Reading and Phonics
Reading is a huge part of life at Arnot St Mary.We believe reading is one of the best tools we can give to our children in order to shape them into independent, imaginative and life-long learners.
We teach reading, both explicitly, and through our wider curriculum; and we ask our parents/carers to support/partner us in this through reading specifically chosen material with their children.
Phonics and early reading:
Systematic Synthetic Phonics scheme used: Read Write Inc.
Read-Write Inc mission statement- Ruth Miskin Training:
Read Write Inc. programmes work because we get children’s brain ‘COGS’ working.
Everything CONNECTS: children connect sounds with mnemonic pictures; words with their meanings; and stories with the sounds they know. They connect their own experiences to the stories they read and learn to lift the words off the page.
Children learn ONE thing at a time and practise it until it becomes second nature. Interactive practice keeps children focused, and their capacity to learn develops exponentially.
They learn at their GOLDILOCKS spot (not too easy, not too hard) with others at a similar challenge level. No time is wasted.
Children remember what they learn by SAYING it out loud to a partner. If they can’t explain it, the teacher repeats it until they can.
Our Phonics Strategy:
• All children in EYFS and Year 1 participate in a daily RWI lesson. These lessons continue into year 2 and until children are assessed as being ready to move off the RWI scheme. Additional children throughout the school also participate in RWI lessons if they are at an early stage in their learning to read journey and their learning needs indicate participation in systematic synthetic phonics.
• Children take place in 5x full RWI lessons each week.
• Phonic sessions start in EYFS where sounds are introduced with the help of fun phrases. Children blend simple words orally before writing them using 'Fred Talk', extending their skills further by using the 'Hold a sentence' strategy.
• Sessions in Year 1 onwards comprise of three sections: sounds, reading and Get Writing.
• Children are assessed at a minimum half-termly and are grouped accordingly.
• Sessions are rigorous, snappy and successful for all.
• All children take home books to coincide directly with their level of phonic knowledge.
• Children who show a need for additional support are tutored 1:1 during the afternoon sessions. This helps to ensure all children keep up, and don’t have to catch up.
Year 2: bridging the gap
In year 2, when children have worked all the way through the RWI scheme and have a secure phonic understanding, they join the class to be part of a Book Talk session. This is a way of teaching reading which is based around Jane Considine’s approach.
‘Book Talk’ is a systematic way to teach reading strategies across the whole school from Year 2 to Year 6. We use this in year 2 as an effective way to grow ‘thinking readers’. It is underpinned by certain guiding principles, these are outlined below:
• Pupils are organised into reading attainment groups and share a set of the ‘same’ books pitched at their level with appropriate challenge.
• All pupils in the classroom will be accessing narrative, non-fiction or poetry at the same time.
• Pupils will receive a daily 20-30 minute ‘Book Talk’ session and once a week will intensively work with the class teacher for a ‘guided read’
• The session is layered with open-ended whole class questions to tackle different aspects of the curriculum.
• A hallmark of the session is on developing reading for meaning and oral comprehension techniques.
• Book Talk is structured with reasons to read.
• The sessions work best if they operate like conversations about books and ‘hands up’ is not used so there is a natural flow of talk about what they are reading.
• During these sessions the pleasure principle of reading is fostered and highly engaging picture books should be used to heighten engagement and excitement.
• ‘Book Talk’ is sharply focused on reading for meaning, listening to friends read and talking about books.
• During these sessions pupils could be ‘reading around the group’, reading in pairs or reading to themselves as directed by the teacher.
Year 3 & 4: reading in lower key stage 2
In year 3 and 4, we build on the methods used in year 2 by using a combination of Book Talk and specific comprehension skills teaching. We decided to combine these methods in order to develop our children’s independent comprehension skills. By combining them, children get the best of the Book Talk approach (including access to high quality ability-suitable books) and specifically develop their independent comprehension skills. Within all of these sessions, teachers and TAs split their time according to need in the classroom. The lowest 20% of readers are of the highest priority. Within all of these sessions, there is also an increased emphasis on the children being able to first orally rehearse their thinking.
In both year 3 and 4, four days are spent on Book Talk in ability groups, and one is spent on comprehension.
Year 5 & 6: reading in upper key stage 2
In upper key stage 2, we continue to build on the foundations of reading that have been laid lower down the school.
In these year groups, we employ Book Talk and work towards whole class comprehension teaching weeks in Year 6. This approach ensures children have the opportunity to develop their reading skills at their own level alongside enabling every child in the class to access texts they may not be able to access independently. It also allows our children to work collaboratively with others, learning from their peers about how to best structure their book-related thinking and answers. We use the materials above, and text extracts to further improve the children’s comprehension skills- the planning of this is based on Star Reading Assessments and our on-going assessment of the children’s needs.
Reading at home
We expect all children to read regularly at home each week. These reads are noted in children’s reading records. In each class, staff monitor the reading that has happened and employ age-appropriate techniques to help children who struggle to read as often as they should.
Which books do children take home from school?
• If a child is engaged in the RWI scheme they will be provided with a phonics-appropriate book to come home with and practise reading independently.
• Once children finish the RWI scheme, they begin to bring colour-banded books home with them - these too are closely matched to the child’s reading ability and should be independently decodable.
• For children participating in the RWI scheme, a RWI phonics-matched book will be provided.
• All other children will bring home a book from our book banded scheme or depending on reading ability a book from our free reading classroom collection or school library.
Follow link for free e-books to read at home from Oxford Owl at Oxford University
Read Liverpool is a fantastic, FREE website which allows you access thousands of e-books at the touch of a button. All you need is a library card and internet access!
Love Reading for Kids is a website which gives you age and interest-specific book recommendations. You can even download sample extracts!
A great website to help you find a book recommendation. You can also find stories, games,
tips and advice about reading.
Audio stories from the BBC. Lots to listen to and new stories added to each week.
Spellow Library opening hours.