Securing Reading Strategy (Years 5-6)

Our 'securing reading' strategy is designed to make our, already fluent, Year 5 and Year 6 readers into readers who can understand more complex themes and features of a text. It prepares children to analyse and summarise these themes ready for Secondary school.  


Where this fits:

By the end of Year 4 children should be fluent and accurate readers, who read for meaning. When reading, a child should check for sense at regular intervals and take steps to retrieve the meaning if comprehension has been lost. Children should use their background knowledge to link what they have already read in a text to their understanding of the world, their experience of others and their experience of reading other texts. Children will have begun to identify unfamiliar words and adopt different strategies to locate or infer their meaning (re-reading surrounding words and sentence, identifying root words and derivatives, using context and syntax, using dictionaries or glossaries). See our ‘Developing Reader Strategy’ for more information.


What is a secure reader?

A secure reader has a good understanding of the texts they read and takes an active approach to reading. They are able to visualise, ask questions, repair any break down in meaning and use different strategies to infer the meaning of unfamiliar words. These children think about their background knowledge of a topic before and during reading and frequently check their own understanding of the text through making predictions, linking to other texts, asking questions to clarify and constantly visualising and making brief summaries of what they have read. Secure readers do not read on if they do not understand instead they re-read for sense, infer meaning of new vocabulary or read on to clarify meaning.


How we check comprehension:

The school formally assess fluency and comprehension three times per year in Years 5-6, using the school’s own colour banding system. This is done by hearing a child read a 100 word extract from a book which is a level above the band they are currently reading within. The child will need to read with 95% accuracy (roughly 95/100 words) and with sufficient pace to maintain meaning. Below 95% accuracy, a child will not be in a position to comprehend the text. Children in Years 5-6 will then be expected to pass a comprehension exercise (85% correctly) to move on to the next band. These questions assess the child’s understanding through asking them specific comprehension questions about the text. This exercise covers vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation and retrieval questions giving the teacher and the child an understanding of where they are succeeding and which area needs more practise and support.  


Teachers will hear all children read as part of their reading lessons, but will also hear individual children read three times per week if they are behind their peers and at risk of not becoming secure readers.


How we ensure children understand the vocabulary used in different texts:

Children’s acquisition and command of vocabulary are key to their learning and progress across the curriculum. For child to comprehend a text it is vital they understand or can use strategies to infer the different types of vocabulary they read across all subjects.


Across the curriculum children will be given the opportunity to build a wide vocabulary containing Tier 1, 2 and 3 words. In lessons they will investigate the meaning of technical or subject specific words, distinguish between everyday word meaning and their subject specific (synonyms), collect unfamiliar vocabulary from texts they have read, define the meaning of unfamiliar words, and develop subject or topic glossaries.


Children will be taught different strategies to infer the meaning of unfamiliar words. These include re-reading the text, reading around the word, reading on to the next sentence, visualising the information, using their background knowledge of the subject, analysing part of the words from clues, examining what fits the context and using the syntax of a sentence. In Year 5-6 children are encouraged to reflect on the most effective strategy to infer words in different contexts and give a precise explanation of what the unfamiliar word means that fits the context of the text.


Children who are in danger of not mastering the skills of a secure reader:

Children across the school have access to a dedicated Reading Intervention Team who work with children who are not becoming fluent readers at the same rate as their peers. These children are identified termly by the English Leads, SENDCO and Reading Intervention Team, in consultation with the class teacher following Pupil Progress Meetings between teachers and leaders.


Children receiving support are assessed and given specific targets to support their individual needs e.g. developing vocabulary, context skills, self-correction, reading for meaning and will work with a Reading Assistant three times a week on this (either 1-to-1 or in small groups). Inference Training is used where appropriate for these children, along with bespoke programmes which focus on their greatest area of need. This is reviewed three times per year.


