“I do believe something magical can happen when you open a good book” – J.K. Rowling
Reading and Phonics at Washingborough Academy
At Washingborough Academy, we aim to ensure not only that children can read but that they do read; teaching children to read and then developing a love for reading is one of our highest priorities. We intend for all our children to read accurately, fluently and develop secure comprehension skills. Our children will develop stamina and read with expression and confidence.
Following this expectation, we carefully structure our curriculum in order to provide pupils with:
- the ability to develop the habit of reading regularly and widely, for both pleasure and information
- strong knowledge and understanding of different skills in reading to allow pupils to fully understand what has been read
- the belief that every child can be successful in reading
- a wide vocabulary, and a good understanding of the world and other cultures by reading across all other subjects
- the opportunity to engage in high quality and meaningful conversations about what they have read. Children should be able to explain and elaborate on their ideas as well as answer questions
At Washingborough Academy, children complete reading as a discrete subject but it is also central to every subject across the curriculum.
As a school, we are passionate about developing a love of reading. We believe that, while it is vital that children read their school reading books frequently at home, it is important that they read widely and are encouraged to read texts they have selected themselves. This is why all children have the opportunity to visit the library and select the books they would like to take home and read.
Children are read to regularly in their classes, whatever their age. We use a range of texts: extracts, whole books, poems and more. We aim to enthuse children about books, and this is done in a variety of ways, including, being committed readers ourselves as staff, completing a variety of reading based activities and having regular school reading celebrations such as World Book Day, Reading Week, book fairs, whole school reading events (Bedtime Story and Summertime Picnic) plus much more.
Implementation- early readers and phonics
When children start in Nursery or Reception, they are introduced to the systematic teaching of phonics, following the Read Write Inc. programme. All of our teaching and support staff have been trained in the phonics Read Write Inc. programme to provide continuity and fidelity to the scheme. Children in Foundation Stage and Key Stage One have daily phonics sessions and this continues until each child is an independent, competent and confident reader and speller. In addition, phonics skills are also taught in non-discrete sessions and teachers take opportunities to incorporate phonics teaching into all areas of the curriculum and school day. Teachers regularly assess children and ensure that they take part in extra teaching if required.
Implementation – early reading and phonics – reading scheme
At the start of their reading journey, children are provided with a book which is closely matched with their phonic ability. This is to ensure the books can be read independently by the child and are fully decodable based on their previous phonics knowledge. Our reading scheme consists of the Read Write Inc. Book Bag Books. As well as this, children will take home a book that captures their interest. The children visit the library weekly and can choose from a range of fiction or non-fiction books for the parent and child to share together. The child may read it to the adult or if some words are beyond their stage of development, then we ask parents to support or read those words to their child, using their own judgement on this.
We encourage children to read a variety of texts read at home, at least 4 x a week. Children are rewarded for reading their book at home, not just the books issued in school but also texts that have been chosen and selected by the child at home. We recognise the importance of a parent’s role in their child’s reading journey, therefore we send home a reading record for parents to celebrate and communicate their children’s reading.
Implementation – reading spine
Across each key stage, a number of high-quality texts are used to support both reading and writing. The texts chosen are selected for their quality and significance and are also based on the key stage’s current themes. There is a wide variety of texts used, both fiction and non-fiction, including award-winning texts. In relation to class reads, these are selected based on the children’s interests, key authors e.g. Michael Morpurgo and new and upcoming authors too. There is also the opportunity to explore poetry and non-fiction texts during these sessions. Once a fortnight, children participate in a reading lesson focusing on a specific skill and fluency, building in complexity throughout the year.
‘Reading Roundabout’ is a core part of our school day and is intrinsic to how we teach reading. The children complete a different activity in small groups each day and these include: guided reading with a teacher, a follow-on activity linked to the guided reading text, a reading puzzle activity, a spelling or phonics activity and an independent reading session. The reading puzzle activity allows children to practise the skills they are being taught in their reading lessons, using an engaging picture or text. The phonics or spelling activity corresponds to their learning in those lessons. Reading Roundabout is consistent throughout the school, starting in Reception, continuing all the way up until Year Six, allowing the children to build on their skills and understanding.
The impact of our phonics and reading curriculum is measured in a variety of ways:
- Discussions with children in lessons
- Targeted questions during lessons
- Feedback to children about their work
- Pupil’s voice
- Book studies
- Learning snapshots
- Termly assessments using our school’s own reading assessment grids and phonics screening tracker
- Termly reading and phonics assessments that are then used to inform future planning and target areas for development
- Moderation – internal and external
- Celebrations of work e.g. ‘Phonics Top Table’, this is a celebration of phonics progress with the headteacher
- Rewards in class
By the time children leave Washingborough Academy, they will:
- develop their own love of literature across a range of genres, cultures and styles
- talk enthusiastically about reading and be able to discuss a range of texts, knowing the importance of this subject
- develop the skills required to decode successfully and become confident, fluent readers
- make links between texts and the different themes and genres within them
- have a good knowledge of a range of different authors
- be able to use their comprehensive reading skills to gain a deep understanding of texts read and explore across school and be able to apply them to new texts
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss.