PHONICS AND READING
At Thanet Primary School we aim to instil a love of reading from the moment our youngest children start their journey with us in the Nursery Class. In Nursery the children are immersed in a core book each half-term which the children engage with across the curriculum, making links wherever possible.
This love of reading is developed as children move into Reception and the formal teaching of phonics starts with the RWI programme in a systematic, rigorous and consistent way. The curriculum in EYFS is underpinned by a play-based approach and access to all areas of learning within print-rich indoor and outdoor classrooms.
The skills of reading continue to be developed through RWI phonics lessons in Year 1 and home reading books are phonically matched to the children's ability. Then in Year 2 children have a daily phonics lesson and a separate reading lesson too, helping our children to become ‘readers’. We aim for all our children to have successfully passed the phonic screening check by the end of Year 2. This is supported by a trained team of staff following the principles of Reading Recovery and targeted intervention. Our vision is to get all of our children off to a flying start with reading and to be reading fluently at an age appropriate level by the end of Key Stage 1.
From Year 2 upwards the school uses the Oxford Reading Tree as our main reading scheme which is supplemented with real books matched to each book band. In KS2 children follow a whole class reading approach which allows the children’s comprehension skills to be deepened further. Using a wide range of texts and genres, linked to topics where appropriate to widen children’s knowledge further and maximise links in learning, children are taught to understand and interrogate texts.
Our parents, as partners, are expected to read at home every night with their child and this is rewarded and celebrated in school through our Reading Rainbow Reward Scheme.
Phonics is taught using the Read, Write Inc (RWI) programme, a resource which integrates phonics with comprehension, spelling and handwriting, using engaging partner work.
All staff in EYFS and KS1 have received extensive training and support using this resource to maximise progress and develop confident readers and writers. RWI sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.
All Read, Write, Inc lessons are based on the 5 Ps:
- PRAISE – We believe children learn quickly in a positive climate.
- PACE – A good pace is the key to each session to ensure all children are engaged and on task.
- PURPOSE – Every part of the lesson has a specific purpose linked to word reading and comprehension. Each teacher has been trained in Read, Write, Inc. methods. They know the purpose of each activity and how it leads to the next.
- PASSION – Learning is brought to life because of the energy, enthusiasm and passion that teachers put into the lesson.
- PARTICIPATION – A strong feature of Read Write Inc. lessons is partner work and the partners ‘teaching’ each other. Children work in small groups and participate fully in every lesson.
What does a Read, Write, Inc. lesson look like?
Children are placed into ability groups and then learn various phonemes (segments of sound) and the corresponding grapheme i.e. how that sound is written.
Sounds are divided into 3 sets. All lessons begin with children learning a new speed sound. In Reception children will learn Set 1 sounds and some Set 2 sounds; in Years 1 and 2 (Key Stage 1), children will secure Set 2 sounds and learn new Set 3 sounds. Children are introduced to storybooks and non-fiction texts that are closely matched to their phonic knowledge.
They take part in various book activities throughout the week such as:
- Story introductions and discussions
- Jump-in and vocabulary games
- Think About the Story Time
- Questions to talk about and answer
Children read the text at least three times over the week. On the first read, children focus on accurate word reading; the second, on developing fluency; and on the third, comprehension. Fluency and comprehension increase with each repeated read.
In Year 1 the children have to complete the statutory Year 1 phonics screening check. This is a short, light-touch assessment to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard. It will identify the children who need extra help so they are given support by the school to improve their reading skills. They will then be able to retake the check so that we can track pupils until they are able to decode.