At Wolviston the teaching of reading is a high priority as it provides the key to accessing so much of the curriculum. We have a multi-faceted approach with the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics providing the foundation to this. We offer as many opportunities as possible for children to read in both formal and informal settings.
Our approach to teaching phonics begins in Nursery and continues through the Foundation Stage and into Key Stage One. Any children who have not reached the required standard by the end of Key Stage One will continue with a personalised phonics intervention programme in Key Stage Two. It is important to be consistent in the teaching of phonics, so throughout school we have adopted a validated, systematic synthetic phonics programme linked to our core reading scheme. ‘Floppy Phonics’ develops pupils’ speaking and listening skills, as well as preparing pupils for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed programme for teaching phonics with the aim of children becoming fluent readers by the end of Year Two. Children are exposed to the phases of phonics that are appropriate for their age, any children who experience difficulty in retaining what they have been taught are helped with intervention in small groups. During your child’s time in school you will be offered the opportunity to attend workshops which help you to understand the way we teach phonics in school and how children are tested at Year 1.
Our school reading scheme contains a wide variety of books from Floppy Phonics and Oxford Reading Tree. The books can be decoded using phonics but some, as in all books’ require children to employ a range of reading strategies. The aim of our scheme is to develop fluent, competent readers who understand what they have read. The scheme contains books from different genres so that children get used to reading stories, poems, play-scripts, fiction and non-fiction. We have many parents and grandparents who, along with teachers and teaching assistants, provide children with many opportunities to read in school and have their books changed very regularly. It is also expected that children will read at home most days. Reading records are sent home with reading books and we aim to work in partnership with parents in helping children both to learn to read and to love reading. Once children become competent readers they access ‘free- readers’ and for children who begin to fall behind with their reading we provide the intervention to help to accelerate progress.
Reception and Key Stage 1 children are regularly heard reading by their teacher or key worker, they take part in a range of adult led activities which build upon early reading skills. When the children are not working with an adult they complete different activities independently to help them further develop as readers. Children develop as competent readers through accessing Floppy Phonics and Oxford Reading Tree core scheme. These books are phonetically decode-able which fully supports the reading progress. A variety of resources are used to teach reading comprehension.
Children from Year 3 to Year 6 will take home reading books from a range of genre, appropriate to their reading stage. In addition, the class teacher leads whole class reading lessons. During these sessions, the teacher models reading a variety of books and text extracts over the year. By reading aloud the children experience a wide range of texts, which they may otherwise not be able to access independently. Quality, challenging texts are selected to ensure that children are exposed to texts with complex narratives, resistant plots, archaic vocabulary, non-linear time sequences and figurative language. Children really enjoy listening to modelled text and are encouraged to participate by reading aloud using echo reading, choral reading or reading to their partner.
RECIPROCAL READING SESSIONS
Reciprocal Reading begins in Reception and continues throughout school. Children are grouped and share a text with a trained adult at least once a week. These sessions are intended to be pleasurable and to help to foster a real enjoyment for reading. The books are carefully chosen to offer challenge and a wide range of genres and subject matter. Some of the books are from published schemes and some are sets of novels or non- fiction texts. The aim of reading session is to challenge children with texts that are slightly beyond their current reading level in order to develop their decoding and higher order comprehension skills.
READING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM AND BEYOND
Reading is a fundamental part of much of the school curriculum. In Literacy children analyse texts and some of our topics are based around books and stories. Children in Reception pair up with a ‘Reading Partner’ from Year 5/6 to share stories and develop their reading skills. We also hold theme days, including World Poetry and World Book Day to celebrate authors and their work.
We have a well-stocked library that has many genres of books appropriate to age. The books are attractively presented to encourage children to move from the more formal process of learning to read to reading for pleasure. Key Stage One and Foundation Stage children often have the opportunity to share books in the outdoor classroom with play-leaders at lunchtime.
GRAMMAR, PUNCTUATION AND SPELLING (GPS)
The curriculum places a strong emphasis on Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling.
At Wolviston Primary we have recognised the need for children to be taught grammar, punctuation and spelling discretely for a number of years and our Year 6’s have performed very well in the GPS SAT each year since it was introduced. Children are taught the age-appropriate grammar and punctuation through differentiated class lessons and children who have not grasped certain concepts are provided with focussed intervention to help their understanding in areas where they may be having difficulty. We then expect children to apply what they have learnt in their independent writing tasks across the curriculum.
Across Key Stage 1 and 2, emphasis is placed upon children learning their common exception words. Spelling time is regularly used to ensure children can spell these words confidently and use them accurately in their writing. It is also used as a chance to focus on the spelling rules and patterns in their year group.
Spellings are linked to the phases in phonics for Key Stage 1 children and high frequency and ‘tricky’ words are added into the spelling lists. In Key Stage Two the spellings are taken from age- appropriate lists and differentiated according to ability.