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Beyond decoding – teaching comprehension in reading. Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi, Gwlad beirdd a chantorion, enwogion o fri; Ei gwrol ryfelwyr, gwladgarwyr tra mâd, Tros ryddid gollasant eu gwaed.

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Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi,

Gwlad beirdd a chantorion, enwogion o fri;

Ei gwrol ryfelwyr, gwladgarwyr tra mâd,

Tros ryddid gollasant eu gwaed.

You can’t apply certain CSS features to any other tag besides the DIV tag. For example, if you want to specify the width of a text block, that text must be enclosed in a DIV tag. Applying it to the P tag won’t have any effect.
Simple, straightforward, relatable….The heft of the pea coat plays off against the bare legs. And PS: denim shirts are presenting as a new basic this LFW
the simple view of reading
The Simple View of Reading

It is important for teachers to know and understand the cognitive processes that underlie these two interacting dimensions:

Word reading (phonics and word recognition / sight vocabulary)

language comprehension



Good word recognition, good language comprehension

Good language comprehension, poor word recognition

Word recognition



Poor word recognition, poor language comprehension

Good word recognition, poor language comprehension


Language comprehension

setting the scene oldway
Setting the scene – Oldway
  • Below average attainment on entry
  • Outstanding practice / above national average attainment and progress at KS1 and KS2 (in all subjects)
  • Historical focus on writing, more recently on maths
  • Setting / grouping for Guided Reading
  • Higher attainment in writing than reading
  • Attainment plateau in reading at KS1
  • Accurate reading summative assessments (from KS1 moderation)
research questions
Research Questions
  • What’s different / distinctive about 1a and 2a readers?
  • How do you move children from decoding to comprehension?
  • What helps readers to understand a text?
  • How do you teach comprehension?
  • What do we do in the teaching of writing that we could transfer to the teaching of reading?
thinking about ourselves as readers
Thinking about ourselves as readers…

What helps us to work out the meaning of unknown words and understand a text?

useful research and literature
Useful Research and Literature
  • Barrett’s Taxonomy
  • Reading by six: how the best schools do it (Ofsted)
  • Simple View of Reading
  • Children’s Comprehension in Oral and Written Language
  • Reading, writing and communication (Literacy)
  • Getting them ready early
  • Phonics – getting the best results
what is needed to read for understanding
What is needed to read for understanding?
  • to know of the importance of understanding a text
  • to know when the meaning has been ‘lost’
  • ability to apply strategies to work out the possible meaning of unknown words (visualisation, dramatisation, use of syntax)
  • sufficiently fluent decoding
  • good vocabulary
  • activation of background knowledge
  • ability to make inferences
  • integration of information from across text to make meaning
  • motivation to read
  • accurate use of punctuation
developing comprehension
Developing Comprehension
  • Comprehension processes use information from:
    • language system
    • vocabulary
    • general knowledge
  • Comprehension improves whether pupil becomes literate or not
  • Learning to read offers the potential to further extend vocabulary and general knowledge, so feeding into language comprehension
  • If the word reading system is only just developing, pupils need opportunities to read texts that make fewer demands.
the research and development project
The Research and Development Project
  • Reading relevant research
  • Learning Journals
  • Fortnightly coaching session – all KS1 teaching staff
  • Joint planning
  • Demonstrations and facilitated feedback
  • Observations by Deputy and Assistant Head
  • QA from Janet Brennan
changes and impact
Changes and Impact
  • Encouraging application of strategies independently
  • More challenging texts selected
  • Adapted planning format
  • Improved questioning through use of Barrett’s taxonomy to plan questions
  • Explicit modelling of comprehension strategies within taught session
  • Planned opportunities for children to apply comprehension strategies independently
  • Focus on new vocabulary, pronouns and punctuation
  • Raised attainment, esp. pupils attaining 2a and above and fewer pupils 2c and below
  • Improved staff confidence and enjoyment of teaching reading
  • Not telling pupils the meaning of an unknown word
  • Apply strategies in Shared Reading (Literacy and other subjects) and when reading 1:1
  • For less able pupils, separate decoding from comprehension
  • Match new Phonics GR books to ability and phonics teaching
  • Take time to delve deep - not feel rushed to finish a book / chapter by the end of a session)
feedback from teaching staff
Feedback from teaching staff
  • “The reading has confirmed that I know how we comprehend. I now need to think how I can model that for my pupils.”
  • “These questions are great for helping me plan my Guided Reading sessions.”
  • “I’ve already started planning my questions by annotating a copy of the text.”
  • “I’m definitely selecting more challenging texts, ones that I wouldn’t have used before.”
  • “Using bookmarks for children to write down the words they’ve worked out is a great idea.”
  • “I would have loved to have filmed that to show other schools.”
  • “I’m definitely questioning more.”
  • “I’m asking children for synonyms to show that they understand the meaning.”
  • “I’m going to use your phrase ‘turn the movie on in your head’ with my set.”
  • “I’ve realised that ______ doesn’t use the punctuation accurately which is why he can’t answer questions about the text.”
next steps post project
Next Steps, post-project
  • Continued focus on reading for KS1
  • Continue with demonstrations, inc. use of film clip for staff training
  • Continue with coaching, joint planning and sharing of resources
  • Whole-school dissemination and CPD (reading and phonics)
  • Cross-alliance development, inc. KS2 and KS3 teachers
  • Effective teaching of reading and phonics, a priority for trainees, NQTs and new staff
  • Input in HEI ITE programmes
evaluating practice in our classes and schools
Evaluating practice in our classes and schools

