Following the Letters and Sounds document, phonics is taught in Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and beyond. Lessons are taught daily and follow a four – part lesson structure of Review, Teach, Practice and Apply. Children are assessed regularly and are taught in small, differentiated groups. Lessons are taught through interactive resources, songs and actions and the use of whiteboards. Children work both independently and collaboratively with partners and in small groups to hone their phonological knowledge and skills.
Regular monitoring of children’s progress allows gaps in learning to be identified and children to receive appropriate intervention programmes. All classrooms have phonic displays and resources for children to use during their lessons.
Spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG) is taught throughout Key Stage 1 with a specific focus on spelling in Year 2. Phonics programmes continue into Lower Key Stage 2 for those children not meeting the expected standard in the phonics screening test.
Reading in EYFS
We want our children to develop a love of books, therefore we read a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books. The class teacher ensures that there is always time for a story at the end of each day. Children also have the opportunity to look at books independently in the themed book areas and around the classroom.
We teach high quality daily phonic lessons following the Letters and Sounds Program. As children’s phonic knowledge advances and they can blend their phonemes together to build words, they are given a reading book to take home to practise and apply this skill. The books that children take home are phonetically decodable and relate to their phonic phase.
Teaching of reading
Reading is a fundamental life skill and is at the heart of our curriculum. We aim to give children opportunities to become critical, thoughtful readers through using relevant and inspiring texts within our SFA sessions, as part of our immersive approach. As children become confident readers, we encourage them to develop their own interests and preferences by providing a wide range of high-quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry. We believe that a love of reading can open minds, fire the imagination and develop critical thinking.
During SFA sessions, children will have the opportunity to delve into a range of high-quality texts which match their reading ability. Children are exposed to ‘treasure hunts’ where they are developing their understanding of how to answer a range of comprehension questions. There will be plenty of opportunities for the children to discuss the texts with peers or as a group to further their understanding. Evidence for this is in their books through written comprehension tasks; however, there are some lessons where the treasure hunts are completed through discussions with their partners/teams. There are lots of opportunity for talk within the sessions, which we feel is important, so labels are sometimes included in these books to give an outline of what children may have done throughout the session if there is no written work.
In addition, we sometimes use reading comprehensions, often themed, to raise awareness of question types that children may face within a formal reading test. We encourage children to identify the different types of question and the specific skills required to answer that question.
In Key Stage One, all children are in a focused Guided Reading Group. Each group has a text to share and enjoy. An adult will listen to each group, weekly, with a focused learning objective. We use this time to ensure children are reading the correct colour book band.
All children in school have an individual reading book which can be changed regularly and taken home. Partnership with parents is important; the reading diary helps us to maintain links and continuity between home and school. Reading books in school are organised through the ‘book banding’ system to enable children to choose books at an appropriate level of difficulty and to make progress through the bands.
Listening to stories read aloud in class by a variety of authors is promoted in all classes and is another way that children can experience a range of texts. The ‘class story’ also gives invaluable opportunities for discussion and can be a memorable shared experience.
Teachers’ assessments of reading are based on their professional judgments and evidence from SFA sessions, as well as standardised materials (PIRA). We also use YARC as a form of assessment to gain their reading age and their comprehension level for some of the learners.
We want the children to be avid, enthusiastic readers, so reading for pleasure is promoted widely in school through events and activities such as Book Week, book fairs, displays, assemblies, author visits, competitions, and clubs. We are committed to giving children time to read and be immersed in reading.