Reading and Phonics
We instil a love of reading in pupils through lessons, author visits and allocated reading time. Our library encompasses a range of phonics books from phase 1-6 as well as a large variety of non-fiction and fiction texts that are aligned with our library system, Accelerated Reader, which ensures pupils are reading books that are appropriate to their ability as well as being suitable for their age. Pupils from Y2 to Y6 take a quiz (Star Reading) to establish which books they should read. After reading each book, pupils then take a quiz to assess their understanding of the text. This information is shared with parents through the Home Connect website (information sent out by letter) and at Parents Meetings. It also provides valuable information for teachers to support the children's progress in reading. In class, pupil’s reading skills are developed through engaging with a wide range of reading material and media, with a focus on the use of questioning to challenge thinking at all levels. Within reading lessons, pupils carry out short tasks at the beginning of whole-class reading sessions to help pupils practise the most important reading skills: explain, retrieve, interpret and choice (ERIC). The taught reading lessons are split into three sessions across the week and are all based on a short section of the class text. The same objective is taught throughout the week with a different focus for each session. The pre-teach lesson allows the pupils to explore the language and context of the text, the just read and close read session encourages pupils to discuss and analyse the text in more detail and the final session is comprehension to assess the pupils understanding and progress of the taught objective.
At Richard Whittington Primary School, we believe that for all our children to become fluent readers and writers, phonics must be taught through a systematic and structured phonics programme. It is essential that our approach to teaching phonics and reading is accessible to all learners, regardless of background.
At Richard Whittington, we use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to plan and provide daily engaging phonics lessons. In phonics, we teach children that the letters of the alphabet represent a different sound, that these can be used in a variety of combinations and are put together to make words. There are 44 sounds in the English language, which we put together to form words. Some sounds are represented by 1 letter, like ‘t’ and some by two or more, like ‘ck’ in duck. Children are taught these sounds and how to match them to letters. The children learn to recognise all of the different sounds and combinations that they might see when they are reading or writing. Phonics is the building blocks of reading and writing and equips children with the skills needed to become independent readers and writers.
Our phonics teaching starts in Nursery and follows a specific sequence that allows our children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies as they move through school. As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover. We also model these strategies in shared reading and writing both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on the development of language skills for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.