Phonics and Reading
Reading is taught as a basic skill in its own right and is practised throughout all areas of the curriculum.
In the early stages of reading, reading is taught as a discrete subject and is later practised and enhanced as a lifelong strategy and pleasure. Our children talk with enthusiasm about books they enjoy reading and can recognise how the school has developed a ‘Reading Culture.’
Children read daily in school across all subjects. In Foundation and Key Stage One they read books using the phonics they have learnt as part of their discrete phonic teaching. In addition, teachers from Y1- Y6 use whole class texts to develop higher order reading skills such as inference and deduction and authorial intent. The reading books often link to topic themes further enhancing knowledge and skills. Children read widely across different subjects.
We endeavour to create fluent readers who can read accurately, with appropriate intonation. Once children are ‘freed’ from focusing on word recognition, we teach specific reading comprehension strategies using the acronym ‘VIPERS’ which covers all National Curriculum objectives.
Comprehension strategies are modelled before pupil practise the strategies with feedback. We encourage children to take greater responsibility for their own learning and reduce the modelling as they become more confident with answering a range of questions.
What do our Whole Class Reading sessions look like?
- All children reading the same text which has been carefully selected, with an appropriate level of challenge.
- Children will be exposed to a wide range of texts, genres and media throughout the year.
- Purposeful speaking and listening activities which support the development of childrens’ language.
- Guided oral instruction - teachers modelling fluent reading and then children reading the same text with appropriate feedback.
- Repeated reading - children read a short passage a set number of times to improve fluency and understanding.
- The teaching of specific comprehension strategies (VIPERS) which are modelled before being practised by the children.
- Teacher’s modelling inference making by ‘thinking aloud’.
- Children articulating their ideas verbally before writing them down.
- Differentiated questioning (if appropriate).
Parents are encouraged to support reading at home and children are expected to read daily. The school has a wide-range of age related home reading books which the children choose themselves. Alongside this, children in EYFS and KS1 take home a phonetically decodable book matched to their phonic ability and stage they are at in Read, Write, Inc. Each child has an individual diary where reading is recorded and tracked and is a means of communicating development to the child, parent and teacher. Children are also encouraged to take books home from the school library.
Phonics is taught using the Read, Write Inc (RWI) programme, a resource which integrates phonics with comprehension, spelling and handwriting, using engaging partner work.
All staff in EYFS and KS1 have received extensive training and support using this resource to maximise progress and develop confident readers and writers. RWI sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.
All Read, Write, Inc lessons are based on the 5 Ps:
- PRAISE – We believe children learn quickly in a positive climate.
- PACE – A good pace is the key to each session to ensure all children are engaged and on task.
- PURPOSE – Every part of the lesson has a specific purpose linked to word reading and comprehension. Each teacher has been trained in Read, Write, Inc. methods. They know the purpose of each activity and how it leads to the next.
- PASSION – Learning is brought to life because of the energy, enthusiasm and passion that teachers put into the lesson.
- PARTICIPATION – A strong feature of Read Write Inc. lessons is partner work and the partners ‘teaching’ each other. Children work in small groups and participate fully in every lesson.
What does a Read, Write, Inc. lesson look like?
Children are placed into ability groups and then learn various phonemes (segments of sound) and the corresponding grapheme i.e. how that sound is written.
Sounds are divided into 3 sets. All lessons begin with children learning a new speed sound. In Reception children will learn Set 1 sounds and some Set 2 sounds; in Years 1 and 2 (Key Stage 1), children will secure Set 2 sounds and learn new Set 3 sounds. Children are introduced to storybooks and non-fiction texts that are closely matched to their phonic knowledge.
They take part in various book activities throughout the week such as:
- Story introductions and discussions
- Jump-in and vocabulary games
- Think About the Story Time
- Questions to talk about and answer
Children read the text at least three times over the week. On the first read, children focus on accurate word reading; the second, on developing fluency; and on the third, comprehension. Fluency and comprehension increase with each repeated read.
In Year 1 the children have to complete the statutory Year 1 phonics screening check. This is a short, light-touch assessment to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard. It will identify the children who need extra help so they are given support by the school to improve their reading skills. They will then be able to retake the check so that we can track pupils until they are able to decode.