Reading and Phonics
As a school, we recognise that learning to read is one of the most important things our children will ever learn. It underpins everything else they will do and so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible. We want our children to develop a real love of reading and to want to read for themselves. We believe reading is key for academic success. At Spring Gardens, we aim to provide all children with a literacy-rich environment, high quality texts and inspiring learning opportunities, which will guide them to gain a life-long enjoyment of reading and books. Through a progressive teaching programme, which builds on prior learning and also takes account of each child’s different starting point, the intent is that our children will be able to:
* Apply a knowledge of structured synthetic phonics in order to decode unfamiliar words with increasing accuracy and speed;
* Develop a good linguistic knowledge of vocabulary and grammar at an age appropriate level;
* Read accurately, fluently and with understanding, regardless of the subject;
* Read with expression, clarity and confidence;
* Respond to a wide range of different text types and develop a deeper level of emotional intelligence and empathy at an age appropriate level;
* Develop their imagination and enthusiasm, whilst also developing their knowledge of the world by introducing literature which reflects a wide range of cultures and attitudes.
To ensure that all children experience success in learning to read, we adopt a holistic approach to the teaching of reading by implementing the following:
We start by teaching phonics in Nursery, throughout the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One. We deliver a bespoke phonics curriculum using Letters and Sounds as our core scheme. Letters and Sounds is a comprehensive programme where the children first learn letter sounds and then begin to blend these sounds together to read words and then segment these sounds to write words. As part of this, teachers deliver daily phonics lessons with small groups of children. These sessions allow children to participate in speaking, listening, reading and spelling activities that are matched to their developing needs. The teachers draw upon observations and continuous formative assessment to ensure children are stretched and challenged and to identify children who may need additional support. Children work through the different phases, learning and developing their phonics sounds and knowledge.
Throughout school, children also take part in daily Guided or Reciprocal reading lessons where they are exposed to a range of different challenging texts and are provided with opportunities to explore the concepts of prediction, clarification, summarising and questioning when reading and exploring the text.
We have a wide range of reading books in our school. All children take home at least one reading book and this reading book is changed at least weekly. We have two school libraries which the children visit once a week and select a book of their choice to take home and read for pleasure. Using Project Loans from the local library, each classroom has a selection of books which are directly linked with the class topic. This offers opportunities for the children to apply their reading skills across the curriculum.
Children are read to each day by their class teacher. This is from a book in our school reading spine that runs from Nursery to Year 6 or from a specific chosen book by the children or teacher.
Each classroom has a reading area that is filled with books suitable for their reading age. As far as space allows, this will include a comfortable place for children to read throughout the day.
Children have the opportunity to take part in ‘Reading Buddies’, in which children
mix with other children from different year groups and share a book together.
We complete reading assessments (Benchmarking, NFER) on a termly basis and
use these to create a gap analysis to plan and implement interventions and support all pupils in reaching their potential.
We provide wider experiences to promote reading in school, such as author visits, celebrating special literacy themed days across the year, book club which gives children the opportunity to talk about and recommend books, as well as book fayres.
Children who are not yet ‘free readers’, will work through our school reading scheme – these are levelled books which match the children’s current reading ability. We expect family at home to read these books with their child daily and make comments in their child’s reading record. Initially the children will read specific reading books directly aligned with their phonics teaching in a bid to ensure success and develop a love of reading and an enthusiasm to read more.
Regardless of background, ability or additional needs, by the time children leave Spring Gardens, they will have the acquired skills to decode words in order to be able to read fluently and with a secure understanding of what they read. Through the teaching of systematic phonics and regular reading, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension of a variety of texts, as they move through the school. Attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage 1 and 2. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally.
Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1. However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments. We give all children the opportunity to enter the magical worlds that books open up to them.