Phonics and Reading
We believe reading is a fundamental life skill and we develop a genuine love and lasting passion for reading within every child. Children who enjoy reading, achieve more highly across the curriculum. Becoming a fluent reader is essential to accessing the wider curriculum and becoming a successful learner.
Our approach to teaching phonics and reading, alongside additional support as required, ensures all learners can progress.
At Woodfield Infant School, the systematic teaching of phonics is given a high priority and is delivered daily, through the Read, Write Inc programme.
We start teaching phonics at the beginning of EYFS. This ensures children build upon their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. As a result, all of our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read.
We have a strong focus on oral language development for all of our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.
Our reading curriculum is planned to ensure coverage of the National Curriculum:
- ‘Word reading’ - The ability to recognise words presented in and out of context. The ability to blend letter sounds (phonemes) together to read words.
- ‘Comprehension’ - The ability to understand the meaning of the words and sentences in a text. The ability to understand the ideas, information and themes in a text.
Because we believe teaching every child to read is so important, we have an English Team who drive the early reading programme in our school. These individuals are highly skilled at teaching phonics and reading, and they monitor and support all staff, so that everyone teaches with fidelity to the Read, Write, Inc programme.
In EYFS, we provide a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for ‘Communication and language’ and ‘Literacy’. These include:
- sharing high-quality stories and poems
- learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes
- activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending
- attention to high-quality language
In Early Years we begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending.
Daily phonics lessons in Reception and KS1
Daily phonics sessions throughout school follow the Read, Write, Inc Programme. The Read, Write, Inc Programme follows a metacognitive approach and the model of I do, we do, you do.
In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games (Fred Talk), to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible.
Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins early (by week 2) of the Autumn term.
Following the Read, Write, Inc Programme, children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using set 1 and some set 2 sounds so that they can use these to blend and read simple words with fluency and accuracy. Children in Year 1 continue with set 2 sounds and move onto set 3 in order to read and spell words a greater range of words with fluency and accuracy.
Daily Fast Track Tutoring
Daily Fast Track Tutoring ensures every child learns to read. Identified children receive additional daily practise taught by a fully trained adult. Short, sharp sessions use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.
For any child in Year 2 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics Screening Check, daily fast track tutoring continues so that the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen.
We use the Read, Write, Inc speed sound and phonics screening assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these, at pace, using the Read Write Inc resources.
Children in Reception, Y1 and Y2, who are receiving additional daily fast track tutoring, read their reading practise book to an adult daily.
Teaching reading through daily reading practice sessions
We teach children to read through daily reading practice sessions.
- are taught by a fully trained adult to differentiated groups
- use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Read, Write, Inc structure
- are monitored by the class teacher and are overseen by the English Team, who regroup the children according to regular assessments
Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:
- prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
- comprehension: teaching children to understand the text
In Reception these sessions start in Week 4. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.
In Year 2, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books.
Home reading for RWI
The decodable reading practice book (core book) that the children access in school, can also be accessed at home via the Oxford Owl Hub. Each child is provided with login details and they are assigned a new matched phonics core book on a weekly basis. Alongside this, they also take home a Book Bag Book which is also phonically matched and changed weekly. This Book Bag Book uses the same sounds and words as the core book but provides additional opportunities to develop. They are changed weekly in order to develop fluency in reading. Further information about fluency can be found below.
We use the Read, Write, Inc parents’ resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision, both online via our website and through workshops.
Ensuring consistency and pace of progress
Staff across our school have been trained to teach reading, including our approach to phonics, so that they have the same expectations of progress. All staff use the same language, routines and resources to teach children to read so that we lower children’s cognitive load.
