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Talk through stories (Reception to Year 2)

In Reception and Key Stage 1, sessions designed to develop comprehension and foster a love for reading take place every day. These begin with a greater focus on listening comprehension, moving towards developing an understanding of written (language) comprehension.

These whole class sessions are based on the high quality texts selected for Story time with the following balance of fiction, non-fiction and poetry covered in a six-week term:

Talk through stories x 4 weeks (2 x texts)

Talk through non-fiction x 1 weeks

Talk through poetry x 1 week

The Talk through Stories approach helps to build children's oracy and prosody, whilst simultaneously developing children's language and vocabulary comprehension skills. We follow a two-week timetable for each text selected. 

In the Story time sessions, we help children to get to know the text really well. We spend time exploring the plot, the characters, their actions and motives.  We learn familiar and favourite phrases whilst joining in with retelling the story.  If the children are already very familiar with the story, the content of these sessions may be covered in fewer sessions. We revisit and retell parts of / the whole story every day. 

In the Vocabulary time sessions, we explore approximately eight words from the story.
These words have been specifically selected as they are what Isabel Beck, calls ‘Tier 2’ words. These are words that the children are unlikely to hear in everyday conversation but are likely to come across in stories. These words are not only explored in the context of the story but also in the context of the children’s everyday lives. We revisit and recap the vocabulary learnt every day. After we have completed a text, we retrieve vocabulary learnt through games such as 'Words on the Wall', and incidental practice. 

An example of the tier 2 vocabulary taught using 'A Little Bit Brave'

An example of the Talk through Stories teaching sequence can be found below. (In a non-fiction or poetry week, the focus for each session is adapted accordingly to ensure a growing understanding of the text under study.)