Phonics and Reading
How We Promote Reading at Gladstone Primary.
Phonics is a systematic approach to learning to read, write and spell. At Gladstone Primary School children are taught phonics as soon as they start in our Nursery. Phonics is taught every day in discreet lessons in ability groups. The children also enjoy whole class Storytime Phonics. These skills are then applied in other lessons across the curriculum and taught alongside the other important skills of learning to read.
Click the link below to see the Phonics Outline from Nursery upwards.
At Gladstone Primary School we don’t use a specific scheme to teach phonics. We teach what we think the children need and we are always looking to help the children progress by identifying their next stages in learning. Our staff are highly skilled in the teaching of Phonics.
We believe reading is very important at our school and the support from parents is invaluable. Our Home/School reading system is very flexible but we have the high expectation that pupils will read at least 5 times a week to achieve their weekly reading targets. This is logged in their diaries and they are checked daily by a member of staff to encourage and reward with stickers, raffle tickets or class Dojo points. In addition, Mrs. Preston checks the diaries termly to reinforce the encouragement and to reward those consistently achieving the weekly targets with a Headteacher’s Award.
Early Stages of Reading
We build strong foundations for reading in Nursery by focusing on developing the children’s language and communication skills through the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. We believe that sharing songs and nursery rhymes at this early age is essential for learning to read using phonics, which begins in Nursery and continues through Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. Children in the Nursery learn a different song/rhyme each week and take part in a daily singing/rhyme session. The children also have daily book sharing sessions in small groups, planned opportunities to re-enact stories and are encouraged to look at and talk about stories and information books in their child-initiated play. We ensure that there is always a wide range of texts on offer to engage all cultures, learning styles and preferences. Early matching, categorising and sorting activities are also carefully planned and made available to help the children to develop the visual discrimination skills that are required for early reading. We are also passionate about providing our children with an environment that is print-rich.
All of our younger children participate in a daily phonics session. We follow the DfES programme Letters and Sounds to deliver systematic phonics which enables children to read, write and spell. In the Nursery we focus mainly on phase 1 and work our way through the seven different aspects. This phase is incredibly important and creates the foundations for all phonics learning. We only begin to introduce phase 2 when we are certain that children are competent in all aspects of phase 1.
Each child takes home a reading book that matches their reading ability and a book of their own choice from the class/group book box. Children also have the opportunity to share and discuss their reading book with a member of staff in school each week. In Nursery all children start with non-worded books from a range of texts to encourage language skills, vocabulary and book handling skills. When the children are confident with these important skills words and letters are introduced. As children become more confident in using their phonics and tricky words they gradually move onto reading more challenging texts, continuing to practise their phonics, decoding skills, and comprehension skills. Our home reading books are wide ranging and all have a phonic focus. Dandelion Launchers by Phonic Books are read regularly by the children, and these are supplemented with Phonic focused Oxford Reading Tree and Pearson Bug Club books. We also use Jolly Phonics Books to extend and develop phonemes taught in sets/groups.
In addition, we welcome visits from the library service, Little Library Van and other reading champions to share the love of books and reading. Welcoming parents, families and carers to these events shows the importance and holistic nature of reading.
Reception and Key Stage One
In Reception and Year 1 children continue to learn phonics to help them build confidence in independent reading. They have differentiated daily phonics lessons at their ability level. The children are assessed regularly to ensure that gaps are identified and addressed.
Home reading books are carefully selected and matched to their phonic ability. A mixture of reading books are used and all these books are carefully matched to the phonic phases to enable children to read independently and practise their decoding skills at home. In Key Stage One these books are from Oxford Reading Tree Phonics, Pearson Bug Club and Dandelion Phonic readers. Children also practise reading key tricky words and these are sent home on flash cards to help the children remember these words using their visual memory rather than phonics.
Children in Reception and Year 1 change their home reading book three times a week and this is complemented by a class library book that is a child choice book that is taken home and shared with an adult.
When each phase is completed and the children are confident to blend a good range of phonemes at Phase 5, children move on to read books from The Oxford Reading Tree. This gives children the opportunity to broaden their depth and helps them to become independent and fluent readers.
For our more confident readers in Key Stage One and throughout Key Stage Two, we use The Accelerated Reading Program to give the children a greater breadth and independence in their reading. This is very successful and something that the children find very motivating.
In each Foundation Stage and Key Stage One classroom, we have a designated reading corner along with a special Author Focus display that introduces the children to a specific author and their work. In all classrooms we have a wide range of topic-related books as part of our themed areas and theses are taken from our school library.
Key Stage Two.
In Key Stage Two we have daily discrete sessions for 30 minutes each morning. These follow the VIPERS framework to ensure that all different areas of reading are covered in depth. The start of the week focuses on introducing the key vocabulary and reading and discussing the text as a whole class, this moves on to focused groups later in the week where we work in smaller groups to explore the text in more depth. The end of the week sees children use their knowledge from the week to answer questions on the text, this is then evaluated through whole class discussions. Reading is also interwoven into most sequences of teaching as it is the foundation of learning and the key to unlocking the curriculum.
Here at Gladstone, we ensure each year group has a varied and diverse curriculum and this is also reflected in the texts that we study as part of these topics. To enable all children, regardless of reading ability, to access the chosen texts, we often follow a Differentiated Texts approach where the text itself and the learning sequence is aimed directly at the ability of all groups of children to provide a suitable amount of challenge for all.
Classes have Storytime to share a class text and expose children to a range of authors and genres. Teachers and children select the texts and discuss their thoughts and opinions on their favourite books. As motivating our pupils and creating a reading rich environment is incredibly important to us at Gladstone, we run a lot of incentives to help maintain the passion for literature and reading. Classes run their own weekly word count competitions and each Friday we have a ‘Golden Ticket’ reward system where a child from each class gets a preferential dining experience at lunchtime and their achievements celebrated in whole school assemblies and further acknowledged on a school display. In addition to this, we closely monitor children’s Accelerated Reader engagement and progress and celebrate children who hit the milestone of 1,000,000 words in assemblies, they get to pick a day to come to school in their own clothes and they are awarded a golden reading star badge.
Promoting the love of reading is one of our key priorities here at Gladstone and one of the big events we really champion is World Book Day. We celebrate this wholeheartedly each year with a whole school approach to dressing up, carry out a range of activities or whole school event/challenge and hold yearly competitions to raise the profile and engagement in this fantastic event. We have author visits to school who carry out assemblies or workshops which have been greatly received by the children and staff alike. Furthermore, we have visits from Stoke library services and plan library visits for the children in Foundation Stage and Key Stage One.
Reading Workshops for Parents
As a school we work very closely with Stoke Speaks Out and provide support for through more formal workshops the Year we offer workshops for parents where they can learn about the teaching of reading and phonics and, in turn, feel more confident to support their children at home. For information about reading workshops please get in touch with Mrs Rammell and Mrs Middleton.