Phonics and Reading
at St John’s
THE IMPORTANCE OF READING
Reading is an essential life skill that provides access to the experiences of people from different cultures and times. Pupils must acquire good reading skills in order to access the information that will support their development in all curriculum areas.
1. Self – Our children will be inspired to have a love of reading which will enable them not only to enjoy reading as a past time but as an essential tool to succeed in all areas of life
2. Others – Through their reading, they will encounter and be challenged by ideas from experiences which they would not normally be exposed to beyond their own community
3. Wider world – We believe reading is a fundamental part of communication in an ever more connected world. An ability to not only read but understand the intention of others is essential as they progress into the next stage of their learning
Literacy in the Foundation Stage is split into two areas of learning:
- Communication and Language (a prime area) which covers 3 strands: listening, understanding and speaking. The aim is to give children the opportunity to experience a rich language environment.
- Literacy (a specific area) which covers two strands: Reading and Writng
At St Johns, we use ‘Read Write Inc’ as our Systematic Synthetic Phonics programme. This programme is followed with rigor by all teachers and teaching assistants. Discrete whole-class phonics lessons are taught to all children, daily in Year’s 1, 2 and Reception. To ensure that learning is embedded, flashcards and reading opportunities continue throughout the day and additional phonics teaching is given to identified children. Phonics remains the main strategy that we use to approach/decode unfamiliar words and spelling, as well as building a sight vocabulary.
We are aware that children join us at St John’s with a broad range of prior experiences and vocabulary. Teaching in Reception includes a programme called Talk Through Stories which provides children with the breadth and depth of vocabulary they will need to understand the books they will soon read for themselves, and the conversations and discussion they will have with their teachers and friends.
Key Stage 1
- To develop each child’s ability to read, understand and respond to all types of writing.
- The pupils are encouraged to acquire a love of books and to develop a respect for them. We aim to use books to stimulate the child’s imagination. Pupils are introduced to the conventions of books, left to right, regarding the illustrations as an integral to the
story, turning the pages singly etc.
- Pupils build a sight vocabulary from the structured scheme whilst concurrently following the phonics –based Read Write Inc programme. The sight vocabulary is extended so that as they encounter the scheme book, most words are already known and they experience success and pleasure.
- Each child takes home a scheme book every day with a reading record. The pupils share their books with an adult in school at least 2-3 times a week. The adult asks questions relevant to the interest of the child and encourages predictions. The pupils are encouraged to decode unknown words using appropriate strategies.
- A ‘Class Reader’ is also used to encourage children’s enjoyment of literature. This is read regularly (see repeated text libraries below).
- The school library is open to pupils each playtime; all pupils are encouraged to choose a library book from the school library each week. Y6 pupils act as librarians together with a TA. Prizes are awarded, in praise assembly, to pupils who have read 10 books from the school library.
- Weekly reading Comprehension activities are planned within the English lessons and/or Guided Reading sessions.
- The Read, Write Inc phonics programme is introduced in EYFS and continued throughout the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 and into Key Stage 2 as necessary. It focuses on phoneme / grapheme recognition and the strategies of blending to read and segmenting to spell. Pupils in KS1 are grouped according to phonic ability and receive daily focussed teaching sessions.
- Regular assessment ensures pupils who are not working at an appropriate level access intervention groups for regular pre and post teaching of the required phase.
- Reading is discussed at parents’ evenings as well as at the KS1 early literacy evening, where staff explain the school’s phonics program to KS1 parents.
Repeated text libraries are used in Key Stage 1 to encourage children’s enjoyment of literature and to develop their vocabulary learning. These specifically chosen books are read repeatedly to encourage the children to learn and retell the story.
Key Stage 2
- For the pupils to be able to read a range of texts fluently for pleasure, information and with comprehension.
- The graded reading scheme is continued at Key Stage 2. A full range of reading genre is offered. Pupils take a reading book home daily and will read to an adult in school at least once a week.
- Reading is taught using whole class reading lessons, guided comprehension practice and small group guided reading sessions, where appropriate.
- Each child takes home a reading book every day with a reading record. The pupils share their books with an adult in school at least once a week. The adult asks comprehension questions relevant to the text.
- The ‘Class Reader’ is also continued into Key Stage 2 (see ‘class readers’ document below)
- Reading comprehension continues to be taught weekly and may cover a wide range of activities including answering questions related to the text/pictures, and rewriting text from a different viewpoint.
Take a look at which books each class are studying in English this year.
The progression of skills in EYFS are based on the early adoption of the new EYFS Framework in September 2020, guided by the new Development Matters guidance and assessed against the Early Learning Goals in Summer Term of the Reception Year. Key Stage 1 and 2 is based upon the National Curriculum 2014.
More information about how we teach reading at St John’s can be found here:
World Book Day 2022