Reading & Phonics
“Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.” English National Curriculum 2014
To develop our children as readers we:
- Place a high importance on the teaching of phonics as the foundation of learning to read. Early Years and Key Stage 1 children are taught Supersonic Phonics daily.
- Put in place any intervention for Key Stage 2 children who still require support with phonics work
- Teach them to read accurately and fluently using a range of strategies
- Aim to fulfil a positive home agreement partnership by encouraging children to read at home to adults on a regular basis
- Help them to understand and respond to what they read using inference and deduction where appropriate
- Supply varied reading materials so that children have a diet of non-fiction, fiction and poetry reading texts
- Encourage them to read independently and for pleasure, which ultimately helps to increase pupils’ vocabulary
- Teach them to seek information and learn from what they read
- Encourage them to use their reading skills as an integral part of their learning across the curriculum
- Read regularly to children so as to model good practice in reading
- Provide a rich literacy environment, with book corners in every classroom and central library area for whole school use.
- Organise Library Bus visits through the year, organise yearly World Book Day activities and hold Spellbinding Book Clubs.
Whole class guided reading
Teachers read with pupils a range of texts focusing on comprehension. This is an opportunity for teachers to model the act of being a fluent reader. Teachers demonstrate to the class by ‘thinking aloud’ the skills required to be a reader. For guided reading, the teacher should plan questions and activities, differentiated as appropriate, around the text that encourage the children to enjoy, understand, discuss and analyse the written word in a supported environment.
Within whole class guided reading we use Reading Vipers (taken from the Literacy Shed) as a way of exploring the different content domains found in the National Curriculum, allowing children to break down questions into key skills and understand how they are required to approach a text. We aim to have regular guided reading sessions outside of English lessons – a minimum of three times weekly in Key Stage 2. Teachers are encouraged to use a variety of medium to teach reading, including: newspaper articles, video clips, extracts from novels etc., covering a breadth of topics
At Sedbergh Primary School, we give a high priority to the teaching of phonics as we know that reading is a lifelong skill that unlocks all learning. Our aim is for all pupils to leave our school being able to read fluently and have a love of reading. Therefore, we are dedicated to ensuring that early reading, through phonics, is taught effectively every day.
Phonics is a method for teaching reading and writing to children in primary schools. Children link sounds (phonemes) and their written form (graphemes) in order to recognise and read words, using basic units of knowledge to “decode” new or unfamiliar words.
Words are made up of just 44 sounds in English. You may have heard your child or their teacher use particular words that form the core of understanding phonics. Here’s a quick explanation of some of the key concepts.
- Phoneme – the smallest unit of sound as it is spoken.
- Grapheme – a written symbol that represents a sound (phoneme) that’s either one letter or a sequence of letters
- Digraph – two letters that work together to make the same sound (ch, sh, ph)
- Trigraph – three letters that work together to make the same sound (igh, ore, ear)
- Split digraph (sometimes called ‘magic e’) – two letters that work together to make the same sound, separated by another letter in the same word. This enables children to understand the difference in vowel sounds between, for example, grip/gripe, rag/rage, tap/tape.
Rather than memorising words individually, children are taught a code which helps them to work out how to read an estimated 95% of the English language.
As of Summer 2022 we follow the ‘Supersonic Phonic Friends’ phonics scheme. All children are assessed and then grouped according to phonic ability from Nursery to Year 3. Children who take part in SSPF receive 30-minute phonics sessions on a daily basis and are assessed regularly.
The Phonics Screening Check is administered at the end of Year One by the Year One teacher, and attainment details are published nationally and to parents. Any child who does not obtain the national pass mark is required to re-sit the test at the end of Year Two. Children entering Key Stage Two who still require further assistance with phonics work attend Supersonic Phonics sessions daily. Also children in KS2 work on IDL computer programme to help with spelling.
Home reading books
EYFS – Children are heard reading independently at least twice a week in school. They will have 2 decodable phonics books, in-line with their current phonics group, that are changed weekly, on a Wednesday.
KS1 – Children are heard reading independently at least once a week in school. (Specific children may be targeted more regularly.) They will have 2 decodable phonics books, in-line with their current phonics group, that are changed weekly, on a Wednesday.
KS2: Children are heard reading independently by an adult on a regular basis, changing their books when required. Children work their way through the stages according to their ability, progressing to reading literature of their choice (checked for suitability by an adult where necessary).
READING FOR PLEASURE
‘Reading for pleasure opens up new worlds for children. It gives them the opportunity to use their imagination to explore new ideas, visit new places and meet new characters.
Reading for pleasure also improves children’s well-being and empathy. It helps them to understand their own identity, and gives them an insight into the world and the views of others. Research shows that reading for pleasure can be directly linked to children’s success throughout their time at school and even into adulthood.’
In October 2022, we officially opened our new library in school. It is a lovely calm space where children can go and access books individually, with friends or as a class. It encourages reading for pleasure and fosters a love of books.
- We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at our school and our local community, as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.
- Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books.
- In Nursery and Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day in their free flow time and the books are continually refreshed.
- We have a ‘reading for pleasure’ section in the school library that is regularly updated with new books from the Library Services. These books can be borrowed by parents, children or teachers to take home and enjoy reading.
- The school library is made available for classes to use regularly.
- Children across the school have regular opportunities to engage with a wide range of Reading for Pleasure events (book fairs, author visits and workshops, national events etc).
- We hold reading competitions; ‘Extreme Reading’, ‘Your lap is better than an app.’
- KS2 children have access to our Spellbinding Book Club throughout the Spring Term.
- KS1 children have a summer term, ‘Reading Challenge Club’.
- We are currently organising a Book Swap Box for children and parents to access and share their pre-loved books.