Early Reading and Phonics
And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
Through the teachings of Jesus, all can flourish spiritually, emotionally and academically throughout life, living out love and justice for all. Our Christian values of love, justice, compassion, wisdom, forgiveness and friendship underpin the life of the school community and impact on our daily lives. Guilden Sutton Church of England Primary School strives to provide the best possible education for our children. We aim for excellence within our happy, secure school where each individual’s achievements are valued and celebrated. By using a holistic approach, we will provide a curriculum that offers a diverse and challenging environment to inspire and motivate every child in our care.
At Guilden Sutton, we believe that early experiences with books both at home and in school have the potential to significantly affect future reading performance. Therefore, as soon as children enter Reception, we begin to inspire a love of reading, a deep-rooted appreciation and a recognition of books as worlds just waiting to be opened. We continue building upon the exposure that our children have already had to early reading skills through stories, rhymes and song time at every opportunity.
As children enter Key Stage 1, they continue to learn the complex skill of reading. They use skills of word recognition to develop reading fluency and to make sense of the text.
We believe that learning phonics provides young readers with the most direct route to skilled reading. We use Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) to enable children to begin successfully decoding words using synthetic phonics. Phonics is taught daily through whole-class, short and highly interactive sessions and is then reinforced and applied across the curriculum.
Children begin taking wordless reading books home to develop their speaking and listening skills before moving on to a fully decodable eBook. These eBooks are informed by regular assessment and tracking, and are personalised to match their current phonic knowledge. They provide direct practice of blending and segmenting with quick success. They ensure long term enthusiasm for reading as well as helping children to read with greater accuracy and independence. EBooks are allocated every Friday and we ask for eBooks to be read four times across a week for 10 minutes, recognising that this hugely supports our children to become independent readers.
In addition to the eBooks, children choose another reading book. These books are closely matched to their phonetic understanding and parents/carers are asked to share these books with their children, supporting them as and when necessary.
Reading Records are provided to all children as a way of communicating between parents/carers and teachers about reading ability as well as advising parents/carers as to how they can support their child at home.
Once children have successfully mastered Early Reading skills, they move towards refining their accuracy, fluency and comprehension through more challenging texts, organised by colour (Turquoise - Grey). We use PM Benchmarking, alongside teacher assessments, to provide children with age-appropriate books which expose them to new concepts, ideas and vocabulary and provide opportunities to unpick texts on a deeper level.
As children begin their reading journey, a member of staff listens to them read before moving on to small group guided reading sessions. Children then progress to whole class guided reading sessions. These sessions are taught as a way of expanding children’s vocabulary and deepening their understanding of the texts they read. Texts are selected to be challenging and accessible for all children. Teachers are flexible with their choice of text depending on the children within the class and they ensure that they make meaningful cross-curricular links where possible.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics and reading, together with our belief that reading is the key to all learning, children enter Key Stage 2 as fluent and confident readers who can apply their knowledge and experience to a range of texts through the Key Stage 2 curriculum. They have been immersed in the wide and varied magical world that reading opens up and they have started to develop their own interest in books across a range of genres.
Although we believe that the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of statutory assessments, at the end of Year 1, children complete the Phonics Screening Check. This check is used to ensure that children are making sufficient progress in their phonics skills and are on track to become fluent readers who enjoy reading for pleasure and learning. A bespoke package of support is provided to all individuals who perform below national standard and they are retested in Year 2.
At the end of Key Stage 1, children complete a national test (SATs) to assess their understanding of different fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts. Children complete two papers which are centred around decoding and comprehending text.
Useful websites to support learning at home