Phonics & Reading
At Highweek Primary School, our aim is to develop an ethos of reading for pleasure, teaching our children the skills that will enable a lifelong enjoyment of books and learning. We recognise the importance of reading from a young age as it underpins every part of the curriculum. Children who enjoy reading are able to access learning in every area, and can make progress in all subjects. Engaging in reading with your children at home will assist in installing this within them.
Our reading spine, carefully selected by teachers, ensures that each child has the opportunity to be exposed to a range of Literature: including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The shared stories further embed our school-wide reading culture, and promote shared experiences through stories as well as developing their vocabulary and understanding of the world. Providing children with immersive reading experiences allows children to develop a real enthusiasm to reading from a young age. These experiences include Poetry Week, World Book Day celebrations, Shakespeare Week, visits from authors and poets and more. We also believe that access to the correct reading can support a child’s journey into becoming a member of a diverse and equal society. During Black History Month, children read key texts, which celebrate black authors, and educate children about key events and people in black history.
A love of books and the teaching of reading starts from the nursery onward where we introduce a structured approach to the teaching of phonics through Read Write Inc. This exciting scheme has impact on the children’s love of books and confidence. It is based on achieving real success each session where the focus is on ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’. In these sessions, children will only be asked to read words where they have met the sounds before in their learning. Any ‘tricky’ words (words that cannot be easily sounded out by ‘Fred Talk’) are specifically ‘taught’ so that each child is equipped to read words & texts at their level. Progress is assessed each half term and children are grouped according to their reading needs. Time is also spent talking about the texts and in developing comprehension skills.
For more information regarding Read Write Inc. please see: www.ruthmiskin.com
In EYFS & KS1, children take home two books to read. One of these is their reading for pleasure book, and is for sharing and enjoying with an adult. They may not be able to read this independently yet. They will also take home a decodable book which is matched with their phonetic ability.
In both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, Literacy is taught through teaching sequences where there is a central text. This helps to build on a child’s comprehension skills and enthusiasm for books. Teaching texts are carefully selected, and include language, which builds on and extends child’s existing vocabulary.
At Key Stage 2, and where children in KS1 have completed the RWI programme, the children follow a computerised programme called Accelerated Reader. It is a digital resource, which targets and boosts the children’s reading levels in an exciting way. The programme tracks the child’s progress over the course of the school year. The children undertake a diagnostic test (STAR Test) which helps us to work out their reading level and estimated reading age. We are then able to match the children to a range of books at the appropriate level of challenge, while reading for enjoyment. Children are awarded certificates recognising their ‘word count’ on AR. We celebrate milestones in their reading journey, encouraging them to beat their best each year.
During reading sessions in school, children are able to choose a variety of texts (both fiction and non-fiction). They can then take the AR quiz on the book that they have just read- answering a range of comprehension questions. Each child will receive a report on the quiz results that shows how well they have done. Teachers also receive information that will enable them to assist pupils in further reading choices- helping to support children in selecting books which challenge them appropriately. Parents can log on to Renaissance Home Connect, which will enable them to support their child’s AR reading by seeing their reading history and quiz results. Children are also encouraged to quiz at home with the support of their parents to boost their confidence.
Pupils choose their own individual reading book from the school library or class reading areas. Children are encouraged to seek recommendations from reading displays and book recommendations from other pupils and their teachers. We encourage ‘book talk’ as an essential part of building our reading culture.
Each class, from Year 1-6, engages in Guided Reading sessions weekly. At Highweek, the ‘Whole Class Guided Reading’ approach is used, where all children can access a range of high-level comprehension dialogue, collaborative learning and vocabulary. We use a range of pictures, non-fiction, fiction and poetry texts. Reciprocal reading has been introduced throughout the school as a teaching strategy for reading, and focuses on precision teaching of the four skills: clarifying, predicting, summarising and questioning. Children work collaboratively to explore a range of texts using the key skills to interpret texts and answer comprehension questions. Reciprocal reading gives children the strategies to interpret texts as well as giving them a role when reading, helping them to retain information. This supports children with reading for any purpose, including within the wider curriculum.
Teachers also focus on developing the fluency of all children, recognising that fluency is the bridge which transports children from being able to decode a text to being able to understand (comprehension). In Key Stage 2, when children have completed the RWI phonics programme, teachers continue to teach and develop children’s skills of fluency. This is done through ‘fluency five’: five-minute starters to Guided Reading sessions which involve fluency activities, and ‘fluency Friday’: a whole Guided Reading session focusing only on the teaching of reading fluency.
In each assessment week, children’s fluency is assessed. Teachers can track the progress of children’s fluency and support effectively, using a range of strategies. Our aim is to ensure children are able to be fluent and confident, active readers to enable them to enjoy and understand a range of texts for a range of purposes.
Every week, children from Year 5 or 6 become ‘Surprise Readers’, where they read a book to the whole of KS1, virtually, via Microsoft Teams. This helps us to highlight reading role models to our younger children, while allowing them to listen to a range of children read aloud.
To support our teaching of reading, at Highweek Primary School each child is expected to read at home daily, whether that is to an adult (for developing readers) or independently (for fluent readers). Sharing a book daily with your child is vital for increasing their reading confidence and fluency.
We thank you for your continued support.