At St. Stephen’s, we provide a high quality, ambitious approach to the teaching of reading. Our aim to implement a systematic approach to the teaching of the technical skills of reading whilst also promoting a love of reading for pleasure. Our aim is that every child becomes a confident reader who is able to read and understand a wide range of texts across the curriculum.
A consistent and rigorous approach to the teaching of phonics is vital to provide children with a solid start to their reading journey. At St. Stephen’s, we follow a DfE approved Systematic Synthetic Phonics programme: Rocket Phonics. Rocket Phonics is designed to teach children how to read through the act of decoding and blending - teaching children how to make links between spoken sounds (phonemes) and the written representation of these sounds (graphemes). Our pupils in Early Years and KS1 have dedicated Rocket Phonics lessons every day. Where pupils in KS2 are identified as needing further support with phonics, they continue to access daily phonics and reading interventions.
Guided Reading lessons
In addition to phonics lessons, pupils in KS1 access daily guided reading lessons. Guided reading lessons are planned to expose pupils to a wide range of literature with a focus on developing their vocabulary, sentence structures, inference skills, comprehension skills and a love of literature. As children move into KS2, reading lessons provide opportunities to further expose children to a wide range of fiction texts, non-fiction texts, video clips, extracts, poems and articles. During these lessons, children are supported to develop their confidence in understanding unknown vocabulary, inferring and deducing ideas beyond the text, linking ideas and identifying themes within and across texts.
Sequences of learning in English are carefully planned to immerse pupils in a wide range of genres and texts, with a focus on developing their reading ability and skills. We use Talk for Writing as an approach to writing within school which provides strong links to our Talk for Reading curriculum. Progression is ensured as objectives are taken from the National Curriculum programmes of study. In these lessons, children are provided with opportunities to apply the skills they have learnt in their reading lessons. During these sessions, we use a carefully selected reading spine to introduce a range of different genres. Our Talk for Reading genres are:
Conquering the Monster Tales
Losing and Finding Tales
Throughout Reception and KS1, all pupils read with a member of staff in a 1:1 setting at least once a week. This provides the teacher with the opportunities to closely assess the skills children are developing and to ensure children are reading books at an appropriate level. Where pupils are identified as needing extra support, these children have access to additional 1:1 sessions. In KS2, where pupils are identified as reading below the expected standard, class teachers/support staff read with those pupils 1:1 at least three times a week.
Reading for Pleasure
As well as wanting our children to be confident readers, we also want to take them on adventures to new worlds, meet a variety of characters and escape into a world of imagination. At St. Stephen’s, we support children to identify books they enjoy through daily reading for pleasure in every class. During these sessions, we use our carefully selected reading spine to introduce a range of different genres. We have a well-equipped ‘Reading Village’ which all children are able to access at least once a week to choose their own texts. We have attractive and inviting story corners, home reading ‘book swap’ boxes and interactive displays in school to promote and foster a love of reading.
Pupils in Reception and KS1 take home a phonics book that has been carefully chosen based on the range of phonemes children have shown a competency in segmenting and blending. This ensures children can read these books at home competently, leading to a more successful and enjoyable experience for all. Children are also provided with a second book each week - again, closely matched to their phonics competency – however this book is one they can share with an adult, to extend their vocabulary and provide a challenge. We also have access to Reading Planet Online, a platform where each child is assigned a third book each week in the form of an online book. This book is shared by the children’s class teacher and is closely matched to their reading level. Children are encouraged to read regularly at home through the use of reading records and incentives.