Our curriculum leader for literacy is Miss Carly Gallacher
We strive to give our children the best start in establishing secure foundations in reading by ensuring that all children become successful, fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. We believe this is achievable through a combination of high quality, discrete systematic phonics teaching combined with a language rich curriculum. Our primary intent is to create avid readers which we believe is the foundation for any greater depth learner. While phonics and fluency will be emphasised in the early teaching of reading, immersive whole-class reading sessions later take precedent and we use challenging texts to ensure our reading curriculum offers ambition and challenge. These sessions help to develop fluency but primarily focus on the contextualisation of language and literary devices.
We also prioritise establishing a reading culture in which children are encouraged to read widely and for pleasure. It is our intention that by the end of their primary education, all of our pupils will be able to: read fluently, with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education; draw on their knowledge of quality literature to further drive their passion for reading and writing and continue on their journeys as life-long readers.
Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised draws on the latest research into how children learn best; how to ensure learning stays in children’s long term memory and how best to enable children to apply their learning to become highly competent readers. We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. 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 ensure our Nursery children experience a ‘Foundation for Phonics’ which ensures they are well-prepared to begin grapheme-phoneme correspondence and blending when they reach Reception. This involves: sharing high-quality stories and poems with children; learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes; activities that develop focussed listening and attention, including oral blending and immersion in high-quality language
Our Reception and Year One children receive a daily discrete phonics session following the Little Wandle teaching sequence from Phases 2-5. In Reception, children have access to reading books within provision which are matched to their phonetic ability.
Our Year Two children begin the year receiving 3x weekly discrete phonics sessions which enable them to re-visit phases 3-5 in order to fully embed their phonetical knowledge. In Phase Six, children use their knowledge of grapheme-phoneme correspondences to become increasingly accurate spellers; the ‘No-Nonsense’ spelling scheme supports the implementation of phase six phonics.
Where children are identified to be struggling to remember phonetical knowledge in line with expectations, Little Wandle interventions as well as precision teaching are used alongside daily discrete sessions in order to ensure our ‘keep up, not catch up’ approach. These children also access additional 1:1 reading with an adult to support their blending and decoding.
We recognise that children who are making the transition from Year Two to Year Three can become vulnerable to the demands of the increasingly challenging Key Stage Two curriculum. Therefore, we action carefully planned transitions to ensure their phonetical needs are still being met. Our Key Stage Two children have explicit spelling sessions using the ‘No-Nonsense’ scheme which enable them to re-visit and review their phonetical knowledge. Where there is a need, particularly for those children late in passing the phonics screening, Little Wandle interventions are used to support the catch up of their phonetical awareness.
Implementation: Developing Fluency through Reading Practise Sessions
In addition to phonics sessions, all of our children (Reception to Year Two) are taught to read and develop their fluency through three practise sessions per week. These sessions provide children with frequent opportunities to apply the phonics they have learned to reading phonetically decodable books. Through each session, led by an adult, children first work on their decoding; then on prosody (reading with understanding and expression) and finally on comprehension – gaining a good understanding of the text. These sessions are completed with the same book.
The three-part-read model is used in Key Stage Two for groups of children where a need is identified. Reading material will be chosen because of its appropriateness and maybe because of a link with wider-curriculum. The principles however of reading the same book or text on three occasions and working towards a deeper level of fluency remains the same.
Teachers are constant models of fluency across the curriculum; they build deliberate fluency practise into their shared reading sessions as well as the wider curriculum through but not limited to: modelling fluency, re-reading, re-casting, echo-reading and development of reading with expression.
Implementation: Home Reading
From Reception to Year Two, we aim to send home the phonetically decodable book that has been read throughout the reading practise sessions with all children. This is to ensure success is shared with the family and that children are experiencing a fluency accuracy rate of 90%. In this way, we can be sure that reading is taught and practised at school, and deliberately practised further, with success, at home.
At present, it may be that children take home a different book to the one they read in their fluency session, but teachers will ensure that the book is phonetically decodable to them so that their fluency accuracy allows efficient deliberate practise. The Big Cat Little Wandle scheme is supplemented by Dandelion Readers which may be used for consolidation and deliberate practise of particular sounds where the need is identified.
Our younger children also take home a ‘book to share’ to be read with or by an adult. This is because we believe it is vital that children experience a wide range of quality children’s books and that all families should have access to these. These books play an essential role in developing a love of reading. These books may be taking from the school’s recommended reading mile list. The important distinction is that these books are being shared with the children, but they are using fully phonically decodable books to practise their independent reading.
Once children have successfully ‘learned to read’ by cracking the phonics code and are rapidly developing in their fluency, they progress onto the Big Cat Reading Scheme of high-interest texts which are closely matched to our wider curriculum. Here children are able to practise, develop and use their acquired skill in order to ‘read to learn.’
