Teaching of Reading

We aim to develop pupils’ reading abilities within an integrated programme of Speaking & Listening, Reading & Writing.  Pupils will be given opportunities to interrelate the requirements of English within a broad and balanced approach to the teaching of English across the curriculum, with opportunities to consolidate and reinforce taught reading skills.

We strive for every child to become a confident and independent reader. We want every child to make the maximum amount of progress in reading during their time with us, but also to leave our school with a love of reading that will serve them throughout their adult lives.

By the completion of their Primary Education we aim for children to be able to:

  • read and write with confidence, fluency and understanding, orchestrating a range of independent strategies to self-monitor and correct.
  • have an interest in books and read for enjoyment
  • have an interest in words, their meanings; developing a growing vocabulary in spoken and written forms.
  • understand a range of text types and genres
  • be developing the powers of imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness.
  • have a suitable technical vocabulary to articulate their responses.

Teaching of Phonics

At Whickham Parochial, we have a rigorous, systematic approach to phonics. Our phonic scheme is based on the materials from Letters and Sounds and follows the same order for the introduction of phonemes, but follows our own lesson structure. In all phonic lessons, children  follow the same fast paced structure which includes revision, introduction, oral blending, blending to read and blending to write. After an initial assessment period, children are moved to ability groups to ensure tailored instruction.

Guided Reading for Early Readers

Our guided reading is closely matched to the phonic skills of our developing readers. Where children are still learning new phonemes and practicing decoding, this is the main objective of guided reading sessions. Texts are carefully chosen to support this. However, even at this early stage children are also taught concepts about print in order to support them in their cross checking strategies and to develop an expectation of understanding. Where a child struggles to use phonemic knowledge as their primary decoding strategy, additional support will be given. If this continues and the child does not pass their phonic check, Reading Partnerships (based on Marie Clay’s Reading Recovery) will be provided alongside phonic support.

KS1 Reading Scheme

Independent reading sessions are a feature of every year group, during which children are permitted to select from a wide range of good quality, appealing fiction and non-fiction texts. It is linked to our Home Reading, which is in place throughout the school up to Year 6. Children select their reading book (often with guidance) from within the band they  are currently working at. The books are banded up to Level 4 in order to ensure that each child takes home a book which they can read with more than 90% accuracy, to give enough room for instruction while still providing the child with success and enjoyment. Children are given the chance to read or talk about their home reading book with a teacher or teaching assistant at least once every two weeks. The band is reviewed regularly to avoid slowing the child’s progress or presenting too great a challenge.

Our banded books are taken from our original reading scheme, the Oxford Reading Tree, which has been supplemented with additional ORT phonics sets, Rigby Star and Rigby Star phonics, Bug Club from Pearson and Big Cat from Collins. The scheme also includes a number of good quality, banded ‘real’ books. Older, struggling readers have access to Project X reading books from Oxford. The books are banded in accordance with guidance from the Institute of Education’s publication “Book Bands for Guided Reading”, produced by the UK Reading Recovery Network.

If you have any concerns about your child’s reading or the way that our reading scheme works, please feel free to come and have a chat with your child’s class teacher or with Mrs Walton, our Literacy subject leader.

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