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Teaching of Reading

At Parochial, we promote confidence, resilience, and perseverance so that our children can overcome their reading challenges. We are equipping our children with strategies to help them become independent readers and writers, which is vital for each child’s future academic achievement, wellbeing and success in life. Becoming a confident reader raises a child’s potential and can support them in overcoming any early life disadvantage. Instilling a love of reading early on gives a child a head start on expanding their vocabulary and building independence and self-confidence, and opens up the world of lifelong learning. It helps children learn to make sense not only of the world around them but also people, building social-emotional skills and of course, imagination.

The first stages of helping a child to love reading, is to help them to feel successful. We achieve this through our carefully designed programme of phonics which is matched to the children’s stage of learning. We also want children to enjoy the texts they encounter, so alongside our phonically matched books, we also ensure children are regularly exposed to good quality and engaging books at home and in the classroom.

By the completion of their Primary Education we aim for children to be able to:

  • read and write with confidence, fluency and understanding, orchestrating a range of independent strategies to self-monitor and correct.
  • have an interest in books and read for enjoyment
  • have an interest in words, their meanings; developing a growing vocabulary in spoken and written forms.
  • understand a range of text types and genres
  • be developing the powers of imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness.
  • have a suitable technical vocabulary to articulate their responses.
Teaching of Phonics
Book language, high quality dialogue, story telling and consolidation of early phonics happens as soon as the children start Reception. Once these building blocks to phonics and early reading are secure we move on to formal Phase 2 phonics teaching. Phonics is taught on a daily basis in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One, and continues to be taught daily wherever children require further support in moving successfully through the phases of our systematic programme. We have developed a systematic phonic scheme based on best practice, which meets the needs of our children and leads to increasingly independent and confident readers and writers. The program incorporates elements of Jolly Phonics with some aspects of Letters and Sounds. Our practice is developed from the methods used by Ann Smalberger. The school system is rigorous and pacey. Every member of staff who uses it has been trained and adheres to the system. At Parochial we are determined that every pupil will learn to read, prioritising reading as a foundation for future learning, and enabling children to access the rest of the curriculum and avoid falling behind. A high degree of fidelity is seen between phonic ability, instruction, guided reading sessions and the home reading book. Our staff are supported in matching texts to the child’s stage of phonic development. Our books are organised and labelled to match our programme of phonics, followed by a carefully banded system of ‘real’ and scheme books to ensure ongoing reading progress throughout KS2.
Guided Reading for Early Readers
Our guided reading is closely matched to the phonic skills of our developing readers. Where children are still learning new phonemes and practicing decoding, this is the main objective of guided reading sessions. Texts are carefully chosen to support this. However, even at this early stage children are also taught concepts about print in order to support them in their cross checking strategies and to develop an expectation of understanding. Where a child struggles to use phonemic knowledge as their primary decoding strategy, additional support will be given. If this continues and the child does not pass their phonic check, Reading Partnerships (based on Marie Clay’s Reading Recovery) will be provided alongside phonic support.

KS1 and 2 Reading Scheme
Independent reading sessions are a feature of every year group, during which children are permitted to select from a wide range of good quality, appealing fiction and non-fiction texts. It is linked to our Home Reading, which is in place throughout the school up to Year 6. Children select their reading book (often with guidance) from within the band they are currently working at. The books are banded up to Year 6 expectations in order to ensure that each child takes home a book which they can read with more than 90% accuracy, to give enough room for instruction while still providing the child with success and enjoyment. Children are given the chance to read or talk about their home reading book with a teacher or teaching assistant regularly (they will have a reading day). Their band is reviewed regularly to avoid slowing the child’s progress or presenting too great a challenge.

Our banded books are taken from our original reading scheme, the Oxford Reading Tree, which has been supplemented with additional ORT phonics sets, Rigby Star and Rigby Star phonics, Bug Club from Pearson and Big Cat from Collins. The scheme also includes a large number of good quality, banded ‘real’ books. Older, struggling readers have access to Project X reading books from Oxford and we also have the Fast Forward scheme. Our books are banded in accordance with guidance from the Institute of Education’s publication “Book Bands for Guided Reading”, produced by the UK Reading Recovery Network.

In addition to home and 1:1 reading, pupils also receive reading instruction in small groups or whole class reading sessions. You can find out more about the delivery of our reading instruction in our English Policy.
Love of Reading
In addition to the teaching of reading, we feel that a crucial part of children’s entitlement is to leave primary school with a love of reading. In order to help to embed a love of stories, our teachers have chosen books for their novel studies in English and for their book corners especially to engage and excite the children in their class. We have a dedicated ‘3 o’clock stop’ for reading the class story book at least three times each week, which in most cases is a book that the children have helped to select. Additionally, we encourage parents to share stories with their children over and above hearing them read their reading book. We call this our ‘Love of Reading’ initiative, and you can find out more about it here: Love of Reading 

If you have any concerns about your child’s reading or the way that our reading scheme works, please feel free to come and have a chat with your child’s class teacher or with Mrs Walton, our English subject leader, or Mrs Jackson, our Early Reading Lead.