At St. Petroc’s C of E School we follow the Read Write Inc. approach to teaching reading and phonics, supplemented with additional reading materials. Our approach is systematic, consistent and rigorous in order that all children become readers as quickly as possible. We use the same phonics program across the school providing continuity and a vehicle for progression.
In nursery, children learn the set 1 sounds in small group sessions once they are ready, usually by the Summer term.
In Foundation Stage 2, the children have a daily Read Write Inc session dedicated to phonics. Children are taught in groups according to their reading ability, starting with a 20 minute session in Autumn term, increasing to 30 minutes in Spring term and 40 minutes in Summer term.
Children in Year 1 and Year 2 who have not graduated from the scheme, have a daily 45 minute Read Write Inc session dedicated to phonics. Children are taught in groups according to their reading ability.
Children in Year 1 and Year 2 who have graduated from Read Write Inc Phonics have a daily 45 minute session of guided reading.
Children in Year 3 and Year 4 who have not graduated the scheme, have a daily 30 minute Read Write Inc session dedicated to phonics. Children are taught in groups according to their reading ability.
All children are assessed half termly, more frequent assessments are also done for any children who appear to be exceeding their group’s ability.
For those children in Year 2, who did not pass the phonics screening test in Y1, additional, small group, interventions take place. This includes children who are not making rapid progress in their Read Write Inc progression. In Year 1, additional interventions take place for children who are not making rapid progress in their Read Write Inc progression.
Phonically decodable reading books are sent home for all children in ditty group and above, tailored to their current level of phonic ability. Children have sounds and words to share at home in groups 1A or 1B, sound blending books in group 1C and sentence sheets in Ditty group to encourage reading skills in small but progressive steps for all.
In Y4, 5, 6, the children who have not completed the RWI programme are assessed every 6 weeks to ensure that they have phonics pitched at the appropriate level, not their age. These children take part in small group phonics interventions daily using RWI and RWI Fresh Start. Children who did not pass the phonics screening test in Y2, are monitored to ensure that they have opportunities to reach the age-expected level.
Teaching is very precise and tailored to the needs of each child irrespective of year group. The alphabetic code is taught first with children learning new sounds and practising pronouncing and blending these sounds on a daily basis. This starts in nursery. Simple mnemonics help the children grasp the letter sounds quickly. Then we match the sounds pupils know to the books they read. Children will hear lots of other stories in school thus increasing their story knowledge and vocabulary.
Once children have reached the end of the RWI programme, a whole class reading approach is used where the learning is focussed on developing fluency, vocabulary and the elements of comprehension outlined in the National Curriculum.
Reading across the school is supported using AR Reader. Pupils are assessed on their comprehension skills on a regular basis by doing a ‘star test’ which then gives the individual a targeted ‘reading range’. This range gives children the opportunity to choose a book that interests them that will also continue to support them in their reading progress. Pupils take AR reading books home from the library to practise some of the skills they are learning in school. These books are banded according to comprehension level and when children are confident with their knowledge of the book they take a ‘reading quiz’ online about what they have read which gives them instant feedback on their success. Children have individual targets to work towards within their reading which they can track using the AR app. In order to meet their targets, the children will need to read books higher in their reading range and pass their reading quizzes by answering more than 85% of the questions correctly. If children are consistently succeeding in these quizzes or meet their targets, they are encouraged to read books that are higher within their range and if they continue to succeed, they are able to take another ‘star test’ to give them a new reading range. Parents are able to monitor their child’s quizzing and progress towards their targets through the use of Home Connect.
Pie Corbett, an expert in reading, firmly believes that “Great books…build the imagination…and equip the reader with language…because around 75 per cent of our vocabulary comes from our reading.” He recommends a whole school reading spine where the children are read to, enjoy, discuss and work with around 80 core books during their time at primary school. As a school, we have selected texts for our reading spine that give our children a broad range of exposure to a broad range of texts.. We have ensured that as they progress throughout the school, our children will have read or have had read to them a selection of modern and classical texts and authors, prize winning texts, popular texts, fiction, non-fiction and poetry. We have considered local authors, authors from different cultures, characters of varying age, gender, culture and times throughout history.
Our choices of texts are based around The Five Plagues of Reading by Doug Lemov, Pie Corbett’s Reading Spine and the knowledge and experience of our teaching staff. Each year, teachers will be able to select books from our reading spine to ensure they are giving our children the best possible reading experiences whilst still selecting texts that will appeal to the interests of their class and suit the current environment within which they are teaching.
At St Petroc’s, we understand and value the importance of enjoying reading. 46% of our children live in the most deprived 30% LSOAs (Layer Super Output Areas) in the United Kingdom, which is almost double the national average. 14% live in the most deprived LSOA, which is almost three times the national average.
Through reading and the texts we choose, we have the opportunity to support our children to define their own futures. We can enhance their cultural capital to support their opportunities for social mobility. We therefore know that it is our duty to give every child the opportunity to foster a love of reading.