How we prioritise reading
It all starts with phonics
At Roche we feel that reading is the cornerstone to progress in so many aspects of learning. We feel that children must learn to read in order for them to read to learn. The first step on this journey is the systematic learning of phonics. All children must crack the phonics code before they can develop fluency and automaticity as readers.
We teach phonics throughout Foundation Stage, Key stage 1 and this continues in Key stage 2 for those requiring additional support to make progress. Our principle aim for phonics is to develop the skills to read fluently, as well as to build firm foundations of vocabulary.
Progress in phonics is assessed every half term to ensure that children are making expected or better rates of progress. Children who have made expected progress are then moved up to the next group or targeted for extra support. A summative assessment is made in Year 1 (December of Year 2 following pandemic) using the National Phonics Screening Test where children are tested on their phonics ability and their score compared to a National Average. Children who do not attain the expected score retake the assessment at a later date.
We teach phonics through the Read, Write, Inc Programme. Children are assessed every half term and grouped according to their progress. Those who are not making enough progress are immediately put on a catch-up programme to prevent them falling behind.
Children’s reading books are exactly matched to their phonics ability and the content of the phonics lesson that they have each week. This enables children to practice the same sounds at home that they are learning in school. We hold training sessions for parents and carers on how phonics works to develop reading. We have a Parent’s phonics page on our website where they can access videos that compliment the learning that their children are doing in school.
The practice applied in phonics through the Read Write Inc scheme is further developed in Key Stage 2 where we use the Read, Write, Inc Spelling program.
A high proportion of staff are trained in the delivery of Read Write Inc. and school has a phonics leader who coaches and quality assures provision. School uses Development days with representatives from the Kernow English hub to further advance and maximise the impact of phonics teaching at every level.
How we promote a love of reading
Engagement and enjoyment
In Reception class, we value the ‘five-a-day’ read-aloud programme, which sees the children engaging in five texts (stories, narratives and information texts) each day.
This immerses the children in the sounds and experiences of the stories, and is a great precursor to the shared reading initiative we employ in the other classes. It sparks and develops children’s levels of concentration and attainment in reading and writing, as well as their enjoyment and, ultimately, their love of reading!
In response to our evaluation of reading, school developed it’s ‘shared reading’ initiative that sees each class reading three times a week as a group using whole class sets of texts so that every child has a book in their hands enabling the class to read, discuss and enjoy the story or information together, and in particular develop vocabulary. This initiative begins during Year 1 and carries on throughout the school. Each text is carefully chosen and has a meaningful rationale. Texts are chosen to be engaging and enjoyable and ensure that children experience a high quality reading experience. The ‘shared reading’ session is also used for teaching reading. We use a set of generic question categories known as VIPERS to structure the learning and practise of comprehension, inference and retrieval skills and encourage a focus on vocabulary discussion and application. Teachers have developed the questions used for each shared reading text in their class. Our frequent written comprehensions give teachers information on what skills the class have and need in terms of comprehension meaning that they can tailor the VIPERS questions to these domains giving the class opportunities to practise and apply the appropriate knowledge and skills, and ultimately progress.
We make the most of opportunities to read in subject areas such as History. This can be a particularly useful context for reading and sharing non-fiction texts.
Time to read
Whilst we encourage parents to read with their children throughout their time at school, we also commit time in school to read. Firstly, we dedicate time to individual independent reading to promote fluency and engagement, utilising the Accelerated Reader scheme with all children as soon as they complete Read Write Inc phonics. Accelerated reader offers a competitive element to reading, which encourages children to read as much as possible but also as deeply as possible. The Accelerated Reader system enables children to regulate their own progress and push themselves to read and achieve more. It promotes reading for meaning and develops comprehension skills alongside enjoyment and greater engagement in what they are reading. It also gives us clear information to share with parents about their child’s progress.
How we make sure that children make progress in reading
Phonics is taught following the Read Wrie Inc scheme to ensure systematic progression and approaches. This systematic approach starts with sets of sounds then moves on to Ditty books. Children then progress through groups with associated sounds and accurately matched reading books and writing activities.
Phonics lessons follow the same sequence of teach, practise, revise, review and apply each time. Planning includes assessment of the graphemes taught. Phonics progress is assessed every half term to inform progression through the groups and to identify gaps in learning that may need to be met through intervention or additional teaching. School’s phonics lead coordinates and quality assures assessment of phonics.
Phonics is taught every day and children who require it receive additional phonics lessons and intervention form phonics.
The quality and consistency of phonics delivery is monitored by school’s phonics leader every two weeks via a learning walk that includes coaching and feedback. Regular staff meetings are held for all staff who deliver phonics to share good practice, new initiatives and coaching points.
