Phonics and Reading Rationale
At Westcliffe Primary School, we endeavour to develop children’s understanding and skills to become independent, enthusiastic readers. Our priority is to foster a love of reading, even in reluctant readers, and we firstly facilitate this in the classroom, where teachers expose children to a wide range of genres and authors as well as showing their own enthusiasm for books and literature. Secondly, we are proud of the reading ethos created from our reading environment that runs through the heart of our school (each classroom opening onto it). This reading culture is sustained with the help of a committed and passionate librarian and each class having weekly dedicated time in the library; ensuring all children have time to explore, discuss and delve into texts.
While phonics and fluency will be emphasised in the early teaching of reading, immersive whole-class reading sessions later take precedent and we use challenging texts to ensure our reading curriculum offers ambition and challenge. These sessions help develop and embed fluency and prosody to aid comprehension, while allowing children to select, explain, explore and consolidate new vocabulary. We strive to help all children understand that the language they have acquired may be relevant across all areas of their learning and, consequently, we have high expectations that they apply new language where possible.
We utilise a range of strategies to engage all children in reading. These include:
Whole school reading expectations
3 reads a week:
Children are expected to read at least 3 times a week at home although there are opportunities for them to read to an adult in school if they are unable to read at home through no fault of their own. Reluctant readers are quickly identified and encouraged to find a book or author they will engage with. Competitions are also in place to further inspire reluctant readers and keep the profile of reading high.
The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of 2 dimensions:
It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.
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. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (i.e. unskilled readers) when they start school.
Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on 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. All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.
It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.
How the subject is taught:
Phonics and early reading
In direct reference to National Curriculum and Ofsted expectations, we will ensure that:
Phonics: Read Write Inc:
Our pupils learn to read and write effectively and quickly using the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme.
The programme is for:
In Read Write Inc. Phonics pupils:
knowledge and skills
We use assisted reading, through echo, peer and choral reading, so that children embed appropriate volume, tone, emphasis, phrasing, and other elements in oral expression, and consequently evidence that they are actively interpreting or constructing meaning from a text.
At Westcliffe, assisted reading is not just isolated to once a week in a reading lesson. The opportunity to use assisted reading is also found when teaching in the wider curriculum and our driver sessions, in addition to all teaching staff and teaching assistants using assisted reading when reading with children 1:1, modelling good reading using correct expression and prosody.
If you walk into a reading lesson, you will see:
If you have any further questions about reading in our school, please contact Mrs Samantha Barrett.