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Reading @ MKK

During 2008 we undertook extensive professional development and reflection on our reading programmes.  This has had a big impact on our daily reading lessons and will have a big impact on student outcomes.


In the past we have had a major focus on decoding skills (working out unknown words). The texts the students have read have been at an Instructional Level, where they need support from a teacher. Most children at MKK now how well developed word attack skills but some still struggle with meaning.


We now have a better understanding of comprehension skills. To be able to comprehend a text the children must be able to read it fluently. 

If a child is stopping, even a few times, on a page to work out a word, they will quickly lose the overall meaning of the piece. To be able to enjoy reading and get the full benefit of it you must be able to understand the words, the author’s purpose, the inferences made, the humour etc. 


Enjoyment comes from success and vice versa. We are now making sure students are reading texts they can gain meaning from. In our reading lessons we may be using the same text 2 or 3 times but for different purposes.


Our lessons are becoming much more focused on Specific Learning Intentions (nailing down exactly what we want the students to learn and practice in the next 20 minutes) rather than trying to cover everything in the text in one lesson.  During lessons the students will spend a lot more time reading and discussions will be referring them back to the text and finding evidence for their answers.


In class reading activities are focussed on reading skills and further exploring the text.  They may include: the children using Thinking Maps to show their understanding, cloze exercises to read for meaning, language activities, word and sentence activities etc.


It is important the children spend a lot of time building up reading mileage (reading and reading and reading).  This will help develop their sight vocabulary (being able to see a word and recognise it without reading it) and build up their knowledge of books.  These texts need to be at a level the students can read easily – they need to practice reading independently – this can not be done if they are struggling with decoding.

At school the children will be given a lot more opportunities to read texts they can comprehend. This may mean independently reading texts at slightly lower levels than they are capable of. This will speed up their reading and develop confidence.



Reading at home needs to be for enjoyment and practice.  It is not a teaching time. Therefore the texts the children bring home will be at a lower level than they are reading with their teacher.  In the junior school, the Home Learning texts the children bring home will be ones they have already read at school.  They should be able to read these to you reasonably fluently – focus on enjoying and understanding the story.









MKK, 68 Kereru Rd, RD1, Hastings, +64 6 874 9700, office@mkk.school.nz