The subject leader for Literacy is Mrs Binks
In our school, we use Letters and Sounds for the teaching of phonics. This is a resource which was produced by the Department for Education. It builds speaking and listening skills and prepares children for reading by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills so that children can become fluent readers. The programme is divided in to overlapping phases as detailed below. Children in Class 1 and 2 will have a daily phonics session where they will learn and practice the skills identified in the table below. They will learn at a steady pace and can learn up to 3 new sounds in a week. Children are assessed regularly, in a relaxed way, so that we understand clearly what they are able to do and so that we can identify any gaps in their knowledge or skills so that we can work with the children to close these gaps. We aim to make phonics sessions fun and interactive by using songs and rhymes, games, actions and lots of visual aids.
Phonic Knowledge and Skills
|Phase One (Nursery/Reception)||Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.|
|Phase Two (Reception)||Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.|
|Phase Three (Reception)||The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the “simple code”, i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.|
|Phase Four (Reception)||No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.|
|Phase Five (Throughout Year 1)||Now we move on to the “complex code”. Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.|
|Phase Six (Throughout Year 2 and beyond)||Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.|
Reading in EYFS and KS1
In EYFS and KS1, we use the Oxford Reading Tree scheme and Bug Club for children’s home reading books. They work through the books throughout their time in school as they gradually increase in difficulty. The books progress from wordless books, where children are asked to describe what is happening in the pictures to tell a story, to books with phonics decodable words and books which have a range of more complex words. Reading books are matched to the child’s phonics ability.
In school reading sessions, our pupils also follow the Read Write Inc and Rigby Star reading schemes. Throughout the reading stages, pupils are asked comprehension questions to check their understanding of words and stories.
Reading in KS2
In KS2 children continue to work through the Oxford Reading Tree according to their reading ability and progress onto the Treetops reading books. We also use the New Way and Ginn 360 schemes so our children gain a wider experience of different types of characters, genres of writing and a range of font styles. Children are encouraged to read at home as often as possible and there are adults in school who will also listen to the children read. As they move through KS2, children are increasingly encouraged to change their own reading books and they also have the opportunity to select books of their choice from the library to read at home and in school during our daily quiet reading sessions.
Reading comprehension skills are regularly taught during literacy lessons and children who are identified as needing additional support are given intervention in reading comprehension to enable them to make good progress. Each child has a reading reward bookmark to collect signatures when they finish reading a book. Once their bookmark is completed, children earn a raffle ticket with a chance to win a free book in our prize draw at the end of every half term.
In guided reading, we teach the skills that children need in order to be able to read and understand a range of text types. We use a wide variety of books according to the children’s needs and the learning objective. Our guided reading books include: Treetops Classics, Rigby Navigator, Literacy World and Rapid Readers.
Children in school use the Accelerated Reader (AR) program. It has proved to be a very effective system for motivating children and ensuring good progress in reading.
What is Accelerated Reader?
AR is a computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Your child picks a book at his/her own level and reads it at his/her own pace. When finished, your child takes a short quiz on the computer – passing the quiz is an indication that your child has understood what has been read. The absolute key is the understanding – your child may be able to physically read the words of almost any book out loud but the quizzes test the understanding/comprehension of the chosen text. AR gives both children and teachers feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher then uses to help your child set targets and direct ongoing reading practice. AR will not take the place of Guided Reading. Specific skills for decoding and comprehension will be taught by your child’s class teacher, but AR will help to ensure that the children’s independent reading practice is appropriate and effective.
Children using AR have a free choice of the books they read (within their given range), rather than having one assigned to them. This makes reading a much more enjoyable experience as they feel in control and can choose books that are interesting to them. Teachers and teaching assistants will be on hand to help your child choose books that are at an appropriate reading level. These will be challenging without being frustrating and will also be at a level at which your child can pass the quiz and experience success.
If your child is struggling with the quiz, the teacher may assist him/her by:
- Helping choose another book that is more appropriate
- Asking more probing questions as your child reads and before he/she takes a quiz
- Pairing your child with another pupil or even having the book read to your child.
In most cases, children really enjoy taking the quizzes. Since they are reading books at their own reading and interest levels, they are likely to be successful.
How long will my child read during the school day?
According to research, children who read at least 20 minutes a day with a 90% comprehension rate (average percentage correct) on AR quizzes see the greatest gains. Therefore, your child will have at least 20 minutes set aside for reading and quizzing during each school day.
How can I help my child become a better reader?
As with anything, performance improves with practice. Encourage your child to read at home. Create a culture of reading in your household by reading with your child, starting a home library, visiting your local library or bookshop on a regular basis, letting your child see you reading and discussing books that each of you have read. When reading with your child, stop and ask questions to be sure your child is comprehending what is read. Reading with your child, no matter what the child’s age, is an important part of developing a good reader.