Reading and Phonics
Our intent is that the children engage in a rich curriculum which encourages extensive reading. Every child is unique in their learning and to recognise this we work on a continuum for reading which is guided by, but not limited to, the three phases across school. The teaching of phonics is fundamental to the school and there is a clear structure and sequence for the teaching of phonics.
Our first priority is to help the children to decode and to enable this, in Key Stage 1, the children’s reading books are sound matched until they become fluent decoders. If children have not achieved an expected level of progress in Phonics by the end of Key Stage 1, they will continue intervention phonics sessions in Key Stage 2. Once the children are efficient decoders, we work on fluency and comprehension.
Phonics is developed using the Sounds-Write Phonics scheme through daily 20-minute sessions, in ability groups. Children are taught blending and segmenting, as well as the sounds and letter names, through literacy-based activities. There is regular monitoring and assessment, using Phonics Tracker so that teaching can be adapted accordingly. To support and develop the children’s progress with phonics, children regularly read aloud at home or school.
Teachers and teaching assistants keep parents regularly informed about their child’s reading, noting in the organiser whenever they have a new book or hear the child read individually. Parents also note in the organiser when they have heard the child read at home. Children will choose two books a week from the library to apply the phonics skills that they have learnt. Teachers and teaching assistants will monitor the books chosen by children, ensuring that they are choosing a range of appropriate books. Book bands pink to orange are fully decodable, following schemes such as: Rising Stars Rocket Phonics, Oxford Reading Tree Floppy Phonics and Big Cat Phonics. All these books contain a mixture of specially chosen fiction and non- fiction that challenge advanced readers whilst still retaining appropriate and stimulating age-related content.
When teachers plan reading lessons, the high-quality literature that is shared with the children is chosen carefully to engage children in topics and ensure they are suitability challenged. We believe that active encouragement of reading for pleasure is a core part of every child’s educational entitlement, whatever their background or attainment because we know that extensive reading and exposure to a wide range of texts make a huge contribution to pupils’ educational achievement.
We actively encourage reading for pleasure, through activities such as regular ERIC (Everyone Reading in Class) sessions, inviting reading areas in the classroom and recommended reads. Also, we have a vibrant library that not only invites in reluctant readers, but provides children with a wide range of texts to choose from. We regularly resource the library based on children’s interests so that there are texts suitable for all readers.
We believe that reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds. We hold reading for pleasure at the heart of everything we do so pupils develop a real love and thirst for reading a range of genres. Therefore, all of the children have access to a library, which contains a wide and varied mix of different text types, authors, writing styles and interests and is updated regularly as need occurs.
Reading is taught in Key Stage 2 through regular whole class reading sessions and in Foundation and Key Stage 1 through a mixture of whole class reading sessions and small group guided reading sessions. We explicitly teach children the skills necessary to become a fluent reader as well as actively encouraging children to understand the deeper meaning of texts. We do this via VIPERS lessons where pupils are taught how to infer, predict, explain, summarise and retrieve information from a range of texts as well as focus on the use of vocabulary. This allows children to develop their comprehension skills to a high level.
Our intent is to promote high standards of literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the written and spoken word.
To develop the appropriate subject specific knowledge, skills and understanding, as set out in the National Curriculum, we have undertaken a multifaceted approach to writing, whereby all subject areas include the opportunities for pupils to express their thoughts in a range of written styles. It is vital that our children are exposed to a range of texts, from across different genres and subject areas, to embed ambitious vocabulary choices and secure expectations of writing across the curriculum. This exposure to a variety of curricular areas encourages a range of writers and writing styles, allowing children to be absorbed within their learning and retelling.
Writing is a crucial skill that is embedded across all year groups; consolidation of fine motor skills and phonic strategies are implemented in lower school and working towards securing confidence with independent pieces is of priority in Key Stage 2.
We are intent on our students leaving our academy with a certainty that they are able to communicate effectively in writing – and to enjoy being able to express themselves in this way.
Our curriculum is designed so that knowledge and skills are interleaved, for example in Year 2 children are taught the underpinning structure and form of poetry (knowledge) then proceed to apply these skills in their own poetry. Writing is taught using inspirational and thought- provoking novels, non-fiction, poetry and film. Over the course of a year pupils should have studied a wide and varied range of text types.
Pupils in Key Stages 1 and Key Stage 2 follow ‘The Writing Cycle.’ This includes direct teaching, modelling, shared and guided writing to form a solid foundation for the pupil’s independent writing. Pupils should have time to edit and improve their writing and to discuss feedback and targets with their teachers.