The aim of the Project READ website is to support collaboration between schools in our joint endeavour to improve reading outcomes for Derbyshire pupils. A huge 'Thank you!' to all who have contributed case studies. Use the case studies as a starting point to reflect on practice in your school with colleagues. Explore the 'Useful Links' tab for research, resources and continuous professional development (CPD) opportunities. The password to view the video clips is projectread

'Let's be Reading Detectives!' - a small group session in Year 3 at Langwith Bassett Junior Academy

About our school

Langwith Bassett Junior Academy is a small Derbyshire primary school with around 100 pupils on roll. 

Aims

Our children have strong decoding skills but struggle to comprehend and make sense of a text. Therefore, the whole staff team has had training in comprehension strategies to use across the curriculum. More recently, two groups of teachers and teaching assistants from different year groups have been trained to deliver the Inference Training intervention as part of Project Read. 

Timescale

Since we attended the training in September, we have been teaching reading comprehension strategies more explicitly in class and some children have had the opportunity to participate in additional small group sessions twice a week. 

Outline

Natasha used this extract from the beginning of Chapter 3 of The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo. The class will be reading this text in guided reading sessions next term. This is the extract:

Bertie was born in South Africa, in a remote farmhouse near a place called Timbavati. It was shortly after Bertie first started to walk that his mother and father decided a fence must be put around the farmhouse to make a compound where Bertie could play in safety. It wouldn’t keep the snakes out – nothing could do that – but at least Bertie would be safe now from the leopards, and the lions and the spotted hyenas. Enclosed within the compound were the lawn and gardens at the front of the house, and the stables and barns at the back – all the room a child would need or want, you might think. But not Bertie.

The farm stretched as far as the eye could see in all directions, twenty thousand acres of fields. Bertie’s father farmed cattle, but times were hard. The rains had failed too often, and many of the rivers and waterholes had all but dried up.

The following commentary has been written by Nic O’Donnell, Lead: Project READ, who filmed the session and edited the clips. The clips highlight particularly interesting discussions during the session which may be helpful to reflect upon during staff meetings and CPD sessions. They do not represent the full sequence of activities which take place in an Inference Training session.

1.‘What does ‘remote’ mean?’ Natasha encourages the children to underline any words or phrases which they don’t understand. One of the phrases is ‘remote farmhouse’. The children struggle to make sense of the word ‘remote’ in this context. Natasha models how to ‘read on’ to use other details from the text to help. Finally, Natasha explains the meaning of ‘remote farmhouse'. 

2. ‘What does your fence look like?’ Natasha invites the children to describe the pictures they have in their minds of the fence round the compound. When the children suggest ideas which do not seem to be supported by the text, Natasha challenges them to look at the text closely and to develop more accurate images in their minds.

3. ‘Let’s think like detectives!’ Natasha invites the children to ask questions about the extract. Emily shows active reading skills in puzzling over the question, ‘But why have they got lions?’ Natasha discusses this, supporting Emily to develop her understanding. 

4. ‘Let’s sum up this story.’ Natasha invites the children to summarise the story, using the most important details from the extract. 

5. ‘Which reading strategies did we use today?’ The children enthusiastically evaluate which reading strategies they have used in today’s session. This clip shows that they are developing their skills of metacognition.

Impact

In Year 3, there has been a huge impact in our class as we use collective terms when reading both in class and in the intervention. For example, we make pictures in our minds as we read and we recognise a text breakdown. This training has allowed us to emphasise the strategies to teach to children to help them understand  what they are reading. We have created a display in our school hall with the strategies, explaining which children prefer and why. Also, we are sending additional staff on the training to ensure we are consistent with our approach to reading.

Next steps

To find out more about Inference Training CPD opportunities, contact EIS@derbyshire.gov.uk 

Contributor

Natasha Lyons, Year 3 Teaching Assistant and Lorna Mayne, Year 3 Teacher at Langwith Bassett Junior Academy.

Additional information

Would you like to take part in a comprehension project in your school? Project Comprehension EYFS - Year 6 is a collaborative CPD opportunity available to primary school clusters in Derbyshire. It builds on the robust foundations of Project READ. It enables schools not involved in the original project to participate in similar, collaborative school improvement projects. Participating schools work in partnership with Derbyshire's Teaching, Learning and Assessment Consultants and with Specialist Leaders of Education from Derbyshire's Teaching Schools. Contact EIS@derbyshire.gov.uk for more information.

1. 'What does 'remote' mean?' Password for all clips: projectread
2. ‘What does your fence look like?’
3. ‘Let’s think like detectives!’
4. ‘Let’s sum up this story!’
5. ‘Which reading strategies did we use today?’
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