To be a part of a child’s journey into reading is something many Early Years teachers feel is a real privilege. The excitement a child gets from first making sense of the marks on a page, taking their first tentative steps into the wonderful world of literature is a moment to treasure. As an Early Years teacher, I get to see this moment every year with the young learners in my class. It is amazing to experience firsthand how reading opens the door to learning and allows access to stories, facts, ideas and information.
At Gateway School, the staff play a vital role, not only in the development of reading skills but in the ability to enjoy reading and literature. Exposure and enjoyment for reading starts early on for a Gateway pupil. Children from Preschool to Year 6 visit the library regularly and have the opportunity to explore different books and follow their individual interests. In the classroom, children are encouraged to choose books from the selection in the classroom to enjoy. Our daily storytime is a special time to explore themes and vocabulary or join in with the repeated lines found in the books we share together. The Year 6 children are currently rehearsing for their end-of-year performance - ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ which allows them to take creative risks, giving them a sense of confidence and ownership over the text. The children are becoming confident and fluent in their performance and I know many of the staff and members of our Gateway community are eagerly awaiting the end of year performance.
Recently the Early Years team has worked tirelessly to hold live online ‘Preschool Story Adventures’. During these adventures, a member of the staff will read a story both to the children in Preschool and to those that join us online. Each week different stories are chosen by the Preschool children for a member of staff to read. After the story is read one of our specialist teachers delivers an activity based on the story. You may hear Madame Morrall retell key parts of ‘Room on the Broom’ in French, or Mr Mitchener teaching a song to go with ‘Dear Zoo’. There have been rainbows in jars, slime and dances to enjoy. All with the purpose of igniting a love of reading. The best thing about a Friday morning Story Adventure is that they are lots of fun for both the children and the adults involved.
Reading really is so important and Dr Seuss was right when he wrote “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” As adults, we know that developing a love of reading in children from an early age is so useful in later life: in fact, enjoying books and reading stories is crucial in the development of the child. Not only does it develop their ability to understand words but it encourages them to begin to develop their imagination - to see things and imagine things and concepts from the world around them.
If you are free on a Friday morning, why not join us on a Story Adventure…….who knows where we will go.
Mrs Samantha Woods
Head of Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1