our approach to phonics and reading
Reading is taught daily in our school by the use of phonics. The programme we use is 'Letters and Sounds'.
'Letters and Sounds' enables children to see the relationship between reading and spelling from an early stage, such that the teaching of one reinforces understanding of the other. Decoding (reading) and encoding (spelling) are treated as reversible processes.
Letters and Sounds is designed as a time-limited programme of phonic work aimed at securing fluent word recognition skills for reading by the end of Key Stage 1, although the teaching and learning of spelling, which children generally find harder than reading, will continue. Children are taught to understand the purpose of learning phonics and have lots of opportunities to apply their developing skills in interesting and engaging reading and writing activities.
Pupils have access to and are taught through, a wide range of reading opportunities that include:
- shared reading
- guided reading
- regular independent reading
- home/Academy reading
- hearing books read aloud on a regular basis
- selecting own choice of texts including ICT texts
- reading whole texts
- reading in other subjects including ICT texts
- reading in the community
Reading will be taught in Literacy lessons, particularly during shared and guided reading sessions, as well as in subject lessons. Additional time is provided on a regular basis for reading at other times. There is time set aside for independent reading, using the library, listening to whole class stories and research linked to other subjects.
Teaching and Learning
Teachers promote and value reading as an enjoyable activity and also as a life skill. Teachers plan for a range of comprehension strategies that allow pupils to engage with text in a variety of ways to suit different learning styles.
In shared reading the teacher models the reading process to the whole class as an expert reader providing a high level of support. Teaching objectives are pre-planned and sessions are characterised by explicit teaching of specific reading strategies, oral response and collaboration. Texts are rich and challenging, beyond the current reading ability of the majority of the class.
In guided reading texts are chosen to match the ability of the group but still provide an element of challenge. Guided reading provides a forum for pupils to demonstrate what they have learned about reading; the focus for the reading is concerned with extending strategies/objectives taught in shared reading. Teachers follow the five-part structure when planning guided reading sessions.
Teachers plan for independent reading activities during sessions of Literacy teaching. Texts are selected so that pupils can access them without support. The focus for the reading is to provide practice and develop personal response to text.
Many other opportunities are provided for pupils to practise and extend reading in other subjects. Pupils select texts under the guidance of the teacher for independent and home/Academy reading. Teachers monitor independent reading and discuss progress with individual pupils on a regular basis. Where pupils are working below age appropriate objectives a reading programme will identify opportunities to read with an adult to gain 'reading miles'.
Reading at home is regarded as an important part of reading development.
All classrooms have a well-stocked book area with a range of fiction and non-fiction. Classroom collections are changed at regular intervals. The Academy library is an important resource and pupils are taught how to use it appropriately.