In addition to this we have:
- Read, Write, Inc Handbooks which maps out each element of new learning to each day, week and term for the duration of the programme
- Lesson templates and Read, Write, Inc ‘how to’ videos to ensure teachers all have a consistent approach and structure for each lesson
- The English Team and SLT who audit and regularly monitor and observe teaching, they also use formative and summative data to identify children who need additional support
- Coaching sessions that take place throughout the week from reading leads
- Weekly staff CPD sessions that take place led by the reading leads
- Regular development days and remote progress sessions that take place with RWI external trainers
VIPERS Reading Comprehension Group
Once children have mastered the Read Write Inc. knowledge and skills, they are able to read fluently and with speed. They can use their sounds knowledge to decode unfamiliar words and read known words by sight.
As a bridge between Read Write Inc. and Reciprocal Reading delivered in KS2, we use a VIPERS reading group. VIPERS is a comprehension approach to reading, which focusses on the six reading domains of the national curriculum: vocabulary, inference, prediction, explaining, retrieving, sequencing. They are the key areas which we feel children need to know and understand in order to improve their comprehension of texts.
These reading comprehension sessions are used as a powerful tool to ensure all children continue to make progress in reading and provide regular and supportive opportunities for children to encounter engaging texts that will resonate with their interests, capture their imagination, and ultimately promote a love of reading.
Children’s reading is regularly assessed, and they take home banded reading books matched closely to their developmental reading stage. They can self-choose a book of interest and change these books as regularly as they wish.
The document ‘KS1 Reading VIPERS: Questions to ask at home’ document helps parents to carry on this approach when listening to their child read at home.
Children within this group work on handwriting joins. They also work on Oxford Owl spelling sessions, which is a proven approach, underpinned by phonics, ensuring spelling success for children who are fluent readers.
Ensuring reading for pleasure
We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to develop the practice of reading for pleasure.
- A love of reading is fostered throughout school by a carefully selected choice of texts that are read to the children during daily story time. This helps to develop the habit of reading widely, often, for pleasure and information.
- We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at Woodfield and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.
- Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books.
- In EYFS, children have access to the reading corner every day in continuous provision, where some of the books are linked to the current theme.
- Children from Reception onwards have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults in school will write in this when there are any particular points to communicate.
- Children across the school have regular opportunities to engage with a wide range of Reading for Pleasure events (World Book Day, Pyjamarama, Buddy Read with KS2 children).
All children access a carefully considered reading spine throughout their time at Woodfield Infant School, linked to Pie Corbett’s T4W, to ensure exposure to rich and varied texts. These are texts that are read to the children, and by children, throughout the year.
Use of our Learning Powers
While being taught to become confident readers, children will be encouraged to use our ‘Learning Powers’. For example, they will be shown how to be resilient in working out challenging vocabulary, how to co-operate and work together in guided reading sessions and how to concentrate and follow the signals used in Read, Write, Inc sessions. By employing our learning powers in reading, as we do throughout the curriculum, we aim for the children to become independent, fluent readers.
Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.
Assessment for learning is used:
- daily within class to identify children needing fast track tutoring
- weekly review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings.
Summative assessments include RWI assessments and Phonics Screening Checks. They are used:
- every six weeks by teachers to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the fast track tutoring that they need.
- by the English Team and SLT to narrow attainment gaps between different groups of children by ensuring that any additional support that is needed is monitored for impact.
Regardless of any reading scheme that the children may or may not be following, we ensure that we regular assess children against the National Curriculum reading criteria. We use NFER reading tests to assess pupils’ attainment in regards to pupils’ ARE.
Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check. Any child not passing the check resits it in Year 2. The result of this screening check are shared with parents and carers in July.
Writing and Reading Spine
RWI Phonics and Reading Information for Parents
Read, Write, Inc Information
Improving Reading Comprehension-The Reading House Model
Progression in Reading
Useful Phonic Resources:
Ruth Miskin Parents' page: https://www.ruthmiskin.com/parents/
Ruth Miskin Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/miskin.education
Mr Thorne Does Phonics: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7sW4j8p7k9D_qRRMUsGqyw
Phonics Play: https://www.phonicsplay.co.uk/resources