At Brinsley Primary and Nursery we believe that Reading is a unifying strand across the whole curriculum. It is a tool that opens the door to many areas of a child's development and is integral to a child’s understanding and appreciation of the world around them; a platform that allows our children to see beyond what they know, share in cultural experiences and develop the vocabulary they need to effectively express themselves. Our reading curriculum strives to create the balance between instruction in cognitive reading processes which develop the children’s technical and comprehension skills and affective experiences which foster a lifelong love of reading. Through this, we cultivate the behaviours that they will need, to be discerning readers as they read frequently and widely using self-regulation strategies and discuss what they read.
This curriculum is delivered through synthetic phonics, a linked approach to shared and guided reading, home reading, reading across the curriculum, regular opportunities for independent reading and hearing quality texts read aloud every day. All of these are essential components as they offer the range of opportunities needed to develop fluent, enthusiastic and critical readers.
Synthetic phonics is the first formal method for the teaching of reading that we use as it provides the foundations required to become a fluent reader. We understand that once children are able to decode fluently, the teaching of comprehension is quicker and more effective as they are able to focus all of their attention to understanding what they read. Daily, fast paced, highly interactive and challenging lessons ensure effective learning and progress.
Decoding and graphic knowledge are taught using the DfE validated systematic synthetic phonic (SSP) programme 'Twinkl Phonics'. Children are taught the graphemes and their corresponding phonemes in the order set out in the scheme. This begins with the simplest sounds first and progresses systematically through to the most complex combinations of letters. In each session, there is a review of prior learning through the quick recognition of previously learned graphemes/ phonemes and the skills of blending and segmenting are modelled by the practitioner, recapped collaboratively and practised individually in the contexts of reading and writing words, captions and, where appropriate, sentences. Our phonics teaching is linked to books through whole class reading using e-books and big books, shared and guided reading and one to one reading sessions in which the children read phonically levelled (or phonetically decodable) texts. This ensures that the children understand the purpose of their phonics learning as they are able to apply their learning in a meaningful manner.
Level 5 phonics is taught throughout Year 1. Children who are identified as not being on track to pass the phonics screening check receive a daily afternoon phonics intervention in addition to their daily phonics session. In year 2 children are taught Level 6. Children who did not pass the phonics screening check in Year 1, continue to receive phonics sessions and one-to-one phonics coaching. There is a small number of children who require phonics teaching in Key Stage 2 because they are reading below age related expectations in their word recognition and decoding skills. For these children, phonics is taught in small group sessions in the afternoons and they continue to read phonically levelled texts.
All children in Foundation Stage and Key Stage One receive one-to-one reading; the frequency of which is determined by their needs. In these sessions and for their home reading, children read phonically levelled text, matched to their ability. Opportunities to apply phonic knowledge are offered within the continuous learning provision in both the Foundation Stage and Year 1. Finally, the reading of common exception words (trick words) is threaded through phonics sessions and shared and guided reading and addressed through fun games. To allow for further consolidation, these words are sent home with children to ensure continuous practise.
In the Foundation Stage, children have daily opportunities to listen to texts read by the teacher. Comprehension strategies are modelled and explicitly taught during these sessions. After the Autumn Term, children begin to participate in small group guided reading sessions. These are led by the teacher or teaching assistant and incorporate a range of both word-reading and comprehension activities.
Throughout Key Stages One and Two, our shared and guided reading sessions balance the teaching of reading between word reading, wider decoding skills, grammar for reading, wider comprehension strategies and response to text in order to develop fluent readers who understand what they are reading. Comprehension is taught from an early age to prevent comprehension difficulties arising as the language demand of the texts they encounter increases.
In Key stages One and Two, we use Focus Curriculum Enquiry Topics as a scaffold for our curriculum delivery. Each year group focusses on a key question each half term which is driven by a high quality, age appropriate core text, putting literature at the heart of our curriculum. Key questions centre around geography, history or science with reading skills and objectives interwoven throughout. English lessons are delivered whole class, so that all children have access to the age-related skills and knowledge contained in the National Curriculum. Within lessons, teachers and teaching assistants target small groups of children to enable them to achieve at an age-related level wherever possible.
To ensure children have access to an extensive range of topic related literature, we subscribe to the Education Library Service. This gives teachers access to an established library of resources as well as specialist librarians who can support them in creating collections of books suitable to the needs of the individual classrooms.
In Key Stage One children participate in weekly, small group guided reading sessions. Teachers use Pearson’s Bug Club book banded reading targets to plan objectives for groups dependent on their skill level. Sessions focus on a combination of word reading and comprehension strategies using both eBooks and book banded books.