Supporting children in securing comprehension:

Between Year 2 and Year 4 children need to master more complex comprehension and read for meaning. Children in these ‘developing reader’ years are taught to identify the meaning of texts by modelling and practicing key strategies regularly. In Year 5 and 6 the children should be using different reading strategies more independently and with greater confidence. Secure readers need to understand which type of reading strategy to apply to different vocabulary, texts and questions.


Key strategies used in Years 5-6:

These strategies are taught using a reciprocal reading approach in Years 5-6 and with longer pieces of text. Reading lessons will consist of a dialogue between the teacher and the children for the purpose of jointly constructing the meaning of the text.  Teachers use a balance of explanation, instruction, modelling and guided practice to develop understanding of key reading skills.

Reading a text aloud with developing readers:


1. Teachers will be explicit as to which reading skills are being taught that day/ week and how the learning contributes to this.


2. Teachers will start by looking in detail at the book cover/ page image:

  • This keys children into the text and starts to activate prior knowledge.


3. Model reading the text:

  • Teachers will explore the first part of the text with the children and discuss how the text should be read, exploring themes, language and context.  
  • Teacher discuss with the children where to use emphasis and intonation in the text.
  • Model strategies to infer the meaning of unfamiliar words through appropriate strategies (re-reading the text, reading around the word, reading on to the next sentence, visualising the information, using their background knowledge of the subject, analysing part of the words from clues, examining what fits the context and using the syntax of a sentence).
  • Think Aloud: The teacher, with the children, models what they are thinking when they are reading, ask questions, use background knowledge of the subjects and discuss break down and repair of meaning
  • Shared reading: Teacher will read up to a certain point in the text with correct fluency and intonation [I do] at a specific point the children will take over the reading from the teacher correct fluency and intonation [you do].


4. Line by line reading (when appropriate):

  • Teacher reveals and reads only a line at a time [I do].
  • Teacher has an open discussion with the children about what each sentence could mean, predicting what may happen next in the text, discussing the language choice of the author, using inference skills and background knowledge related to context.


5. Text Mark Up:

  • Teacher models annotating the text with words and symbols to highlight important ideas and themes. Children identify and mark aspects of the text which are unclear in order to revisit and repair break down in meaning. They identify important words or phrases which enable them to comprehend different aspects of the text.


6. Predicting, hypothesising and using evidence:

  • Teacher [I do…] models predicting what will happen next/ themes/ motives etc. (based on available information).
  • Children practice [you do…] predicting what will happen next/ themes/ motives (based on available information).
  • As they read on the teacher and children discuss how and why they may need to modify their predictions based on the extra information they have read.
  • Children are encouraged to make regular, brief summaries of what they have read, linking their summaries to previous predictions and updating their ideas about the text in light of what they have read.


7. Exploring key themes:

  • Emotion graph, timelines, story maps and mountains, conscience alley, comparison charts and tables to highlight similarities and differences between texts.


8. Skimming and scanning:

  • Teachers model locating key words in specific sections of text and re-read the sentence before, the sentence the key word is in and the sentence after.
  • Children are encouraged to find key words in text as part of the process to answer comprehension questions.


9. Developing and expressing understanding:

  • Led by the teacher, children constructively contribute in a discussion to explore their understanding of a topic raised through reading. They respond to and build on the views of others through evidence from the text.


10. Modelling effective responses:

  • The teacher and children discuss the different types of comprehension questions being asked and which are the appropriate strategies to use when finding the answer.
  • Children recognise different types of comprehension questions and know whether the information required will be explicitly stated or implied in the text.
  • Teacher [I do…] will model varying reading strategies to answer different types of questions
  • Children [you do…] orally discuss in pairs and as a class the strategies they will use to answer different questions and give appropriate responses.
  • Teacher [I do…] Teacher will identify answering questions and justifying their answers with evidence from the text. Showing when it is useful to use a direct quote, paraphrase or adapt.
  • Children [you do…] orally discuss answers and evidence from the text.