At Whitmore Park Primary School, we believe that reading is the most essential skill our pupils will develop during their time at our school. Because of the value we place on this, reading underpins the broad curriculum we offer at Whitmore Park. We have created an atmosphere that promotes a love of reading through exposing pupils to a variety of rich texts and experiences.
The National Curriculum divides Reading into two core elements:
- Word reading
- Comprehension (both listening and reading)
At Whitmore Park Primary School, teachers value these elements and centre their lessons around these fundamental skills.
It is our aim, for our pupils to be confident speakers, responsive listeners, passionate readers and creative writers, in order to be able to succeed in a global society. Therefore, in addition to the core fundamental elements of reading outlined above, we promote:
- A love of reading including for pleasure
- A pupil’s right to be exposed to a wide variety of vocabulary, texts and experiences
- A shared love of language, reading and books
- Rich and significant links across the wider curriculum
Early Years and Key Stage 1
At our school, we use a structured, synthetic phonics approach to teaching pupils to read. The scheme we use is called Read Write Inc.
Early Years and Key Stage 1 (KS1)
The teaching of sounds represented by letters starts in Nursery when pupils are identified as being ready for this learning. This means that in Nursery, individual pupils will start their phonic learning at different points during the year. Once pupils have learnt some single letter sounds, they will be taught to hear a sequence of sounds and then blend those sounds to say a word.
When pupils join the Reception classes they continue to learn the 44 sounds that form the English language. They learn to blend the sounds together as it is an essential skill using ‘Fred Talk’ ‘Read Write Inc.’ which is oral blending. Fred can only speak in ‘Fred Talk’. For example Fred says ‘S-I-T’ and the pupils blend the letters together to say ‘sit’. They are then encouraged to say the sounds quietly and eventually in their head (Fred in your head) with the aim that pupils will develop the ability to decode automatically. As soon as they are able to blend, pupils begin to read the specially written, lively story books in every ‘Read Write Inc.’ lesson and have the opportunity to read individually to the staff.
In Year 1, pupils continue to learn more sounds and blend more complex words. They also develop their comprehension skills through a variety of activities during the ‘Read Write Inc.’ sessions. Pupils have four phonics and four comprehension lessons of 30 minutes each week.
Some pupils complete the RWI phonics programme before the end of year 1. These pupils continue to consolidate their phonic knowledge and learn to apply their skills to decode more complex multi-syllabic words. These pupils read more challenging texts and develop their comprehension skills.
Some pupils continue the ‘Read Write Inc.’ phonics and reading programme through to the end of Year 1 and a small number of pupils may need to continue the phonics programme as they enter Year 2.
As pupils move through the scheme, the ‘Read Write Inc.’ leader carefully monitors their progress. Pupils are assessed every six weeks and are placed into groups according to their reading ability. Any pupils who do not make the expected progress are given a one to one intervention to ensure that they close the gap. Pupil Premium pupils and those with special educational needs read four times a week to a member of staff.
All of the pupils take reading books home, which are matched to their reading ability. We actively and positively encourage parents to share these books with their children at home and listen to them read. As pupils become more confident readers, we expect parents to continue reading to them. It is an expectation that parents listen to their child read a minimum of three times a week.
In Year 2 pupils continue to consolidate their phonic knowledge and comprehension skills. Our school uses the Literacy and Language programme. Year 2 pupils have four reading lessons each week. These reading lessons extend pupils’ comprehension ability and prepare them for the challenges of reading as they move into KS2.
Reading in Key Stage 2 (KS2)Years 3 to 6 have four whole class reading lessons each week using a scheme called Literacy and Language. These lessons focus on reading skills and strategies using a range of texts. The lessons are differentiated accordingly so that they are planned to the individual needs of each class. Once a week (in the afternoon), pupils from Year 3 to 5 take part in a group reading session during which they engage deeply with a quality text. In these sessions, pupils are in groups of 6 to enable quality questioning and facilitate critical discussion. These sessions are delivered by five teachers to ensure all of the pupils are reading at least once a week. Those in need of additional support receive one-to-one reading sessions with a fully-trained TA. All pupils in Key Stage 2 use the Accelerated Reader scheme, where they take an online quiz to show their understanding once they have read a book. The books each pupil reads are determined by a combination of online comprehension assessment and teacher assessment, and are regularly monitored to make sure pupils are on the right level. We also encourage pupils to read books from class libraries or from home. Pupils are encouraged to choose books which they feel they will enjoy in order to help them develop a love of reading. We expect parents to support with reading by listening to the pupils read at least 3 times a week. If this doesn’t happen, parents and carers are supported fully to ensure that pupils meet this minimum requirement. Pupils are encouraged to change their home reader regularly.
Read Write Inc.Read Write Inc (phonics) is for four to seven-year-old pupils learning to read and write, and for seven and eight-year-olds who need to catch up. It is a complete literacy programme taught for 20 – 40 minutes a day in Reception and an hour a day in Year 1 and above. It is proven to develop:
- fluent, enthusiastic readers
- deep comprehension of texts
- confident speakers
- keen writers
- learn to read and write letter-sound correspondences quickly
- decode effortlessly, spell and handwrite easily
- comprehend what they read
- read with fluency and expression
- write confidently using oral rehearsal
- work effectively with a partner to articulate their learning at every step