Phonics and Reading
Across Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, we teach phonics (i.e. the sounds represented by the letters) and help children to learn whole words in order to develop a wide sight vocabulary through a scheme called Little Wandle. Any child who continues to require phonics reading receive supported interventions through this programme. This programme is a method of learning letter sounds and blending them together to read and write words. This is supported by a comprehensive scheme of reading books provided by Little Wandle and Collins Big Cat. Children who have not met the required standard for phonics in Year 1 or 2 have daily phonics sessions working through the phases either individually or in small group sessions. This continues into Key Stage 2 as necessary.
At Waterside Primary School all classes follow a structured approach to reading. All sessions are interactive and teachers facilitate speaking and listening opportunities, model the reading process and guide children reading and comprehension. Passive learning is minimised and engagement promoted through regular use of think-pair-share and collaborative tasks.
Our aim is to teach children to not only read a text fluently, but to improve their comprehension skills as this will help children to understand and reflect upon what it is they have read. High quality texts and passages are chosen, appropriate to the expectations of the year group or ability of children, and teachers use this to model the application of the agreed reading skills. The types of questions children will explore are relevant to one of the key comprehension skills: discussing and exploring vocabulary; making predictions; discussing the author’s choice of language and the effect it has on a reader; summarising themes and ideas; retrieving information from the text and making inferences using clues from the text.
Further to modelled sessions, children have the opportunity to read texts with greater independence and apply their skills when responding to the wide range of domain questions. Over a fortnightly period, all children will also take part in a small group guided activity, which enables teachers to elicit the needs of children individually and identify areas for future development.
We acknowledge and value the important role played by the family in supporting children’s reading development by reading to them and listening to them read. Books are taken home on a daily basis along with a reading record so that children can be heard reading and a comment (even a brief one) can be made. Children should read and a comment should be written in their reading records at least 5 times a week. In EYFS and KS1 children have the opportunity to take home a Shared Text where we encourage parents to read with their child enjoying a wide range of stimulating texts. In KS2 children have the opportunity to visit their class or school library and additional to their reading book take home a 'reading for pleasure' book of their choice.
At Waterside 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.
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. The children learn to recognise all of the different sounds and combinations that they might see when they are reading or writing. Our phonics teaching starts in Nursery and follows a very 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. At Waterside 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.