We ensure consistency and a systematic approach to the teaching and learning of synthetic phonics as the prime method by which children learn to read and spell independently, automatically and confidently in the first years of their schooling. Our approach, which follows the advice in ‘Letters and Sounds’ and English Appendix 1: Spelling (National curriculum 2014), aims to reinforce our high expectations for pupil progress. [See phonics policy].
From entry into school, children take home books for the adult to share with their child. Once they are able to confidently blend sounds to read words they are then given a book that matches their phonic ability. Children who are identified as working below the expected phonics phase are provided with a range of support, varying from rhythm time, highly differentiated teaching, support in lesson, intervention and quick catch up sessions.
We believe that reading is fundamental to learning and our children deserve access to a wide range of quality texts. Therefore we have invested significantly in a structured reading scheme (Oxford Reading) that encompasses Reception all the way through to Year 6.
This approach ensures that throughout their time at Holywell, children read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in, to establish an appreciation and love of reading and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. The scheme also increases their familiarity with a wide range of books, including myths, legends and traditional stories, modern fiction, fiction from our literary heritage, and books from other cultures and traditions.
Readers who are below age-related expectations:
- Children are expected to re-read their books to develop fluency
- Children in Key Stage 2, who were just below, or just met the required standard at the end of KS1, are provided with high interest, lower reading level books (Oxford Reading Level 8 – 12)
- Children in year 3 and above whose reading is significantly below ARE (below Oxford Reading Level 8) are provided with Project Code reading books and receive reading intervention appropriate to their needs, which may include Dyslexia Gold, precision teaching, or additional 1:1 reads with an adult in school.
Teaching of Reading Skills – Comprehension and Fluency
Reading is explicitly taught through a skills-based approach. These skills, which are taught progressively but not in isolation, are decoding; fluency, expression and pace; vocabulary; retrieval (for literal questions); deduction; inference and evaluation.
These skills are taught through storytelling in Early Years and progress into whole-class guided reading approach for most pupils in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.
In Early Years, the reading skills are developed through storytelling and speaking and listening.
Children are taught reading skills in groups, depending upon their reading fluency. Children who are not yet reading fluently, read 1:1 with an adult to develop decoding and sight vocabulary.
All children read to an adult at least once a week. Children who are not regularly heard to read at home, children who are pupil premium and those who have not met the early learning goals for literacy, are heard to read more frequently each week.
In addition, whole class reading sessions take place once a week developing comprehension skills.
Year 2 and Key Stage 2
Children will be taught strategies including identifying key words in questions, skimming and scanning, finding evidence from different parts of the text to justify their points, orally rehearsing their answers and speaking in full sentences when appropriate.
Each sequence of learning will focus on the development of a key skill, which will be made explicit to the children. In addition, other skills may be woven through the learning to revise or pre-teach other skills. The key skills will be revisited each year on a cyclical basis, beginning with the more straightforward skill of retrieval, through deduction, inference and evaluation. Progression will be assured through exposure to lengthier, more complex texts and challenging vocabulary, and the expectation for children to develop their reasoning in more detail.
Children are given opportunities to practise these skills independently during these sessions and this will be extended into the wider curriculum over time. During these sessions, children will be exposed to a wide range of text types, increasing their familiarity with a wide range of genres, including myths, legends and traditional stories, modern fiction, fiction from our literary heritage, and books from other cultures and traditions.
Our reading spine has been developed to ensure progression and that children are exposed to a wide range of text types, increasing their familiarity with a wide range of genres, including myths, legends and traditional stories, modern fiction, fiction from our literary heritage, and books from other cultures and traditions. These are the books we want all of our children to know by the time they leave primary school. The texts on this spine are read for pleasure and/or form the basis of reading into writing.
Reading for Pleasure
We want to encourage children to maintain a positive attitude to reading and to ignite a life-long love of reading. We want them to explore different text types, genres and authors for themselves. We encourage reading for pleasure through a Reading Challenge, which comprises a set of fun reading tasks which are rewarded with points.
We recognise that many of our children are not regularly read to at home, and therefore do not experience the pleasure of a story, its emotional benefits, or high-class modelling of reading aloud. Therefore, class teachers read a class story, purely for enjoyment. We believe this is an entitlement for all of our pupils. In Early Years other reading for pleasure activities may include CBeebies, radio and internet story clips.