Early Reading and Phonics

Reading Matters!

At St George’s we believe that reading really matters and we aim for excellence in reading achievement throughout the school. Reading gives pupils the chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually; we provide a wealth of opportunities for pupils to read widely and often, enabling them to both acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know.

It is our aim that pupils at St George’s School read with confidence, fluency and understanding, using a range of independent strategies. They learn to take responsibility for their own learning, demonstrate a love of reading and a desire to read for enjoyment. Through reading widely and often, they develop a growing vocabulary and become adept at using their creativity, imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness.

Reading is embedded throughout the curriculum and in all subject areas, with planned daily opportunities for reading in each class.  In addition, dedicated timetabled reading lessons facilitate the teaching of specific fluency and comprehension skills.

Early Reading at St George’s

Early reading at St George’s is centred on the exploration of quality texts which engage and inspire our children. Reading for pleasure is at the heart of all that we do at St George’s and this begins as soon as the children enter the EYFS. We recognise that the early years of a child’s life are crucial and the experiences that we offer the children in the EYFS and KS1 are fundamental in laying the foundations for future reading success.

Reading interest is sparked in our children from day one and we ignite this through the use of class libraries, mystery readers, daily reading, initiatives to encourage regular reading, celebrations of authors to name a few.

Phonics

At St George’s we use a synthetic phonics programme to teach reading called ‘Read Write Inc’ produced by Ruth Miskin. As children progress and can decode fluently they move onto the Literacy and Language scheme which develops children’s comprehension, vocabulary, writing, critical thinking and discussion skills and grammar – in a fun and meaningful way.

Read Write Inc Phonics is a method of teaching reading which is centred around learning the sounds of the letters (phonics), and then blending them together to read words.  The children also learn to break down words into individual sounds in order to write them.

How it works

The children are assessed and grouped according to their ability.

They work in small groups with a teacher and a teaching assistant.

At the end of each half term the children will be assessed again to check they have made progress and will be grouped again.  In addition to the Read Write Inc programme the children will also be working on writing skills and storytelling in their classes with their own class teacher.

Reading

Using Read Write Inc the children learn to read effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into understanding what they read.

When using ‘Read Write Inc’ to read the children will:

Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts

Learn to read words by blending the sounds together

Read lively stories featuring words they have learnt to sound out

Show that they understand the stories by answering ‘Find It’ and ‘Prove it’ discussion questions

Blending

Children learn to read words by blending the letter-sounds that are in the Speed Sound sets

(shown further down the page).

Help your child learn to read words by sound-blending e.g. c-a-t = cat

Help children to say the pure sounds, as quickly as they can, and then to blend the sounds together to say the whole word.

Assessment of Phonics.

As children’s reading develops at different rates, phonics teaching is tailored to each child and their ability. Children are expected to sit a phonics screening assessment in year 1 that tests their knowledge of phonics sounds. The children that do not pass the phonics screening check are given appropriate support and materials to ensure they catch up.

To support these children we ensure they continue to receive Read Write Inc daily phonics and reading sessions, one to one reading or guided groups. These children also become a focus within lessons and they are encouraged to read a range of books that are tailored to support their learning of phonics sounds whilst being written in a context that is suitable for their age. This continues into KS2 if the children are still not secure in their phonics sounds.

Alongside the continued teacher assessments of Phonics that take place daily in, reception, year 1 and year 2, the children’s progress is tracked half termly by the class teacher and reading leader. This allows the progress of every child to be monitored, so further support can be offered if needed and the child is moved to the correct phonic group for the next term. The children are assessed on the sounds they can read and write and reading the high frequency words that are based on their phonics stage. Common exception words are also a focus in year 1 and 2 and teachers assess with the children can read these words and they identify those that need to become a greater focus in class over the next term. At the end of Year 1, the Year 1 Phonics Screening check will take place. This is a national assessment that all Year 1 children take part in.

Parental Support

The school recognises and values the significant role of parents in further developing reading skills and they are encouraged to share books and read daily with their child. We support parents in developing their child’s reading skills at home and send regular information home on how to develop reading habits and the types of questions that children need to answer depending on their reading level.

Using Texts in our Curriculum

Quality texts are used as hooks into learning across the curriculum. A rich diet of books from modern classics to contemporary fiction along with high interest non-fiction texts are used to engage our EYFS and KS1 children into new areas of learning. Reading is a core skill that allows children access to all areas of the enriched curriculum, and is in fact an essential and rewarding life skill. Books are placed at the heart of every topic, and reading is integral to everyday school life.

Volunteer Readers

Whilst the children are still learning the mechanics of reading, an adult in school will listen to them read. Due to the support from parents and people in the school community, our children have lots of opportunities to read to an adult. Those who need it will have daily reading.  Our older children are paired up with a younger child to support them with their reading.

Book Week

At St George’s, we use World Book day to celebrate and promote our children’s love of reading. To make the most of this national celebration we celebrate for a whole week rather than a day. The main aim of the week is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading, to celebrate authors and illustrators and to use the books they read as inspiration for their own writing. The events that take place include an Author Visit during the week, along with “Surprise Reader” sessions and paired reading. Other examples include shared reading sessions with families; book swap; reading hunts and writing House competitions in the style of the chosen text. The children always thoroughly enjoy the range of activities and the immersion in reading. Events like this inspire our children and encourages the lifelong love of reading that we are endeavouring to create.