Key Stage 1 Phonics & Reading

Learning to read is the most important thing a child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.  To support this aim we have developed a ‘Reading Pathway’.

We don’t want children to simply learn to read, however, we want our children to love reading, enjoy a variety of books and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books

Early  Reading

We start by teaching phonics to the children in the foundation class. They learn to read using a systematic synthetics phonics programme called Read, Write, Inc. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading but it also helps children learn to spell too. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters.

With rigorous daily phonic practise, children quickly build up their ability to work out and read words with increasing speed and accuracy. Children also practice reading (and spelling) what we call ‘red words’, such as ‘you,’ ‘the’, ‘said’ and ‘where’, which are words that are tricky to work out using sounds. We carefully select and match the texts and books children read to the sounds and the red words they know. This ensures every child can achieve success in their reading, which will boost their confidence and encourage a love of reading.

To further promote enjoyment of books, teachers read daily to the children too so the children get to know all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. They learn many more words this way and it also helps their writing.

As the children progress, we use various ways to find out how the children are getting on in reading. We use the information to decide what reading group they should be in so that children are working at the same reading level. Sometimes children will move to a different group, usually a different colour, if they are making faster progress than the others.  If we think a child is not finding it easy, they will have one-to-one support or extra practice to help them keep up.

In the summer term, the government asks us to do a statutory phonics check of all the Year 1 children. That gives us extra information about their progress. If they are still struggling with phonics, they will continue to work on this in Year 2.

Once children are reading fluently and at a speed which means they can focus  on the meaning of what is written on the page, we also use a reading comprehension test so that we can make sure that all our children are at the level that they should be for their age compared to all the children across the country.

What happens next?

Once children have completed the Read, Write, Inc. programme, they move onto the second phase of our Reading Pathway. This is the transition stage after Read, Write, Inc. before they move to independent reading.

The children read book banded books, also in colours, regularly in groups at school to further develop their fluency and stamina. The book banded books become more challenging as the colour changes.

In Year 2, those children who have completed Read, Write, Inc. also have whole class reading sessions.  Therefore, by the end of Year 2, children should be able to read aloud books that are at the right level for their age.

Once they have completed the book banded books, the children move onto independent reading which is monitored by the teachers through a programme called Accelerated Reader for their personal reading.

They also have whole class reading sessions . In these lessons, the children read extracts from  a wide range of books each day with their class teacher in a variety of ways to develop their reading skills such as fluency, stamina, expression (prosody), ability to predict and summarise, infer and comprehend.

This whole class method ensures progression and breadth in the key texts being used to teach reading across the school and being shared with the children to develop their love of reading. The children are really enjoying sharing these books together and are frequently asking to read the books for themselves. Extra copies have been purchased  to provide copies in the classrooms for the children to read the whole book should they wish and this is proving very popular.

Throughout their time at school, the children will also bring home another book. This is their library book which is their ‘reading for pleasure’ book. This book is to be shared or read to them, or they can read it independently if they feel they can. This book is NOT necessarily matched to their reading level. We hope this will give them a variety of books to read and help develop their love of reading.