Reading is the gateway to the rest of the school curriculum and it is at the centre of everything we do. We are passionate about the teaching of reading because we believe being a fluent reader is the most important fundamental skill and key to a child’s academic success. It is our expectation that all children can and will leave us at the end of primary school as fluent and passionate readers.
Our key priority is to develop fluent reading as early as possible. Becoming a fluent and skilled reader starts from a very early age, even before they start school, through talk with parents. Child focused conversations, songs and rhymes, as well as listening to stories, are all key parts of a child becoming a fluent reader. Sharing a book with a child from a young age can open the joy and wonder of stories and prepare them to become committed and enthusiastic readers.
At school our work on helping children become fluent and skilled readers starts from their first day in school through creating a language rich curriculum and environment. We place a real focus on supporting children with high quality interactions and dialogue with adults and children. This, alongside the sharing of rhymes, songs and story telling encourage a love of books and lay the foundations for a positive attitude to learning to read. This is done through a daily phonics session which teaches the children to decode words through letter-sound correspondences. This is consolidated and embedded throughout every part of the school day.
Our Phonics leader in school is Steph Brogden.
Our English leader for reading across the school is Julie Roys.
Daily Phonics Sessions
Daily phonics sessions are taught through Read Write Inc as a systematic and rigorous approach. As children progress through the phonics scheme, they are required to write individual sounds as well as lists of words. They are challenged to write captions, initially with support, then independently and are also introduced to pseudo words daily. All planning and delivery is specific to the children and year group being taught. High expectations are set across the school and daily delivery of phonics from Nursery to Year 2 is a priority. The progression of sounds delivered is outlined in the table below and is followed from Nursery to Year 2. The progression of sounds delivered is outlined in the table in Appendix I and is followed from Nursery to Year 2.
At Richard Coates Primary, we ensure our school’s phonics program matches or exceeds the expectations of the national curriculum and the early learning goals. The school has clear expectations for pupils' phonics progress term-by-term, from Reception to Year 2; which is outlined in the table below.
We organise our daily phonics groups so that children work in small groups with peers who are working at the same level. In addition, phonics skills are also taught in non-discrete sessions, and teachers take opportunities to incorporate phonics teaching into all areas of the curriculum and incidental moments of the school day. Phonics teachers carefully assess children and their progress in phonics so any additional support needed for individuals is identified early.
Whilst most children will become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1, for some children additional phonics and catchup sessions may be needed in Key Stage 2. These sessions are planned and built into their daily timetable through intervention groups.
Reading scheme - reading for success and developing a love of reading
Research shows us that children most benefit from having a reading book which is very closely matched to their phonic ability so that they are able to blend all of the words in the book. Therefore, at the beginning of a child’s reading journey, the basis of our reading scheme is phonetically matched books from the Read Write Inc Scheme.
We ensure that the books that children take home to read are carefully matched to their phonic ability. These books are intended to be read independently by the child and should be fully decodable based on their previous phonics learning. Books are issued by the child’s phonics teacher and are then carefully checked by the child’s class teacher. These books are a celebration of each child's success in reading and to help them consolidate all that they have learned that week in phonics.
As the children become more confident readers and move away from phonics, we replace phonically matched books with book banded books from a range of different publishers, such as Bug Club, as well as a range of other types of texts such as e-Books. We also encourage children to read widely at home and children are rewarded not just for reading books issued at school, but also texts that have been chosen and selected by the child.
We are very clear that phonics is absolutely vital in teaching children to read, however it also key l that readers have a love of reading and secure comprehension skills. Therefore, we also give children the opportunity each week to choose a book themselves, from a range of fiction and non-fiction books from our class libraries, which captures their interest. This book is for the parent and child to share together; the child may read it to the adult or, if some of the words are beyond their stage of development in phonics, then we ask parents to read those words or the book to their child, using their own judgement on this on a book by book basis.
We teach reading comprehension through reciprocal reading, beginning in Nursery all the way through to Year 6. The principles of reciprocal reading (predict, clarify, summarise and question) are constantly revisited and developed throughout school, and teachers use these principles as a basis for their questioning. Teaching reading in this way allows us to have flexibility to choose engaging and powerful texts, without being limited to a certain scheme or genre. Furthermore, reciprocal reading allows us to teach reading across different areas of the curriculum and to use texts which are linked to our wider curriculum, enriching children’s experience of reading. Great emphasis is also placed on teaching inference skills across the key stages.
We also draw upon Pie Corbett’s Reading Spine as a basis for stories read aloud in class. These are a range of classic and essential reads that help to foster an ongoing love of reading and deepen children’s comprehension skills.
A Parent and School Partnership
Supporting a child to become a fluent reader depends upon the successful partnership between home and school. Home reading is practice of the phonics they have learned in school and therefore whilst it may appear that the book is too “easy” for your child, this is because confidence and practice are essential in the teaching of early, fluent, reading development.