We believe reading is the key to the world of learning and is started with a ‘Phonics First’ approach.
“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelt out is a spark”
At Claines CofE Primary School, we believe that reading is an essential life skill and we are committed to enabling our children to become lifelong readers.
We use a rigorous, engaging programme called ‘Read Write Inc Phonics’ and Ruth Miskin, the producer, states;
“Our mission is to teach every child to read and write, and to keep them reading. No exceptions.”
This is an approach that we mirror at Claines as we are teach by a culture that allows children to “keep up not catch up”. We recognise the importance of taking a consistent whole school approach to the teaching of phonics and reading to close any gaps to ensure the highest possible number of children attain the expected standard or higher.
Through RWI phonics children learn a simple alphabetic code followed by a more complex code. They then move on to learning how to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling. All reading books progress cumulatively, matched to the sound’s children are learning and already know.
The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Key Stage 1. Phonics is taught daily to all children in EYFS, Year 1 and those in Year 2 who have not passed the phonics screening in Year 1 or completed the Read, Write, Inc (RWI) phonics programme.
Children take part in daily synthetic phonics sessions, which follow the Read Write Inc. scheme. They are assessed every half term and then grouped according to their level of reading, including decoding nonsense words.
Children are grouped, according to their progress in reading rather than their writing. This is because it is known that children’s progress in writing will lag behind progress in reading, especially for those whose motor skills are less well developed. The groups are kept small and focused to ensure maximum outcomes for the children. They are then are encouraged to transfer the skills they learn in phonics sessions into their independent reading and writing in the classroom.
Alongside RWI, in the EYFS, a vital aspect in the development of essential knowledge and skills in phonics is the use of continuous provision. This means that children are using and developing taught skills throughout the year on a daily/weekly basis.
During RWI children are taught to:
decode letter/sounds correspondences quickly and effortlessly, using their phonic knowledge and skills
read ‘tricky’ (red words) on sight
understand what they read
read aloud with fluency and expression
write confidently, with a strong focus on vocabulary and grammar
spell quickly and easily by segmenting the sounds in words
acquire good handwriting
In addition, children are taught to work effectively with a partner to explain and consolidate what they are learning. This provides the teacher with opportunities to assess learning and to pick up on difficulties, such as children’s poor articulation, or problems with blending or alphabetic code knowledge.
Staff ensure that children read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and the ‘red words’. This compliments our Reading Strategy at Claines where children start school with ‘Phonics first’ where they lead to ‘Developing Strategies’ as they complete RWI. This is so that, early on, the children experience success and gain confidence that they are readers. Alongside this, the teachers read a wide range of stories, poetry and non-fiction to children: they are soon able to read these texts for themselves.
Adults read stories to the children every day as part of the timetabled ‘Story Time’, where a love of reading is promoted.
For those children who are not making the expected level of progress in phonics and reading, they will have 1:1 or small group interventions. With RWI one-to-one tutoring for our slowest progress readers in YR to Y4, and additional RWI sessions for those children in Y5/6 that are below age-related expectations, we ensure that no child gets left behind.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1. The children read books in line with their phonics knowledge. Children can then focus on developing fluency and comprehension throughout the school. Embedding the alphabetic code early on means that children quickly learn to write simple words and sentences.
Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1 and ongoing assessment throughout the Read, Write, Inc programme.
In addition to this at Claines we aim to ensure that:
Parents and carers will have a good understanding of how they can support reading at home and contribute regularly to home-school records.
The % of pupils working at age related expectations and above age-related expectations within each year group will be at least in line with national averages and will match the ambitious targets of individual children.
There will be no significant gaps in the progress of different groups of pupils (e.g., disadvantaged vs non-disadvantaged)