly use the sources of information in text, in combination with their prior knowledge, to make meaning and consider new ideas. With teacher guidance, students draw on a wider range of comprehension strategies to help them think more deeply about what they read.

They draw on knowledge and skills that include:

  • automatically recognising between 300 and 500 high-frequency words in their instructional texts;
  • decoding unfamiliar words by:
    • using their knowledge of grapheme–phoneme relationships to identify both consonant sounds (e.g., s, t, p, sh, th, ch, ng ) and vowel sounds (e.g., e, a, o, ai, ow, igh, ou, ee )
    • recognising common chunks of words and making analogies to words that look similar
    • using their developing knowledge of morphology (such as knowledge of prefixes and suffixes);
  • finding the meanings of unknown words by using strategies such as:
    • rereading text to gather more information
    • looking for definitions in the text
    • using prior and subsequent information in the sentences
    • inferring from the illustrations;
  • understanding the meaning of punctuation features such as parentheses and of print features such as bold print and italics.


By the end of Year 3

In their third year at school, pupils are beginning to use texts to meet the demands of learning across the curriculum as well as for instructional reading purposes.

After three years at school, students are reading, responding to, and thinking critically about a variety of texts at Gold level. They are preparing for the transition to the School Journal as their main source of instructional reading material. They confidently use a range of processing and comprehension strategies to make meaning from and think critically about longer and more complex texts.

They draw on knowledge and skills that include:

  • automatically reading all high-frequency words;
  • articulating and using a variety of decoding strategies appropriately when they encounter unfamiliar words (e.g., by recognising syllables within words or by applying their knowledge of
  • regular and irregular spelling patterns);
  • knowing the meanings of some common prefixes (e.g., un-, re-, in-, dis- ) and suffixes (e.g., -s, -es, -ed, -ing, -ly, -er, -less, -ful ) and understanding how they affect the meanings of words;
  • knowing the synonyms for, and multiple meanings of, many common words (e.g., left, might, right, fine );
  • applying their knowledge of word families, collocations, and sentence or phrase structures to find the meanings of unknown words;
  • looking for information in visual language features (such as text boxes in non-fiction texts);
  • understanding the purpose of basic punctuation.

 

By the end of Year 4

Pupils in Year 4 are reading texts for instructional reading purposes, and they are also increasingly required to use texts to meet the demands of the curriculum as an integral part of their regular classroom programme. Students read texts in order to locate and evaluate information and ideas about a range of subjects as they generate and answer questions to meet specific learning purposes.

By the end of Year 4, students use their reading processing and comprehension strategies to read texts appropriate to this level accurately and fluently. They use and integrate a variety of comprehension strategies in order to understand, respond to, and think critically about these texts.

They draw on knowledge and skills that include:

  • automatically reading all high-frequency words;
  • automatically selecting an appropriate decoding strategy when they encounter unknown words;
  • working out the meanings of new words, using strategies such as:
    • applying knowledge of the meanings of most common prefixes (e.g., over-, mis-, sub-, pre-, inter-, semi-, mid- ) and most common suffixes (e.g., -ist, -ity, -ty, -ion, -able/-ible, -ness, -ment )
    • using reference sources (e.g., dictionaries and thesauruses) to find the meanings of new words
    • inferring word meanings from known roots and affixes (e.g., by using the known meaning of tele- and -port to infer the meaning of teleport);
  • working out the meanings of unfamiliar phrases and expressions (e.g., figures of speech) by drawing on their oral language and the context;
  • recognising the features and purposes of some common text types and using this knowledge to navigate and understand texts;
  • using visual language features to support their understanding of the ideas and information in the text.

 

By the end of Year 6

The transition into Year 5 brings with it a significant step up in terms of the demand for students to use their reading as an interactive tool for learning. Although they continue to read texts as part of their literacy learning programme, most of the texts that students are now required to read are instructional materials from across the curriculum. The texts and tasks are similar for students in Year 5 and Year 6. Pupils read in order to locate, evaluate, and integrate information and ideas within and across a small range of texts as they generate and answer questions to meet specific learning purposes across the curriculum.

During these two years, students continue to develop their accuracy and fluency as readers of a variety of texts. They increase their level of control and independence in selecting strategies for using texts to support their learning. By the end of Year 6 , students are required to read longer texts more quickly and to select appropriate strategies for different reading purposes more effectively than students in Year 5.

They draw on knowledge and skills that include:

  • decoding texts fluently and accurately, using a range of reliable strategies;
  • finding and learning the meanings of unknown vocabulary by using strategies such as applying their knowledge of how words work or seeking explanations in the text or in illustrations;
  • understanding that words and phrases can have figurative as well as literal meanings and that some words have different meanings depending on the context;
  • recognising basic grammatical constructions and understanding how these affect meaning;
  • identifying the specific language features and structures of many common continuous and non-continuous text types (including mixed text types);
  • interpreting illustrations, photographs, text boxes, diagrams, maps, charts, and graphs.

 

By the end of Year 8

When pupils enter Year 7, they encounter increasing demands in terms of the complexity of the texts they read in all areas of the curriculum, including English. They are supported in developing their reading expertise by deliberate and explicit literacy instruction that uses these texts. The text and task demands of the curriculum are similar for pupils in Year 7 and Year 8. Pupils read in order to locate, evaluate, and synthesise information and ideas within and across a range of texts as they generate and answer questions to meet specific learning purposes across the curriculum.

During Years 7 and 8, pupils continue to develop their accuracy, fluency, and independence in reading and in using texts to support their learning. This expertise includes reading at a rate that is appropriate to the text and the task. By the end of Year 8, pupils need to be confidently and deliberately choosing the most appropriate strategies to suit their purposes for reading in different learning areas.

They draw on knowledge and skills that include:

  • decoding texts with such automaticity that they do not need to decode all words;
  • working out more complex, irregular, and/or ambiguous words by using strategies such as inferring the unknown from the known;
  • recognising and understanding the features and structures of a wide variety of continuous and non-continuous text types and text forms;
  • recognising and understanding a variety of grammatical constructions and some rhetorical patterns (e.g., cause and effect; comparing and contrasting);
  • making links across a text by recognising connectives or adverbial clauses;
  • using their growing academic and content-specific vocabulary to understand texts;
  • interpreting metaphor, analogy, and connotative language.


See also Reading expectations