Inside the classroom with Claire Bagnall, our educational advisor. Claire offers her insight as a teacher, what happens in September with reading assessments and how you can help support your child's reading journey.
As children settle into their new schools and classes, educators' minds are now turning to the outcome of baseline assessments, which help teachers to establish the level at which a child is performing upon entry to class. These assessments enable staff to determine what the target level will be at the end of the year, based on the child making an expected level of progress during this time. In other words, carrying out a baseline assessment in reading ensures that everyone knows what we can reasonably expect a child to aim to achieve by the end of the year.
In order to help secure this progress, opportunities to practice reading will be incorporated into every school day: from repetition of letter sounds to more extended comprehension pieces for older children. However, the expected level of progress does assume that there is ongoing reading input at home. To support this, most schools will provide a reading book, the level of which will be determined by the outcome of the baseline assessments mentioned above. However, in my experience, children often finish these books before schools have the opportunity to change them, and, whilst there is certainly benefit in re-reading books to improve fluency and depth of understanding, too many repetitions can result in the child becoming bored and, as a result, disengaged with their reading journey. This can be compounded by chidlren's perceptions of these books as lacking in 'specialness': they may be dog eared from years of use by countless children before them, and, ultimately, they belong to school so must be given back.
This is where The Bear Can Read comes in. Your child will be sent a selection of brand new, carefully chosen phonics books that target your child’s reading stage, and are selected from ranges often found in schools themselves. They therefore work beautifully to compliment the reading set by your child's school; building upon it to ensure your child's progress is consistently maintained, even when the same book from school stays in your child's bag long after they have finished it.
In keeping with the subscription being a gift from you to them, the books that arrive each month are brand new and parcelled up in a box with your child's name on: they will therefore know from the outset that the box's content is exclusively theirs and will come complete with that special new book smell, instilling in them an excitement to get stuck in to learning! Furthermore, the flashcards and activities included with the books will further consolidate the reading skills practiced in the books, helping to improve your child's confidence and give them the edge when the time comes for teachers to review the progress they have made.