At Christ Church, we use picture books, novels, poems and factual texts from EYFS to Year 6 to engage
and stimulate learning. We ensure children are exposed to high quality literature that deepens and
challenges their knowledge and understanding. We encourage children to be ‘active’ readers. This means
we want children to be asking questions as they read, we want them to be puzzled by the challenging
pitch of the selected texts and we want them to be making predictions and reflecting on what they have
read. Although independent reading time is crucial for enjoyment, reading encompasses many other
skills, which need discrete opportunities to explore. We have whole school guided reading sessions where
the children focus on developing specific reading skills.
Reading is taught through shared reading sessions, guided reading sessions and opportunities to practise and consolidate skills through independent reading. During these sessions, staff use a wide range of strategies to try and enhance the teaching of reading.
Some of these are outlined below:
Modelling and discussing the features of written texts through shared reading of texts.
Giving direction to develop key strategies in reading.
Demonstration – e.g. how to use punctuation when reading, using a shared text.
Explanation to clarify and discuss e.g. need for grammatical agreement when proof reading.
Questioning – to probe pupil’s understanding of text. Investigation of ideas – to understand, expand on or generalise about themes and structures in fiction and non-fiction.
Discussion and argument – to justify preference.
Provision of a wide range of fiction and non-fiction genres, for the children to choose from.
It is important for children to access texts that are appropriate for their ability in reading in
order to enable them to apply the skills taught in phonics as well as other reading skills.
Books for individual and guided reading (in EYFS and KS1) are banded according to colour bands. In KS2 guided reading is taught through whole class study of quality texts, many of which are matched to the themes being studied across the curriculum. Throughout the school, phonically decodable books are also used, and these are allocated according to Benchmark assessments. It is vital that early reading is done using phonically decodable texts and therefore we ensure that the first books children receive to read at home are matched to the phonic step they are on and contain graphemes that they will be familiar with at any point in their learning. A range of reading schemes is used in school including: Bug Club, Oxford Reading Tree, Rigby Star and Big Cat.
Children are regularly assessed to ensure that their reading level is correct for them using
running records, PM Benchmarking and reading conferencing.
At Christ Church Primary School, from Sep 2022 we will be teaching phonics using the Unlocking Letters and Sounds programme. In Reception, during the first few weeks, children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within these phases.
In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, they learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words. By the end of Year 1 children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the national Phonics Screening Check.
In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery and any child who does not meet age related expectations in Year 1 will continue to receive support to close identified gaps.
To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to catch up through bespoke 1-1 precision teaching, and segmenting and blending interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have impact.
For home reading, children read books so that they can practise and apply reading skills that have been taught at school. Books are very closely matched to a child’s current phonics phase so that each child can achieve success in their reading.
Please read with your child every day to develop their blending, decoding and fluency skills. We ask that you record this in their reading log book by writing a positive comment about your child’s reading.
As children progress they move through our coloured book band scheme so that they can continue to progress in their decoding, fluency and comprehension skills and become avid, expert readers.
Reading for meaning is embedded in our teaching across the school. Alongside guided reading lessons, each class holds a supported written comprehension lesson each week to help children express their understanding. In EYFS and KS1 discussions are predominately verbal with some recording beginning in Year 1. The children then have a chance to practise new skills and show their understanding through complementary follow-up tasks. There is also a focus on language – discovering new words and understanding their meaning so that children can extend their vocabulary repertoire in both reading and writing. In KS2 there is a greater focus on written responses to
questions showing a progression in comprehension skills in line with the National Curriculum requirements.
Speech and Language
We recognise that communication is crucial to future success for our children and the development of excellent speaking skills underpins all areas of our curriculum. Vocabulary is explicitly taught through topic work and in guided and shared reading and writing. Talk for Writing provides a structured platform to develop children’s speaking skills. There are also opportunities for children to develop their awareness of an audience through a range of performance activities, including productions, poetry performances, debates, assemblies and presentations.
We provide a range of support to minimise the gaps in children’s attainment in reading. These include phonic support at sound, sight word, word and sentence level, fluency support, additional guided reading pre-reads, inference training, Rapid Reading and 1:1 reading. Some children have also recently been able to access extra support through the NELI and Lightning Squad interventions, which supports catch up learning.
Children at Christ Church, love reading; they love listening to stories; they love sharing books with their friends; they love “escaping” with a book themselves.
As we believe that reading is key to all learning, the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the result of statutory assessments. Children have the opportunity to enter the wide and varied magical worlds that reading opens up to them. As they develop their own interest in books, a deep love of literature across a range of genres cultures and styles is enhanced.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics and reading enquiry, our aim is for children to become fluent and confident readers who can apply their knowledge and experience to a range of texts through the Key Stage 2 curriculum.
As a Year 6 reader, transitioning into secondary school, we aspire that children are fluent, confident and able readers, who can access a range of texts for pleasure and enjoyment, as well as use their reading skills to unlock learning and all areas of the curriculum. Our parents support the children by regularly sharing books at home and contributing to their reading records.