Phonics and Reading
The Teaching of Phonics and Reading at St. Mary’s C. E. Primary School, Rawtenstall
A great emphasis is placed on learning to read at St. Mary’s school and we use a holistic approach of:
- Phonics and phonics books
- Whole word - Gestalt/Tricky words
- Reading schemes
- ECAR (Every Child A Reader)/Better Reading - interventions
- Story clubs
- Author visits
In the Reception class the teaching of phonics is taught through the Letters and Sounds programme, in conjunction with Letterland.
Phonics are taught daily, in a fun way, with an emphasis on multi-sensory teaching. Children learn an action, song, handwriting and games to accompany each phoneme.
Children are introduced to segmenting and blending from the early stages (to develop reading and writing). After each phase children are assessed. Parents are informed about the teaching of phonics in the induction meeting and subsequent parents evening. The phase 2 and 3 phonics sequence is provided for parents. Parents are sent their child’s WOW book to inform them what their child has been learning each week and a follow up activity to do at home. Our open door policy ensures that parents and teachers can work together to accelerate their child’s learning.
In Years 1 and 2, daily phonics lessons continue. If children are not at the expected level, extra phonics lessons and other intervention strategies are used to ensure progress is accelerated. Children are assessed after each phase.
In KS2 children who require additional support are identified and intervention strategies implemented.
In the Reception class, books are shared with children from day one. Children are read to daily.
Children are put into groups; whole words (from the school’s reading scheme and key words) are given to the children to learn at school and home. Books from the published scheme are shared in guided reading groups.
Phonics is also taught and phonics books from the Bug Club scheme are shared with the children at school and home.
Comprehension is paramount to successful reading, and a great emphasis is placed on discussing characters, settings and answering why and how questions.
A reading diary is sent home with the children each day and parents are encouraged to hear their children read, help them learn their words and phonics and make any comments.
The learning environment ensures that phonics and words are displayed inside and outside.
Parents are regularly informed about their child’s progress in Phonics and Reading.
Throughout Y1 and Y2 children continue to learn to read using the school’s published scheme and the phonics scheme and key words are provided for the children. Discrete comprehension lessons are taught each week and verbal comprehension is a daily occurrence.
Guided reading groups and individual reading continues and children are assessed using the APP (Assessing Pupil Progress) grids. If children are not at expected level, children can be assessed for the ECAR intervention programme. An intensive catch up reading programme that runs daily for up to 20 weeks. The results have been fantastic! If a child appears to be gifted at reading they are placed on the Gifted and Talented register and accelerated along the reading scheme and wider reading is encouraged. Each term the children’s reading scores are recorded on the school tracker and analysed. Children are encouraged to read for pleasure, use the school library and are taken to the local library. A story club is established by the Y1 teacher, who is herself an author, and has had a book published! Each year a different author visits the school and carries out a workshop with the children.
In KS2 the intensive reading programme continues. Learners progress along the published scheme and in addition the Ginn Pocket Facts books and Oxford Tree Tops materials complement our scheme. Guided and individual reading continues. A great emphasis is also put on independence, choosing books and reading for pleasure. Higher order reading skills such as inference, learning an author’s style, awareness of themes and different texts are taught in class.
Children who are not progressing, or attaining at the expected level, are provided with an appropriate intervention programme of either Phonics, Comprehension (including inference) or Spelling. The intervention strategies are carried out by teachers and fully trained Teaching Assistants.
A Better Reading programme is in place in KS2; this programme is an intensive, daily programme aimed at accelerating reading skills for identified pupils.
High expectations and a culture where reading is encouraged are prevalent.