English has an important place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know as well as information and support when they need it. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.
The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:
comprehension (both listening and reading)
It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching will be applied for each.
Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics is strongly emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners when they start school.
Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils will be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.
It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.
Reading, including Early Reading (Phonics) Intent
Reading is a core Literacy skill and the cornerstone of all learning across the National Curriculum. We believe in teaching children the skills needed to be avid readers who can comprehend and infer from texts, as well as developing a love for reading. As a school, we promote a love for reading across all areas of the curriculum and our environments reflect this through beautiful reading corners in each class, as well exposing children to rich and high-quality literature. Our Reading curriculum feeds directly into our writing curriculum to give children the most immersive experience across Literacy.
At St Augustine’s Primary, Early Reading is taught through daily streamed Phonics sessions facilitated by our Early Reading experts (EYFS and Key Stage 1 teachers). Phonics is the teaching of reading through ‘sounds’ that are represented through written graphemes (letter combinations). We follow the Letters & Sounds scheme, created and endorsed by the Department for Education. Our Early reading Experts are supported by the Senior Leadership Team and The Phonics Lead. Phonic sessions are tailored to children’s needs to ensure any missing skill or concept is addressed.
Overview of Letters and Sounds
Phonics at St Augustine’s is taught from the very start of a child's school journey in Reception. As we have a Nursery, phase 1 is taught throughout the year, teaching children the concept of sounds. This is then followed by Phase 2 and 3 which are taught throughout Reception. Phase 4 (a recap of Phases 2 & 3 and consonant-blend exposure) is taught in late Spring term and throughout all Summer term. Phase 5 is taught in Year 1. Phase 6 (consolidation and introduction to spelling and reading rules) is taught in Year 2. Throughout Phases 2-5, children read words through decoding, segmenting and blending.
Children in EYFS and Key Stage 1 (Year 1 and 2) are taught Phonics for 20 minutes each day and our lessons are split into four parts: Revisit, Teach, Practise and Apply. The sessions are planned to be fun and engaging using a multi-sensory approach to make learning memorable. We use a variety of resources, songs and hands-on learning to make learning as 'sticky' as possible. Progress is tracked diligently which helps us to identify gaps, which can then be addressed with further interventions throughout the day. Children who are learning Phonics are also given reading books that match the stage and sound they are currently learning, which is another way for them to apply and remember their learning. Children are able to take home both phonic books and books from their class’s book corners.
At the end of Year 1, children are assessed on their progress in Phonics through the Phonics Screening Check. This is not a test, but a way for teachers to know where children are with their sound acquisition and reading skills.
Reading Across the School
Reading in Key Stage 2 is primarily taught through daily Guided Reading sessions. Key Stage 1 also receive daily Guided Reading. Each session lasts around half an hour and is documented through a Guided Reading Journal. Children work directly with their teacher at least once a week using a high-quality book or short story from a variety of genres to develop their comprehension and inference skills. This time is also used to develop a love for reading and a culture of reading throughout the school. Children explore how to choose books to read and it is also their time to express their opinions on books they have been reading. Throughout the week, children work on independent activities to further their reading skills based on the story they are reading.
Teachers allocate time to simply enjoy reading each day; this is a time for relaxation and unwinding with a book. We aspire to embed the feeling of pleasure for reading in our children, which in turn will develop a love for reading. Teachers also bring in their own reading book, which they read at the same time as the children in order to model what a life-long reader looks like.
Reading resources in use at St Augustine’s
Little Wandle Revised Letters and Sounds
Big Cats Fully Decodable Books
Every class in KS1 and KS2 has a daily Guided Reading session. Each session is meticulously planned and resourced in order to ensure each child's reading needs and goals are met.
Over the course of the week, each child will have read with an adult at least twice, focused on a word level (Phonics and SPaG) task, and used Bloom's Taxonomy to aid them in a differentiated comprehension and an open-ended activity which covers a range of elements from the Content Domains.
In addition to this, children are encouraged to develop an avid interest in all types of books by borrowing books from the class and school libraries. Regular class visits to the local library also promote a passion for reading.
Below are two great videos to introduce Bloom's Taxonomy - take a look.