Phonics and Reading
What do we do about reading and phonics?
At ARH we are extremely passionate about reading. We feel every pupil deserves to be inspired and motivated so we have embedded a range of personalised school strategies to promote a love for reading. As a school we take pleasure in the challenge of meeting the engagement levels of all pupils hence we take our time in discussing and understanding, with the pupils, which specific types of books are popular to them. We then ensure these books are bought and shared, used as guided reading books and as books taken home to be read for pleasure. Each year pupils take home over 16 000 books from our school library so we know this approach really works. We are eager to embed the importance of learning to read and reading for pleasure from a young age – to secure this positive outlook we began a fantastic scheme called ‘Partner Classes.’ Every class is ‘buddied’ up and reading for pleasure or other reading activities take place as a joint class event. This has proved to be very successful and a fun time for pupils throughout the school, making way for classes to share their knowledge and passion for reading.
Phonics and Reading in Year 1
Children in this year are heard reading individually in the Autumn term. They are heard once a week by a teacher or teaching assistant who assess their reading level and phonics knowledge. This information informs the Year 1 weekly phonics planning. Children take part in a Guided Reading session weekly in the Spring and Summer term. Guided Reading is an approach that involves a teacher working with a small group of children with similar abilities in reading. The text offers children challenges and opportunities to solve problems and answer comprehension questions. We aim for all children to be confident with Phase 5 sounds and become a level 15 reader by the end of Year 1. All the books in Year 1 through to Year 2 are colour coded and banded according to the National Curriculum. There are a set of eight bands, set by the Government, that are used to measure a child’s progress against other pupils of the same age, across the country.
Reading Recovery in Year 1
Reading Recovery is a reading and writing intervention for children in Year 1. After being selected through detailed assessments, children have a one-to-one lesson with a specially trained teacher for half an hour daily. The lessons are tailored to the child’s individual needs and enable children to achieve accelerated progress. In addition, the Reading Recovery teacher works with another group of children for fifteen minute sessions to boost their reading and writing skills.
Phonics and Reading in Year 2
In Year 2 we have an initial baseline assessment to determine the phonics groups. These groups are set and taught by a teacher to ensure high quality teacher driven learning. We assess the children each term to determine progress. Those children who have completed phonics will then move onto the national curriculum and these sessions will be based on grammar and punctuation. In the Autumn term all children in Year 2 have a baseline assessment to determine their reading level which also provides teachers with a beginning judgement on which to base progression. Throughout the year, Guided Reading sessions are incorporated into each school day. Two sessions of Guided Reading are carried out on a daily basis. The session is organised as a carousel of activities which provides the children will additional English activities such as; learning high frequency words, developing their comprehension, individual reads and activities to develop their grammar and punctuation.
Reading Buddies in Year 2
As year 2 is assessed with S.A.T.s we provide an intervention delivered at lunch times where Year 5 pupils meet a Year 2 reading buddy on a daily basis. This intervention provides a meaningful and friendly relationship amongst pupils who not only listen to each other read but also help to develop their understanding of texts through questions and discussions.
Reading in Key Stage 2
As the children progress through Key Stage 2, the main focus is centred towards enriching comprehension skills. We are passionate about not only teaching children to decode the words on the page, but gain a deeper understanding of what they are reading. Guided Reading has proved to be one of the most successful strategies in drawing out pupils’ knowledge and understanding of various texts and helps to promote a love of reading for pleasure. Pupils in Key Stage 2 participate in daily Guided Reading sessions and are exposed to a diverse range of stimulating texts. Working as part of a small group, the pupils work with the teacher or teaching assistant and explore sections of text through effective questioning. Fun follow-up tasks are key in ensuring that the pupils can apply their knowledge and understanding and demonstrate that they have truly mastered that specific text.
In addition to this, the teaching of reading and writing has a bigger emphasis on spelling and grammar. Pupils in Key Stage 2 follow the school spelling policy, whereby they learn the explicit spelling pattern at the beginning of the weekly cycle and explore these patterns through interactive games and activities. At the end of the week, the pupils are assessed through a spelling test, which is differentiated. We believe that a positive and interactive approach to spelling will encourage children to recognise their achievements in spelling rather than allowing spelling to be associated simply with mistakes and corrections.
In Year 5 we have a pupil premium funded intervention called 'Premiere League Football Reading Challenge.' These sessions are dynamic and engaging, particularly for the boys, as we are fortunate to have activities delivered by Leicester City Football Club Education Coaches. Pupils receive match tickets for their achievements and progress which motivates pupils to develop a positive approach to reading.
In Year 6, we run a very successful ‘Ready and Reading’ intervention, targeting pupils who need to achieve a level 3 in the S.A.T.’s test. This more project-based form of support aims to raise pupils’ esteem and boost their attitudes towards reading. At the end of the project, pupils have the opportunity to take part in the ‘Summer Read Scheme’ and select 6 books to read over the summer holidays which really helps pupils to keep their reading miles up! Ultimately, this intervention prepares these pupils for the wider challenges that lay ahead at secondary school.
How to help with your child’s reading at home:
We encourage all of our pupils to read at home and to log evidence of this in their home reading journal. At the back of the journal, you will find some useful questions that you could use when reading with your child. These types of questions help to strengthen their understanding and make reading a much more enjoyable and interactive experience! If your child reads independently, you may find some of these suggestions valuable:
Can your child sum up in one sentence what they have just read?
Could they make a comic strip of what they have read?
Can they create a quiz based upon the book they have just read?
Can they write a book review, recommending it to a friend?
Previously, we have run parent and carer workshops after school to showcase strategies you can use at home to enhance your child’s reading and how they can make good progress in this subject. During the workshops, we offer a crèche for children to enjoy whilst parents have fun in the workshops! The positive feedback that we have received about these workshops means you can look out for more running in the future.