Reading and Phonics
At the Lanes, reading is at the centre of our curriculum and our children learn to read with fluency, accuracy and understanding by being immersed in carefully-chosen core texts which engage, challenge and inspire them. We believe that reading is one of the most important skills in life and we teach our children to not only decode and comprehend well but we encourage every single child to love picking up a book and delving into the minds of characters and their worlds.
Our ultimate goal is for every child to read for pleasure and we do this by promoting reading every day: by reading regularly with our children, by embedding reading into our English lessons and by allowing time for our children and teachers to recommend books to each other wherever they are in class, the library or even the playground.
Learning to read = reading to learn
Every teacher in our school places a huge emphasis on reading and every year group carefully chooses quality and challenging ‘core’ texts that are not only linked to our topic areas but heavily support the teaching of our topics too. We know that this is vital in order for our children to learn deeply about a topic area and the links that they make enable our reading curriculum to be engaging. We aim to ensure that all children have the chance to follow an enriching curriculum by teaching them to decode well as quickly as possible.
Learning to read = reading to learn.
We ensure that all children have equal access to the curriculum and those who are falling behind are supported by their teachers and teaching assistants in class and through focused interventions. We believe that every child has the right to read well.
Promoting Reading for Pleasure
We aim to promote reading for pleasure across the whole school and we do this by providing our children with quality, age-appropriate texts that both engage and challenge them. In every class, there is a collection of hand-picked, quality texts and teachers read to their classes regularly to promote the love of reading, further. Our class books have encouraged even the most disengaged readers to pick up a book and read and it has really raised the profile of reading across the school. Our recently re-furbished and re-decorated school libraries are places where children come to read, relax and enjoy such a huge variety of books from a range of authors. Twice a year, the school celebrate book week and classes do a range of work just dedicated to reading. These weeks remind our children of the huge importance of reading and promote reading for pleasure across all ages, including our parents.
The Teaching of Reading
We aim to teach our children to not only to decode well but to comprehend effectively too and the model below
shows how we approach this:
Our phonics provision is very high-quality and we use the Jolly Phonics scheme. Our children are taught regularly in whole class and small targeted groups to ensure the lessons are pitched appropriately for our learners. By teaching small groups, this allows staff to identify any individuals who may need additional support and they can be scaffolded or challenged accordingly. Planning is completed collaboratively and regularly reviewed to ensure consistency, progression and continuity for all pupils. There are opportunities throughout the year for parents/carers to learn about the phonics programme at the Lanes and any queries are also encouraged to be discussed at parents’ evenings.
At the Lanes, we know how important reading fluency is in encouraging children to read for pleasure so we give our pupils lots of opportunities to read independently and out-loud throughout the school day and by having a great relationship with our families, we are able to promote reading time at home too through reading workshops (see link for slides and resources) and really good home-school communications. Children also have the opportunity to develop their fluency during reading lessons when the teacher and the children partake in echo reading. This is where the teacher models reading a passage fluently and the children read it back as fluently as possible, whilst giving each other feedback afterwards. This is something powerful that parents can also do at home with their children.
The Matthew Effect: “The richer get richer and the poorer get poorer,” suggests that those who have a broad vocabulary at an early age will develop at a faster rate than others. We believe that whole-class reading tackles this and engages every child in quality and challenging texts which aim to develop their vocabulary and make them better comprehenders.
In whole-class reading, every child has access to a challenging and engaging text that aims to develop their vocabulary and consequently their understanding. The pitch of these lessons is deliberately high and with the expertise of our teachers and teaching assistants, we ‘make the impossible, possible’ for our children. The content of the majority of these lessons is based on a text that is linked to our topic area however teachers use supporting texts to develop the children’s wider knowledge and understanding. During the lessons, the main focus is on the understanding and application of challenging vocabulary. By focusing on vocabulary, our children will have a broader vocabulary and will be more effective comprehenders when reading challenging texts by themselves.
Teachers then use questioning to assess the children’s understanding and this is done through oral and written responses. When writing a response, the children record this in their reading journals. Our teachers check reading journals during every lesson and give verbal feedback to individuals to enable them to make good progress during that lesson.
Our Reading Scheme
In Reception, the main focus of reading is on reading the CVC words and blending phonemes together. Our book banding system states that by the end of Reception, children should be on the Red book band however our teachers expect that most will be starting to secure Yellow reading objectives too. Teachers regularly read to their classes and whole-class reading is done through oral discussions with the children.
Key Stage One
By the end of Year 2, children are expected to be on the Gold reading band and begin to secure some of the White reading band objectives. Teachers in Year 1 and 2 teach whole-class reading and do lots of vocabulary work to promote understanding. The recording of responses in reading journals is through a mixture of pictorial and written responses - with Year 2s doing more written responses than Year 1s.
Key Stage Two
At the start of Key Stage 2, children continue to progress through the reading bands – starting at White in Year 3 and ending with Burgundy and Black in Year 6. Children are encouraged to read a range of books in a reading band before moving onto the next one as we want our children to be well-rounded readers who have had a variety of different reading experiences.