‘Every Teacher A Teacher Of Reading’

ensuring pupils make progress
Ensuring pupils make progress

fostering a love of and motivation for reading, across genres

assessment and analysis of data that informs provision

identification of pupils’ specific needs

knowledgeable and effective teaching, matched to individual and group needs (planning and resources)

tracking of pupil progress

what do we need to know about pupils literacy in our own classes and also across the school
What do we need to know about pupils’ literacy (in our own classes and also across the school)?

How good is pupils’ word reading?

How good is their comprehension (across a range of texts / genre)?

What is their spelling like?

How good is their vocabulary?

If they are struggling, what particular difficulties do they have?

Also, how motivated are they to read?

teaching reading effectively
Teaching Reading Effectively
  • Selecting challenging texts (purpose, practice, persistence)
  • Teach and discuss new vocab, making links
  • Demonstrate / model comprehension strategies: ‘think aloud’ and articulate meta-cognitive processes
  • Teach summarising / synthesising, e.g. portraying info in another format
  • Time to read
  • Check pupils’ understanding through questioning (Barrett’s Taxonomy)
  • Ability grouping / setting in guided work
  • Plan for progression (from Assessment Foci) and breadth of genre
  • Challenging text – linked to the weakest decoder in the group
  • Teaching staff knowing the text ‘inside out’
  • Plan questions using Barrett’s taxonomy
  • ‘Plug’ gaps in phonic knowledge in guided work and intervention groups
  • Effective TA support (subject knowledge and CPD)
  • Range of activities – discrete teaching and application (language, word reading and comprehension)
  • Plan for independent work and follow-up activities
  • Vigilance in all areas of the curriculum
developing comprehension through effective questioning
Developing Comprehension through effective questioning
  • Summarising
  • Causal relationships
  • Sequencing information / events
  • Making comparisons
  • Predicting
  • Evaluating (fact, appropriate, opinion)
  • Figurative language and historical / cultural phrases
  • Characters’ point of view
book introduction
Book Introduction
  • Set context (historical, cultural etc.)
  • Language introduction
  • Links to own experiences
  • Links to other known books
  • Discuss style if known author / series
  • Links to other areas of learning
  • Assess prior learning
afl and summative assessment
AfL and Summative Assessment
  • Questioning
  • Monitoring of written work
  • Observation
  • APP materials
  • Running Records
  • SATs
  • Reading comprehension: the York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension
  • Spelling: the Vernon Graded Spelling Test
  • For oral vocabulary: the British Picture Vocabulary Scale 3rd Edition
  • Dyslexia Portfolio
  • Bracken Scale of Concept Acquisition (conceptual understanding)
  • Blank levels (language)
what do confident and competent readers need to continue to make progress
What do confident and competent readers need to continue to make progress?
  • content extended: becomes more unfamiliar, more complex and also more abstract
  • greater demand on pupils’ thinking and reasoning – so more engagement in and motivation for reading are needed
  • the syntax of texts needs to become more complex: pupils meet sentence structures that they do not meet in speech, e.g. passive voice
  • vocabulary becomes more specialised -
    • common words gain specialised meanings in different subjects (salt, table, plane)
    • specialised vocabulary will be unknown to many pupils (topological, manifold)
    • subjects have subject-specific terminology