In Shared reading the VIPERS approach to teaching reading is applied from Year 1 to Year 6. The consistent focus on 6 areas of learning in reading leads to consistency. Regular assessment through comprehension indicates strengths and areas for development within these 6 areas and informs teachers planning of learning of reading;
School uses Accelerated Reader to structure progress in reading beyond phonics. As soon as children have completed the levels of RWI they go on to Accelerated Reader. Children are assessed using a baseline test to establish a starting point. They then read books and complete quizzes online. The quiz scores indicate the child’s level of comprehension and when a child is confidently and consistently attaining 80% in all quizzes they are reassessed and moved up to the next level of books. Library books are classified within ranges that correspond with reading levels. In this way children can choose books from within a specified range ensuring that they match ability whilst still providing practise and challenge. School has found that children enjoy the independence of this structure as well as the sense of competition and self-regulation in understanding their own progress through levels. Progress is monitored in each class to ensure good rates of progress for all children. Children have a daily opportunity to read their independent books in class as part of the curriculum.
How we support children who need to catch up
There are a number of reasons and factors that result in children needing to catch up with their peers in areas of learning. School employs a range of strategies to assist children in catching up and making expected or better progress.
Support is firmly based upon assessment of need so is derived from the outcome of teacher assessments and tests. School endeavours to make these assessments as diagnostic as possible in order to target the exact areas of learning to enable a child to catch up.
All children start phonics in Reception class at the same level and are then differentiated in to levelled groups as they progress. Individual assessment indicates the sounds they know and the sounds that they are struggling to learn. From this, the teacher can plan for small groups or individuals to have extra lessons in phonics or interventions to fill the gaps. Re-assessment at each half termly interval means that all children who are doing phonics are closely monitored and can move up and down the grouping system to match their rates of progress and learning. Occasionally, a child will struggle over a period of time and require a greater frequency of intervention than their peers to make progress. Where required, the intervention may continue throughout EYFS and Key stage 1. These children typically may not pass the Year 1 phonics assessment but pass the retake assessment at the end of Year 2. They needed an extra year.
For a small number of children, intervention to make progress in learning to read may carry on in to Key stage 2. Until children can decode to read effectively, they will always struggle to make academic progress so support is maintained. In some instances, they may have mastered decoding but still require support and additional practice to gain fluency and speed in reading. School continues to use Read Write Inc to structure support as a familiar system but will also use intervention strategies such as precision teaching.
How we train staff as reading experts
All teaching and support staff in EYFS and Key stage 1 are trained to deliver Read Write Inc. In addition to this, a number of staff in Key stage 2 are also trained as they deliver the program as an intervention. School uses face to face and online training resources to deliver intervention. School invests in development days where the Read Write Inc team from the Cornwall English hub visit school to quality assure provision, coach staff and assist with planning and development. School has its own phonics leader who coaches and quality assures provision in all areas of phonics.
School developed its Shared Reading approach based on research and pilot schemes run in-house. Shared reading is quality assured by our English leader and teachers watch each other delivering Shared Reading in order to share good practice. A number of HLTAs are also able to deliver Shared Reading sessions. Teachers have been trained to use assessment information from comprehension activities to identify the content domain that children are struggling with and adapt their future plans for the teaching of reading to address the domain content.
Carefully planned opportunities to embed writing run throughout our curriculum. Writing may derive from study in the wider curriculum for example in History, it may be linked throughout a unit to the shared reading text in class. We look for realistic contexts for writing that will have relevance for children.
We have worked hard at Roche to develop a rich and robust curriculum, which is committed to opportunities for progression and consolidation, primarily based upon our ‘drafting and enhancing’ programme. This programme champions the idea of fluency of writing, as well as development, as does our ‘writing conferencing’ initiative, which sees pupils working one to one, or in small groups, with their teacher to address the areas that are pertinent to them.
We want children take ownership over the improvement of their writing and understand the components of vocabulary, punctuation and grammar that will give them increasing levels of control over how and what they communicate when they write.
Targeted academic support for reading and writing
Whilst our emphasis is on quality first teaching, we know that in some cases our curriculum needs to include opportunity for targeted academic support to enable children to make accelerated progress. This is particularly relevant following the pandemic which has impacted negatively on the progress of many children. School has adopted the Education Endowment Foundation’s tiered approach to School Development Planning and placed emphasis on targeted support in phonics, reading and writing. This may be in the form of; additional phonics for a group as well as 1:1 intervention, writing conferencing led by class teachers as well as school’s designated writing conference teacher, additional reading comprehension activities in groups or in 1:1 scenarios and precision teaching for phonics or spelling. These activities will be part of the curriculum in all classes to ensure that all identified children will receive additional targeted support. In 2021/22 our overarching School Development focus in tier 1 is on the development of diagnostic assessment to sharpen the curriculum content for all as well as identification of specific learning needs ensuring that provision is accurately targeted.