Reading and Phonics
Reading and Phonics at St George’s Church of England Academy
Teaching children to read is fundamental in order to provide an effective life skill, as well as access to the entire curriculum therefore, early reading is given priority. Children enter school with differing reading experiences. Our whole-school approach to reading, takes into consideration the starting point of the individual child and the ongoing level of support that is being offered to them outside the classroom and throughout their time at St. George’s Academy.
At St George's we want to encourage children to read and to nurture a real love of reading. We make the reading areas in our classrooms very inviting with quality books for the children to read.
We have a rigorous, sequential approach which develops pupils’ fluency, confidence and pleasure in reading. We give children the foundations for future learning by providing them with the skills they need to decode and comprehend a text.
Our aims in Reading and Phonics are to ensure that all pupils:
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- can read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- gain phonological awareness and grammar sequencing
- develop their listening skills
- develop a strong vocabulary
- develop their knowledge and understanding of our world
- build empathy
- develop problem solving and thinking skills
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words.
Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge and knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. Children are encouraged to listen, discuss and express their views drawing evidence from the texts.
Our staff are highly trained in teaching phonics through our ‘Sounds~Write’ programme which is endorsed by the Department for Education. Staff enjoy reading with children, and to children, on a daily basis. We promote a reading community and encourage a love of reading amongst all staff members, children and their families.
Throughout the school year, we participate in different reading events including Pyjamarama, World Book Day, Christmas Bedtime Stories, The Village Book Hunt and Book Fairs.
Our aim is for all children to be confident readers by the end of Key Stage 1 (KS1). High quality phonics teaching enables children to decode new words confidently and independently and leads to improved understanding. Sounds~Write phonics also teaches children how to spell words and this helps them to become confident writers. Extensive research shows the strong relationship between phoneme awareness training and learning to read and spell. This will enable all children to access reading and writing at an age appropriate level.
This is best achieved when there is:
- A consistent whole-school approach to the teaching of Phonics throughout Reception, KS1 and KS2
- Rigorous planning, assessment, and tracking
- Sufficient training provided to enable the implementation of Sounds~Write based teaching
Assessment and Tracking of Phonics
Each term, children will be assessed against their ability to read and write the sound spellings they have been taught that term in phonics. Teachers will record the results of these assessments on an online Phonics Tracker. This will help them to monitor whether or not the children have retained what they have been taught and to quickly support the children with any gaps that have arisen. Where children are not making expected progress, we will plan effective interventions and group children accordingly.
At the end of Year 1, children are required to sit the Phonics screening check. If a child does not pass the phonic screening test, they will resit in Year 2. If a child does not pass the resit, then they will have further intervention to support their needs.
Teaching of Sounds~Write
Daily Sounds~Write phonics lessons are taught to children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. Children in KS2 who did not pass their phonics screening test or have been identified as having gaps in their phonics knowledge, are given interventions. The interventions are delivered by Sounds~Write trained staff who follow the Sounds~Write programme.
At St. George’s Academy, the children’s reading journey begins with wordless reading books. They focus on the skills of listening to and telling a story. A love and passion for reading is ignited and children also enjoy selecting an additional book to share with their family at home. Once children have grasped the first units of the initial code and have begun to master the skills of segmenting and blending, they are given a book with words.
In KS1 the children’s passion for reading is nurtured and children will be encouraged to take two books home. One book is a phonetically decodable book matched to the children’s phonic knowledge. The other is a ‘reading for pleasure’ book that the children choose from a library and can share with their families. Staff encourage children to choose fiction and non-fiction books.
Once children have mastered the phonetic code, they progress to the reading scheme to extend their comprehension skills. The scheme includes books with a wider range of vocabulary and more complex concepts. On completing the reading scheme, children are invited to use the Upper KS2 library to choose their own reading material.
We feel that partnership with parents and carers is invaluable with helping the children make good progress. Teachers and parents/carers regularly provide feedback about a child’s attainment and targets using reading records and Class Dojo (online messaging system). Parents/carers are invited to termly meetings to discuss their child’s progress with the class teacher. Sounds~Write meetings are held for parents of Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 children at the beginning of the academic year.
Advice for Parents and Carers from Gov.uk