Children read through to the final book bank Pearl and are encouraged to read through the scheme at a reasonable rate. Once a child is actively ‘Free Reading’, teachers monitor to ensure a wide range of appropriate texts are being discovered by pupils; using particular the ‘Reading Mile Recommendations’ or knowledge of authors.
Implementation: Building Comprehension through the Wider Curriculum
Our reading curriculum is largely underpinned through our whole-school curriculum. There is a planned approach for all subjects which ensures children are building world knowledge and understanding the different meanings of language in different contexts. We recognise that a wider understanding of the world contributes towards developing reading comprehension and so a carefully planned progression in subject specific vocabulary is followed by teachers to ensure that children build on and deepen their language repertoire year on year.
Additional to this, teachers ensure that opportunities for reading are planned consistently across the wider curriculum so that once children have successfully ‘learned to read’ they can begin ‘reading to learn’.
Implementation: Developing Comprehension using The Talk for Reading Approach
Core quality texts from our well-developed reading spine and curriculum, stand at the core of our English planning where we strive to intrinsically integrate the teaching of reading and writing. Carefully selected texts are used to allow children to develop as readers and writers interchangeably; contextualisation of texts sits at the heart of our sessions. During shared reading sessions children are rapidly moving through the mediums of: whole class talk; paired and group talk and individual thinking.
From Year One to Year Six, we use Pie Corbett’s ‘Talk for Reading’ to support our children in learning to comprehend. We recognise that secure foundations in the reading culture and learning to read must be established first and this includes: automaticity when decoding; vocabulary and knowledge taught through a rich curriculum; considerable reading mileage and fluency.
“Reading is an entitlement that should enable children to connect with some of the finest words every written. It should open up the world of possibility, interest and intrigue, not be reduced to a series of comprehension-based questions and activities.” Jamie Thomas, Talk for Writing.
The main focus for teaching is through a dialogic approach to comprehension – talking and thinking our way to an understanding with the aim that deep thinking becomes a habit of mind. We want children feel they are able to contribute meaningfully without the constraints of test-style questioning. The approach teaches children to spot clues and apply strategies in order to understand texts at a deep level: we encourage children to become life-long readers.
We are working hard to align our Talk for Reading text choices to the Reading Spine and Writing Long Term Plan so that children can immerse themselves in the tools and language that enrich their writing. For example, if the writing focus for the half term is characterisation then good examples of characterisation will be focussed on during reading sessions. Each complex text chosen, has been analysed for potential; has a key focus and vocabulary as well some investigative questions.
The Talk for Reading sequence introduces children to a text in order to achieve a basic understanding. It then investigates the text through dialogic talk and reading strategies so that children develop a deeper, richer understanding of the themes that lie at the heart of it. The final phase then gives them the opportunity to demonstrate their independent understanding.
Implementation: The Reading Culture
“There is a correlation between the richness of the reading environment in which readers live and the richness of their talk about what they’ve read. Children who are surrounded by a well-displayed stock of appropriate and knowledgeably chosen books, who are read aloud to every day, who are expected to read for themselves just as often, and who are encouraged to gossip informally to each other and to their teachers about their reading, are well prepared to engage a book talk.” Aidan Chambers (Author of Tell Me: Children, Reading and Talk).
The Reading Spine
The teaching of reading is central to our English ethos; firstly, underpinned by the Reading Spine. The spine has been carefully developed to broaden children’s literature repertoire and encourage them to become wider, more avid and life-long readers. These are our core English texts through which our writing units are derived. Where possible, cross-curricular links are made and texts are chosen because of their connection with wider learning in areas such as history or geography. Some texts have been chosen because of the fantastic route they offer into discussing and exploring many social, emotional and cultural issues thus developing the cultural capital of our children.
Glusburn Reading Miles
We know that well-chosen literature allows children to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Being immersed in good quality literature develops pupils’ acquisition of a wide vocabulary; allowing children to explore and appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage. In order to expose our children to a wider range of high quality literature, which we believe will offer the children valuable ‘Reading Miles,’ each year group has a list of recommended reads. The recommended reading book lists have been carefully created by class teachers and are a range of traditional and modern classics.
Daily reading for pleasure
We have a strong ethos around the importance of reading; including reading for pleasure. Children are given opportunities to read for pleasure daily. Adults in the classroom may also read a book of their choice as a way of modelling this practice: immersed in uninterrupted quiet reading. In addition to this, each class enjoys listening to a class story or poem daily. This is usually taken from the reading spine and is read by the class teacher.
