Reading is prioritised throughout the school as foundational to all other learning and academic development.
Early Reading and Systematic Synthetic Phonics
In EYFS and KS1 reading is primarily taught through the systematic synthetic phonics programme, Little Wandle Letters and Sounds. This rigorous programme allows pupils to rapidly develop an ability to decode and understand texts using a phonically based approach. Children are taught in small groups by teachers and TAs so that the content they are learning closely matches the sounds they have mastered. They read closely phonically matched books each week to develop decoding, prosody and comprehension skills.
Where pupils are struggling to grasp new learning, they are given additional interventions to support them to catch up and keep up. This continues into Year 2 and KS2 where appropriate, to ensure that every pupil is confident decoding texts fluently to allow good comprehension.
Alongside this, adults work hard to develop a love of reading in children. This is done through class stories and poems as well as texts chosen to match topics explored in other subjects. Each subject is taught with an eye on opportunities to allow pupil reading and develop skills.
Here is a guide to the phonics progression in EYFS & KS1.
Independent Reading & Accelerated Reader
As pupils progress beyond the scope of the phonics programme and are more confident decoding texts, we ensure that they become confident independent readers through a range of means.
First is direct teaching of reading in class through the use of whole class texts. Teachers carefully model reading and lead whole-class reading to ensure all pupils are confident approaching a range of unfamiliar texts and develop comprehension skills. Teachers select texts which engage and challenge the pupils, often linked to the themes of the wider curriculum. Teachers read 1-1 with pupils frequently throughout the week, and where pupils are at risk of falling behind they have more frequent 1-1 reading sessions.
Second is the use of the Accelerated Reader programme. This is a tracking system which allows pupils to complete quizzes after each book that they read. We have found that this system motivates and encourages pupils to become independent readers, whilst also giving us detailed feedback on their progress over time to allow interventions where necessary. Part of this programme is the half-termly STAR Reading assessment which gives pupils an opportunity to demonstrate their progress and gives teachers feedback on the level of books that pupils should be reading independently.
You can read more about Accelerated Reader on their website here:
Parent’s Guide to Accelerated Reader (renlearn.co.uk)
Reading at home
All pupils are expected to read at home with an adult regularly as a core component of their homework, and we have a clear expectation that parents will support them with this, as outlined in our behaviour policy.
Class 1 pupils should read with an adult five times a week, whilst we expect Class 2 children to read with an adults 3 times a week as a minimum.
Each year we hold a reading workshop for parents to attend, led by Mr Prescott or Mrs Umpleby, which gives parents advice on how to read well with their children and support them at home. If you would like more support with this then please do speak your child’s class teacher.
Writing is initially taught alongside phonics, with pupils applying their phonics skills as they learn them in each session.
Children in EYFS are given frequent opportunities to write, both through adult-led activities and through carefully planned provision in the Early Years areas which allows opportunities for pupils to develop from initial mark-making right through to writing full & coherent sentences.
In Key Stage 1 & 2, teachers teach writing through discrete sessions as well as through cross-curricular opportunities. Teachers give pupils writing tasks which develop their skills carefully. Writing is always linked to a current topic, text or activity and teachers look for opportunities for pupils to write for real purposes, such as writing letters or texts for school events.
Spelling is taught as a discrete area of the curriculum and pupils learn spelling patterns and rules in line with the national curriculum. In KS2 pupils follow the Twinkl spelling teaching progression and have a directly taught lesson on this each week, followed by opportunities for independent practice and revision throughout the week.
Punctuation and Grammar are directly taught, and teachers make every effort to make this area fun and meaningful by linking it to texts that pupils are reading, as well as explaining the effect of using punctuation and grammar effectively in their writing.
The document below outlines how Curriculum Maestro promotes literacy by suggesting linked texts and activities to accompany its main projects.