Our approach to Reading & Phonics

Phonics

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:

  • recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
  • identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make – such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’; and
  • blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.

Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.

Within EYFS and Key Stage 1, Letters and Sounds provides the framework for all phonics planning.  The children are taught in groups according to their phonics phase and are assessed every half term.  Small-group interventions are used to target specific gaps pupils may have and to enable all pupils to confidently use phonics in their learning.

The Read Write Inc Spelling programme, developed by Ruth Miskin, is used to teach and develop spelling in Year 2 (when pupils have completed Phase 5 Phonics) and across Key Stage 2.

Reading

Reading has a high priority in school and we aim for all children to read widely and often across a range of subjects to a high standard.   This necessitates developing both word-reading skills and comprehension skills in pupils, as well as enabling every pupil to access a wide range of high-quality texts by a wide selection of authors.

Within EYFS and Key Stage 1 the aim is to ensure that all pupils are able to read with fluency, stamina, confidence and develop the reading skills needed to apply to a wider range of books. The children read a range of book banded reading scheme books which are phonetically decodable.  These include Phonics Bug, Rigby Star and Oxford Reading Tree.

In FS2 the pupils access texts through story-time and role play areas and read a book-banded book weekly with an adult. In KS1 daily guided reading uses book-banded texts with pupils working in small groups to develop comprehension as well as applying fluency and decoding skills.  Alongside this, pupils engage in discussions about a quality picture book to provide opportunities to discover authors and comprehension.

As the children enter Key Stage 2, they will continue to read book banded reading scheme books before moving onto more challenging texts.

In KS2, we have developed our own 5-day cycle for guided reading to enable pupils to develop text analysis, vocabulary, evidence collection, comprehension and a stamina for reading. Each term the pupils have a focus fiction text which is supplemented by non-fiction and poetry texts.

Reading outside of guided reading lessons is very important to us, and the pupils are expected to read at least 3 times a week at home with the support of parents. Pupils read book-banded books at home throughout EYFS, KS1 and lower KS2.  When pupils are fluent, confident and competent readers they are able to choose free-choice books as their home readers.   We also have a group of reading volunteers who listen to pupils read on a 1:1 basis each week.  We believe it is important to provide pupils with as many opportunities to read as possible.  During the week, pupils are also given the chance to choose their own books to read on their own and to listen to a text as a class.

Each classroom has an engaging reading area and we have a well-stocked KS1 and KS2 library with new books added regularly. All classes are given the chance to visit the libraries weekly and choose books to read in school.

We believe it is important to celebrate reading, so each week in our Celebration Assemblies each teacher chooses a pupil who has impressed them with reading during the week. The pupils are able to choose a prize from a wide range of books which they are able to keep to take home and enjoy.

Below are some documents you may find useful:

Watch a selection of tips aimed at encouraging your childs love of reading from children’s author Julia Donaldson: