Reading and Phonics
At Haworth Primary School, reading is at the heart of the curriculum; we value reading as a key life skill, and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We aim to become an outstanding reading school, as we strive to achieve a love of reading, knowledge of a range of authors and cultivate independent thinkers who understand more about the world in which they live through the knowledge they gain from texts. We understand the importance of developing children’s discrete word-reading skills and their comprehension to demonstrate a secure progression both through reading skills and through choice of text.
We understand the importance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop reading skills and encourage a love of reading. We foster a home-school partnership, which enables parents and carers to understand how to enhance the skills taught in school.
We believe reading is key for academic success. It is our intention to ensure 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 we teach early reading at Haworth
Children have targeted phonics sessions every day in early years. We follow Letters and Sounds as this allows for high quality play activities and offers opportunities to enrich children’s language across the 7 areas of learning. It provides a clear sequence for teaching. Staff also supplement phonics sessions with games from other sources and schemes where appropriate.
Children focus on Phase 1. High value is placed on Nursery rhymes and sharing stories. Children are read to every day and have access to high quality books and practical interactive resources in provision. Children have experience of a variety of different activities – our aim is to ensure children have an awareness of how sounds are made, heard and understood. Children spend time developing awareness of rhyme and alliteration.
Right from the start, lots of opportunities should be provided for children to engage with books that fire their imagination and interest. They should be encouraged to choose and peruse books freely as well as sharing them when read by an adult. (Letters and Sounds 2007).
Autumn 1 - In Reception, all children begin by recapping learning from Phase 1. All children are then taught Phase 2 through daily teacher led phonics sessions. All children have covered this Phase by the end of Autumn 1 (roughly 7 weeks).
Autumn 2 and Spring 1 - children are assessed on Phase 2 sounds then grouped to ensure needs are met and teaching is bespoke – we are aware this will look different every year. Typically, we expect a large proportion of children will begin to access Phase 3 at the beginning of Autumn 2. This is delivered following the recommendations in Letters and Sounds. Children who have not yet grasped the majority of Phase 2 sounds, or blending and segmenting skills, will access personalized planning and teaching to meet their needs. These children will still have exposure to some Phase 3 at a slower pace and with more recap of Phase 2 where certain sounds are not embedded.
Spring 2 – we expect some children will be ready for Phase 4.The remainder of the children will remain on Phase 3. These children will access highly personalized phonics sessions to meet need and focus on identified gaps in learning.
Summer Term – Who is ready for Phase 5? Children are assessed on all aspects of Phase 1,2,3 and 4. To begin Phase 5, children must know almost all Phase 2,3, and 4 sounds as well as being able to use and apply all these skills independently in provision. Children who are not ready for Phase 5 access bespoke teaching, focusing on skills and sounds identified through assessments and observations.
At Haworth we also recognize some typically developing children may not be able to articulate certain speech sounds (‘th’ and ‘r’ may still be immature). If they cannot articulate these sounds we recognize that they might still be ready for Phase 5 and use teacher judgement to determine their level of understanding.
What else do we do to promote reading in EYFS?
When children begin Reception, they are given a picture book to share at home to develop story language, confidence and understanding.
Children are then given reading books linked to their phonics stage.
Please see our Progression of skills document.
What does reading look like?
Open afternoons for parents, book hunt, World Book Day, high quality texts in all provision areas, labels in provision, oral storytelling, individual readers, reading celebration, children being read to daily, puppets, story sacks, lending library, nursery rhymes, atmospheric reveals, question of the day, name reading and daily phonics.
Children in reception access a small group teacher/LSA led focused reading task/activity three times a week. This could be activities such as sound bingo, tricky word hunt, sharing a story, picture talk and blending/segmenting games. The activities are based on children’s needs and are planned weekly.
Children in year 1 have targeted phonics sessions every day. We also follow Letters and Sounds which provides us with a clear sequence of learning. Staff also supplement phonics sessions with resources from other sources and schemes where appropriate including Phonics Play and Phonics Bug. This ensures that the teaching is bespoke to the needs of the cohort and the lessons are interesting and engaging.
Teachers built on the work in the Reception classes and have a detailed handover at the end of the Summer Term to ensure that there is a smooth transition. All children have a short recap on Phase 3 and 4, before they start Phase 5 in Autumn 1. In the initial weeks children are taught in class groups so the teachers can assess the current needs.
Autumn 2: The children will be assessed using old phonics screening papers. Based on the score from these (as well as teacher assessment during the phonics lessons), the children are then grouped to ensure needs are met and teaching is bespoke – we are aware this will look different every year. Typically those confident to work with Phase 5 will be in two groups. Children who are not secure with the majority of Phase 3 sounds, or blending and segmenting skills, will access personalised planning and teaching to meet their needs. These children will still have exposure to some Phase 5 at a slower pace and with more recap where certain sounds are not embedded.
Spring 1 and 2: The cycle will continue with assessment using old phonics screening papers, followed by further teaching of phase 5 for most children. Additional teaching will be used to swiftly address any gaps in the children’s learning.
Summer 1 and 2 : The cycle will continue with assessment using old phonics screening papers, followed by further teaching of phase 5 for most children. Some teaching will now start to address the gaps in the children’s learning. The children will complete the national phonics screening test in June. The children will continue to learn phase 5 and move into Phase 6 at the end of year 1.
Year 2 phonics:
In year 2, phonics is covered through our No Nonsense spelling program (Babcock). In Autumn 1, phase 5 is recapped with a focus on alternative spellings of phonemes. As recommended in the Babcock spelling program we follow the school’s phonics program to determine what to cover (Letter and Sounds in combination with phonics play resources and planning). Then, phase 6 will be covered through English and Spelling lessons using No Nonsense spelling (Babcock).
Children who were not confident in phonics in their first year and did not pass their phonics screening test will receive small group phonics lessons three times a week in addition to this.
Year 1 children will have a guided reading session 3-4 times a week as well as their daily phonics. In this lesson, the children are grouped based on their level according to our reading scheme. We use Collin’s Big Cat scheme for our levelled books. The children will read each book at least twice (once adult lead) and complete follow up activities. In addition to guided reading, the children will read individually to adults in school using banded books from our Big Cat reading scheme.
Children are taught how to apply their phonics knowledge and skills to decode new words and blend sounds in unfamiliar words using the GPC’s they have been taught. We support children to accurately read texts that are consistent with their developing phonics knowledge that do not require them to use strategies to work out words.
As part of their individual reading, we encourage children to reread texts to build up fluency and confidence in word reading.
Year 2 children will have a whole class guided reading session daily for 25 minutes. The children will practise their reading fluency and stamina, as well as learn a variety of strategies to predict, retrieve, sequence, infer and understand vocabulary in context. A mix of non-fiction and fiction texts are used and good quality books are chosen to engage the children. A text might be used for 1-3 weeks or longer if appropriate. The skills taught will be based on the need of the class and to ensure coverage of the curriculum.
What else do we do to promote reading?
In year 1 and 2, children will have the opportunity to swap their reading book daily. This allows children (and their parents) to choose whether they read each book once or whether they like to read the book several times. Children will log their daily reading in their learning journals and a Reading Owl reward scheme is in place.
The children will also go to the library once a week to borrow a book to take with them home.
In addition to this, reading activities are embedded across the wider curriculum to promote reading in context.
Key Stage 2: - include structure and flexibility
Whole Class Guided Reading:
In Key Stage 2, children will have a whole class guided reading session daily for 30 minutes. They will continue to build on the strategies introduced in year 2; including prediction, retrieval, sequencing, inference and understanding vocabulary in context. In LKS2 we will also begin to introduce the skill of summarizing which will be developed further in UKS2.
A recent staff survey noted that teachers were confident with the skills that they were teaching in their year group but felt, at times, the lessons were overly structured. In response to this, we have introduced VIPERS, alongside our Philip Webb approach, to support flexibility in the teaching sequence. As a result, children continue to practice the key skills for their key stage weekly, however the sequence of learning offers flexibility to enable teachers to adapt and meet the needs of their class, ensure coverage of the curriculum and maintain engagement in the text.
To ensure children are exposed to a range of text types we use and make links across a variety of texts, including extracts, novels, poems and videos. A recent pupil voice survey highlighted that children, especially in LKS2, struggle to maintain their engagement in longer texts when used in Guided Reading. In response to this, teachers have the flexibility to adapt and change the texts types to meet the needs of their class. Often, lengthier texts are used initially in guided reading before becoming a class reader for children to enjoy.
Children read a guided reading text everyday through a range of different strategies including; adult led, reciprocal, chorus and independent reading. To allow for the opportunity to discuss and explore vocabulary more regularly throughout the week, these tasks are often completed orally as a class discussion. In addition to this, rapid retrieval questions are practiced daily to improve pace and develop the skills introduced in Year 2 – these tasks are presented as a mixture of discussions, written work and graphic questions. The teaching sequence, not limited by week, will lead to a deeper meaning question where children will generate their own opinions and comparisons.
In response to a recent pupil voice survey, we have also built ‘Free Read Friday’ into the teaching sequence to allow children the opportunity to engage in a text of their choice, either independently or with a partner. The response from children in regards to this change has been overwhelmingly positive and has helped to generate a love of reading across school. In addition to this, reading activities are embedded across the wider curriculum to promote reading in context and allow children to apply the skills they have learnt in guided reading to other aspects of their learning.
What else do we do to promote reading?
We promote engagement in reading at home with our Class Owls chart. Each day, children can move their owl up the chart if they have read at home. Children who have read 5 times or more, each week, are entered into the Reading Suitcase raffle. A winner is selected to take the reading suitcase home for the weekend.
The suitcase contains:
- A variety of engaging texts
- A hot chocolate sachet
- A sweet treat
- A mindful colouring book (with colouring pens and pencils)
- A selection of bookmarks to choose from.
The texts included in the reading suitcase are often selected with a theme in mind. Eg. If we are planning to celebrate ‘Environment Week’ in school during that month, some of the texts in the suitcase will focus on that topic.
A reading display has been installed in the corridor above the library to exhibit the new books arriving in the library. Books from the reading suitcases are rotated half termly before being added to the school library. Picture hints and clues are posted on to the school Facebook page to gain interest before being added to the ‘New Releases’ section of the library.
Each class visits the library once a week in the afternoon. To make the library more accessible for everyone, we plan to train additional staff on the library system to allow classes to use it more freely in future. Feedback from the pupil survey states that children would like more time to spend in the library to enjoy the books they take out.
Book Swap Shop:
Families across the school have donated a vast array of books to the ‘Book Swap Shop’ which is currently located in the LKS2 corridor. Children can donate a book to the swap shop in return for a book of their choice off the shelf. We are encouraging children to return these books after they have read them to give others the opportunity to enjoy them.
A class reader is selected every half term by each class. A choice of texts are selected by the teacher for children to vote on. Teaching staff dedicate half an hour daily to the class reader, typically after lunch, for the class to listen to a story for pleasure. If a novel has been selected for Guided Reading and the children are enjoying it, this is occasionally completed as a class reader as Guided Reading focusing on an alternative text.
Teachers promote reading for pleasure
Teachers in each class display books that they have enjoyed reading to encourage children to engage with texts they might not typically select. These books are rotated regularly in the classroom to ensure a variety of texts are presented to children.