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Case Study - Lincewood Primary

"The Reading Record booklet provides home tasks as well as focussed reading tasks. These tasks can be used both at school and at home and they convey to the parents that reading goes beyond the literal".

Lincewood Primary implemented the Reading Record and Evaluation Tools booklet published by JellyJames. They have found the booklet a useful home-link liaison that conveys higher reading skills once the technicalities of reading are grasped.

Research at JellyJames has shown that the current practice used by a vast majority of schools in monitoring reading at Key Stage 1 and 2 is done by logging the book being read, the date that the child begins reading, completion date and a space for parent comments. The disadvantage with this practice is that the child's understanding of the text is not gauged and the natural progression from reading towards independent writing is mainly left to the school.

Sandra Clay, the Literacy Co-ordinator at Lincewood Primary, commented that "the current reading record booklets indicate to the parents that they can only be involved by hearing to children read aloud." Parents can motivate and empower their child to read a varied repertoire of books to make them successful readers. The Reading Record booklet allows the parent to directly engage, encourage and support the child to becoming an independent writer and read for meaning.

The Curriculum recommends that children should be reading for meaning. A successful reader is one who can read aloud accurately with expression, read silently with understanding and get to the meaning of the text. Understanding the text is the foundation skill on which the child builds his/her independent writing skills.

Research by Jo Weinberger, Senior Research Fellow in Education at the University of Sheffield, has found that children's literacy performance can be positively affected by the contribution parents make (Tizard et al., 1982, Snow et al., 1991). Parents' knowledge about literacy teaching in school, and their interactions with teachers, can help children's literacy learning (version et al., 1981, Epstein, 1991).

The Reading Record and Learning tools booklet bridges the reading with quick review tools and moves the child beyond the technical operation of reading to develop the skills to write independently. For instance, one of the learning tools "Feelings Review", allows the child to match the facial expressions on the booklet with feelings experienced whilst reading the text. This activity is supported by a word bank, where the child draws on appropriate words to express his/her thoughts in writing within the context of the text.

Other higher level tools include:
1. observing characters through five W's and One H
2. describing a character using features, build, movement
3. predictions
4. differentiating facts and opinions
5. identifying the relationship between characters, etc.

The booklet gives a focus for shared and guided reading and follows some key objectives throughout the Key Stages.

Sandra Clay remarked "The Reading Record booklet provides home tasks as well as focussed reading tasks. These tasks can be used both at school and at home and they convey to the parents that reading goes beyond the literal".

The booklet is well presented, jargon-free and extends the home-school relationship to directly benefit the child.

The book contains five sections:

1. A series of logs of the books that the child is reading with pages set aside to reflect and comment on poems, newspapers, magazines and radio programmes.
2. Learning tools that support the Curriculum, consolidate the reading, give meaning to the text and develop independent writing skills.
3. Decodable and Common words.
4. Activity sheets including new words learnt, decodable and common words, Initial letter sounds and names, and sounding and naming letters in lower and upper case. At a higher level the activity sheets include pages to record vocabulary list, excellent phrases, captivating settings, etc.
5. Bronze, silver and gold certificates of achievement. As the child attains a certificate of achievement, the teacher and the child agree and log the next target.

The colour coded books give the teacher flexibility in meeting the varying needs of children at a level appropriate to their reading and learning.