Reading & Phonics
At Wheatfield Primary School, we recognise the importance of reading across the curriculum and reading for pleasure. Reading is at the heart of all we do. We want children to learn to read quickly so they can access the wider curriculum and the world around them. Children who enjoy reading benefit socially and emotionally too therefore we want all children to become readers and have access to a treasure trove of books.
In EYFS and KS1, children read three times a week in group sessions.The books are fully decodable and match their phonic knowledge. This means children become fluent readers and understand what they are reading. Each session has a clear focus so we do not overload the children’s working memory.
Session 1- decoding
Session 2- prosody
Session 3- comprehension
The children will then take their book home so their successful reading can be celebrated. They will also take home a book to share.
In KS2, children are taught through whole class reading sessions that use challenging texts to engage and develop vocabulary while allowing children to explore fiction, non-fiction and poetry genres. There is also a focus on fluency when reading.
Teachers also read to the children every day from a whole class novel or picture book. These are high quality texts, which can also be found in the class or school library. We ensure that our book selections reflect our community and promote diversity. Children are also encouraged to take time each day to read at home and school.
Our reading curriculum includes the non-statutory guidance in the EYFS Development Matters, the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework, National Curriculum statutory requirements for Reading and Little Wandle Letters and Sounds. The Reading Framework 2021 explains that by ensuring children are fluent and engaged readers at the very earliest stages, this helps avoid the circle of reading difficulty and demotivation.
It also states that fluent reading is key to unlocking the wider curriculum for children. This underpins our ethos for reading. Additionally, it explains that the ability to read increases life chances and opportunities for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. For this reason, supporting our disadvantaged pupils to read is of paramount importance to us.
The ability to read is dependent on a number of different processes. Therefore, our curriculum is designed to enable children to develop all of the necessary skills to read fluently. We tackle all of the elements of word reading through our phonics lessons. We activate word meanings at the start of reading lessons and focus on language development through our Oracy curriculum. Comprehension (including making inferences and text structure) is taught through reading lessons.
Reading is at the heart of the curriculum, and it is an integral part of every subject. At Wheatfield Primary School, we enable all pupils to become fully independent, proficient, reflective readers who love reading. It is our intention to equip our pupils with essential reading skills and a positive, enthusiastic attitude towards reading that will prepare them for the next stage of their education and life beyond school.
Phonics- At Wheatfield Primary school, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.
As a result, our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At Wheatfield, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.
Comprehension- We value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, they read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.
For more detailed information on how our phonics and reading curriculums are delivered across the schoo,l please see our Reading Progress Document and Little Wandle Programme Progression document.
Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1
We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.
Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term.
Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.
Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read
Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.
We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics Screening Check. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Keep-up resources – at pace.
Teaching reading: We teach children to read through regular reading practice sessions.
Group Reading Structure (EYFS/KS1)
Children need to be given regular opportunities to apply the phonics they have learned to reading fully decodable books. Reading practice sessions take place three times a week. Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions focus on three key reading skills, decoding, prosody (reading with meaning, stress and intonation) and comprehension (understanding the text). Reading practice sessions are timetabled for each week and are done in small groups. These sessions have a clear structure, children will pre-read their reading books, this gives them a chance to practise and apply their knowledge. Sessions will be pacey with a quick review of any misconceptions and explanation of what is expected for home reading. This will make it easier for them to automatically recall the words and set them up to succeed when they read the book. They then have opportunities to practise reading fluently and revise the tricky words that appear in the book. In these sessions the children will also be taught the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary. As they become familiar with the text, they will then be able to focus on prosody and to practise reading with fluency. The focus is then on comprehension, understanding what they have read and making predictions and inferences.
Whole Class Reading Structure (KS2)
Firstly, any unfamiliar or potentially limiting vocabulary will be explored and read around for a few minutes. Where possible this is accompanied with pictures/visual materials to enable a deeper understanding.
The lessons should then continue with the reading.
Texts should not take more than 15 minutes of the reading lesson to read.
Teachers might read some of the text for modelling purposes, but children should do the majority of the reading aloud. The text should always be read aloud.
Children do a very short retrieval quiz (quick start) that should not require much, if any, looking back over the text
Deeper questions or activities are then presented one at a time.
These take three forms: individual thinking, partnered talk and solo work.
There is also a focus on fluency
Ensuring reading for pleasure
‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)
We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.
We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at our school and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.
Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading.
In Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day in their free flow time and the books are continually refreshed.
The school library is made available for classes to use at protected times. Children across the school have regular opportunities to engage with a wide range of Reading for Pleasure events (book fairs, author visits and workshops, national events etc).
All classes have access to the library once a week following the library timetable. The library is used to encourage our children to develop a love of reading and read for pleasure. It can also be used for small group work and interventions.
Our pupils talk passionately about reading and are all able to make recommendations about the books they enjoy.
Our pupils leave our school having read a wide range of high quality texts across different genres. Our pupils can talk about their favourite books and recommend books to others. Most importantly, all of our children leave our school with a love of reading and that will enable them to access the curriculum and everything the literary world has to offer as they move through life.
Reading Lead - Mrs Brown
Phonics Lead - Mrs Samra