Reading & Phonics...
Our primary approach to teaching children to read is through systematic synthetic phonics. We use Read Write Inc as our main phonics scheme. It is a complete literacy programme, for 3 to 7 year-olds learning to read and write and for 7 and 8 year-olds needing to catch up quickly. Although reading is taught using synthetic phonics, the programme is so much more than that. It covers all of the new National Curriculum requirements for language and literacy.
In Nursery, children learn the first 30 sounds in short daily sessions.
In Reception all children:
- Read storybooks and non-fiction books closely matched to their developing phonic knowledge
- Take home Phonics storybooks to share
- Read with fluency and expression
- Learn to spell using known sounds
- Write confidently by practising what they want to write out loud first
- Work well with a partner.
We supplement Read Write Inc. with fun phonics activities from Letters and Sounds and use these activities as intervention for children if they are in danger of dropping behind their peers.
Children start reading books at home using the Songbird Phonics scheme and Floppy’s Phonics as soon as they can decode in Reception. As soon as children become fast, fluent readers who can decode quickly in their heads they move onto the Oxford Reading Tree books and enjoy reading with Biff, Chip and Kipper.
Many of our children move onto ‘free readers’ by Year 2 where they can select books for themselves from a range at their level.
By the end of Year 1 all children are accurate and speedy readers and almost all of our children go on to reach the required level for the Phonics Screening at the end of Year 1. 93% of our children reached the standard in 2017. Those children who not reach the standard have the opportunity to be rescreened in Year 2.
Our home reading books in Key Stage Two are carefully levelled by both level of interest and level of difficulty. During Year 3 children move onto our Accelerated Reader Programme, each child is assessed termly and is then assigned a reading range according to the outcome of their STAR test, they then progress through this range until the next assessment period. We encourage independence in our children by allowing them access to computers to take a short quiz which assesses comprehension of each book they complete before changing for a new one or moving to a new level. Children who still require a scheme book into Key Stage 2 use Project X scheme.
Each class has the opportunity to visit the school library to select an additional book to read at home. This can be fiction or non-fiction, it can be at their instructional level or a higher level of difficulty that they decide to read alongside a friend or another adult, including adults at home.
Guided reading at St John’s takes place in classes or English groups. Big Reading is an exciting, fun way to develop a love of reading, our knowledge of significant authors and also develop our analytical skills, through the use of exciting characters who we call our Big Reading Friends. It is a reading 'journey' for each child, from their very first 'pre-reading' steps to their complex and intricate understanding of texts at greater depth. Through the Big Reading Lessons we effectively 'teach' reading in order for the children to 'learn' and rapidly 'progress' in their reading. Most weeks begin with a whole class Big Read lesson and throughout the week get opportunity to read with a teacher or work without adult support in their Spies Teams.
Big Reading is supplemented by Reciprocal Reading where the text is briefly introduced or recapped at the start of the session. Children are then taught to predict what they are going to read in the next session, clarify the meaning of new language, question aspects of the text which may not have been fully understood and finally summarise the main ideas of the text.