Classroom Reading Areas
In each of our classrooms there is a well-resourced reading area: a place for children to both enjoy reading in comfort and to select age-appropriate reading material. A live display of recommended reading miles as well as a range of non-fiction books related to the wider curriculum can be found in each reading area. Classroom libraries are regularly monitored and replenished to ensure they offer a range of appropriate and inviting books.
Reading Rocks Subscription
By signing up to the ‘Reading Rocks’ subscription we ensure that our classrooms are replenished with at least two new texts every half term. The texts are hand-selected, new releases, hot-off-the-press and are delivered to the classroom door in a mystery parcel.
Our Year Six children have the opportunity to take part in the national reading for pleasure initiative ‘Spellbinding Cumbria’. The award creates enthusiasm and excitement about new books and widens reading choices by giving children the opportunity to discover new authors and try different genres. Children are encouraged to read 11 short-listed books, engage in live ‘blog talk’ about the texts and finally vote for their favourite.
We use the online platform ‘Padlet’ as a means of encouraging children to participate in ‘Book Talk’. Here, children are able to recommended, review and discuss books that they have read to their peers including the Reading Miles.
In Early Years we invite parents to an early literacy workshop to help them to support their child at home. Parents are welcomed and encouraged to visit school at their convenience to read with their child.
Further parent workshops are made available to parents of children entering KS1 and KS2 so that expectations can be shared and guidance as well as support in reading with children can be offered.
Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised provides a wealth of online resources for parents. Our EYFS and KS1 staff signpost accordingly to ensure phonics support at home is appropriate and targeted.
Monitoring and Assessment of Reading
All children, from Reception to Year 6, have a Reading Record. From the Summer Term, Nursery also begin recording their reading journey. Children are expected to have their reading records in school and to take them home every day. We maintain high expectations that all children should be reading every day at home. Parents and staff in EYFS and KS1 are expected to write comments in their child’s reading record to show that they are reading daily and as a way of communicating. In KS2, children are expected to gradually take more responsibility and record their own books and responses to books.
Phonics Assessment: children’s phonetical ability is assessed and recorded on a phonics tracking system each term. Results are discussed between class teachers and alongside the Head Teacher at termly pupil progress meetings.
Fluency Assessment: Staff keep a regular check on reading logs and children’s movement through the reading scheme – ensuring end goals are met where appropriate before the end of the year. Reading progress in acquisition of fluency is assessed and gaps are addressed quickly and effectively for all pupils – this may be through phonics intervention, increased fluency in reading support or parental engagement request. The English Leadership Team frequently monitor the development of pupils’ fluency and comprehension with particular focus on the lowest 20% of children. When making judgements each term, teachers take into account children’s comprehension ability as well as their development in fluency. To do this, fluency checks are performed to assess children’s progress towards their ‘end-goals’ on the reading scheme.
Comprehension Assessment: Formal assessments take place termly for Year One-Six using the published scheme from NFER (National Foundation for Educational Research). Children’s attainment is recorded on the whole school data tracker as: PRE, WTS, EXS, GDS. This allows leaders to understand which children are on track, based on their prior attainment, as well as identifying the lowest 20% of readers in each year group through mapping grids. Results are discussed between class teachers alongside the senior leadership team at termly pupil progress meetings where actions are discussed, agreed and reviewed.
Support for SEND and Lowest 20%
We have a determined approach that all children will meet or exceed the expected standard in reading primarily through our approaches in quality first teaching; offering a systematic reading curriculum where first, phonetical knowledge is developed and deepened to build fluency and later, immersive, ambitious and challenging reading sessions support comprehension and contextualisation.
The EEF state that, “The best evidence shows that teaching is the most important lever available to schools to improve pupil outcomes.”
The following interventions are used in addition to quality first teaching in order to support those children who are working below the expected standard in reading:
- Speech and Language intervention: NELI
- Flashcards used to develop automaticity with High Frequency Words
- Precision Teaching of Phonics
- Keep-Up Intervention to support ‘Little Wandle’ Phonics .
- Continued implementation of reading fluency practise sessions using the three-part-read model throughout KS2 for those children identified as requiring continued, supported fluency practice.
- Where the need is identified childre will access 1:1 or small group fluency sessions on a more regular basis: these sessions develop children’s fluency, automaticity and basic comprehension.
- Purchase of dyslexia friendly texts / books
Continuous Professional Development for Staff
We take the continuing professional development of staff seriously and as result ensure our staff receive regular training on how to deliver phonics effectively and how to deliver the comprehension curriculum. This includes full induction for members of staff who are new to school.
All of our EYFS and KS1 staff (as well as Year Three support staff) are fully trained in Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised and Precision Teaching as an intervention programme for phonics keep-up.
All staff have received training in ‘Talk for Reading’ and we have sufficient copies of the Talk for Reading training textbook to support continuous development.
The Senior Leadership Team have accessed training in the development of an inspiring reading culture.