In Key Stage Two, a whole class guided reading approach using Pearson’s Bug Club Comprehension is undertaken. Each week of teaching is anchored by a key text. Texts are varied in genre and style, and some are studied for one week while others are studied over a period of up to five weeks. Each week of teaching runs as a cycle, with activities for small groups of children to complete on a daily basis, in sessions lasting between 20 and 30 minutes. The progression of activities across the five days helps to develop children’s comprehension strategies and deepen their comprehension of the week’s key text.
The first day focuses on the key strategy of clarifying, helping children to become familiar with words they will experience in the text and so removing barriers to comprehension. Working independently, in pairs or in a group, children complete activities that explore key vocabulary from the text. They record their responses in their individual workbooks.
On the second day, children pre-read the key text for the week. Confident readers can read it independently (in print or online), whereas less confident children can listen to the audio book on ActiveLearn. The children record their thoughts about the three ‘key questions’ – the ‘looking’, ‘clue’ and ‘thinking’ questions – in their workbooks. They also generate their own questions about the text in preparation for the group discussion on the third day.
On the third day, the whole class discuss the three key questions. Children speak directly to one another, building on each other’s comments.
On the fourth day, children reflect on their group discussion and revisit the key questions, exploring what more they have learned and how their thinking has developed. Working independently, in pairs or in groups, they complete activities in their workbooks, revising and embedding the strategies practised during the discussion. The fourth day also provides an opportunity for formative assessment, using children’s workbooks to observe how their thoughts about the three key questions, and their use of the key comprehension strategies, have developed.
Day 5 (Optional, dependent on the needs of the class)
On the fifth day, children complete a follow-up writing activity in their workbooks, which focuses on a selection of key comprehension strategies.
Children who are reading below age related expectations participate in additional intervention outside the comprehension lessons. Interventions include activities that develop accuracy, fluency and comprehension such as RWI, Speed Reading, Precision Teaching and Guided Comprehensions.
It is important that children are motivated to read at home regularly; when their reading miles increase, so does their fluency and stamina which in turn increases their enjoyment of reading. Furthermore, we know that reading pleasure is beneficial not only for reading outcomes, but for wider learning enjoyment and mental wellbeing. Thus, we work hard to foster a love of independent reading and build communities of engaged readers. We understand the significance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop both word reading and comprehension skills so we endeavour to build a home-school partnership which enables parents and carers to have the confidence to support their children with reading at home.
The frequent reading aloud of good quality picture books, short stories, chapter books, poetry and non-fiction is part of our whole school routine and there is dedicated curriculum time for this. This is in acknowledgement of the fact that children who are regularly read to, do better both socially and academically. Teachers have access to top book recommendations for their year groups to ensure that during their time at our school, children experience a range of authors and genres encouraging a breadth in their reading that will lead to greater engagement.
Our school library has become an invaluable resource, which the children have really taken ownership of and use consistently, to immerse themselves in the wonderful world of books. The school and local community have donated and undertaken various fund-raising events to ensure that it is stocked with an attractive range of fiction and non-fiction to support every ability and reading choice. It encompasses the latest reading trends and classic texts that should be part of every child’s primary school experience- building the children’s cultural capital. The use of these resources is enhanced by the teacher’s knowledge of children’s literature and of their pupils as readers.
To give the children a voice within the reading curriculum, each year group in Key Stage Two have advocated two Reading Ambassadors. The role of the ambassadors is to assist in the running of the library, promote and recommend high quality reading material to their peers, support in the running of celebratory reading events such as World Book Day and take an active part in selecting and purchasing new reading material for the library and classrooms.
To promote parental engagement in home reading we use a home-school diary. These serve as both a log for home reading and a platform for parents and teachers to share any relevant messages. Reading logs are checked by the teachers on a regular basis and children are rewarded for reading at home, each Key Stage has a reward system relevant to their age group. Within each child’s diary, teachers provide a book banded target sheet relevant to the individual child. These enable parents to see what the next steps are in their child’s reading journey and also give suggestions of how they can help their child achieve these.
During the Autumn Term Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 run parent workshops. During these workshops teachers emphasise the importance of reading for pleasure, explain the process of teaching synthetic phonics and give tips on how to support learning at home. During the Spring or Summer term further workshops are offered to parents that detail the process of the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check and the Year 2 and 6 SATs.
Reading targets for book banded books - Tips on how to support your child with reading at home at each level.
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