Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible regardless of background, needs or abilities. Children are immersed in books from the moment they enter school and reading is at the heart of our curriculum. We are dedicated to enabling children to become lifelong readers. We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure that children develop a love of reading as well as simply learning to read.
We use the Read, Write Inc. Phonics Scheme (RWI) to teach reading. In Nursery our children develop a love of reading through enticing story and poetry times. Children are immersed in role play, discussion, building sentences and rich vocabulary. Children are taught to say the sounds of letters with the help of RWI mnemonics. All children have a four phonics lessons a week. Home reading books are progressive and sequenced and are part of the RWI Phonics Scheme, moving on to carefully selected book-banded books. During daily story times our fantastic staff create a love of reading by reading aloud a range of stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction that develop children’s vocabulary and language comprehension.
Teachers at Chadsmead Primary Academy have a clear understanding of how pupils learn to read. All staff have been trained to deliver Read, Write Inc. During RWI phonics lessons children learn to read accurately and fluently with increasing comprehension. Children rapidly learn sounds and the letter, or groups of letters they need to represent them in the speed sounds lessons. Simple and enjoyable mnemonics help all children to grasp the letter-sound correspondences quickly. This learning is taught and consolidated every day. High frequency words that are not phonically regular are taught as ‘tricky words’ (we call them Red Words) and are practised frequently.
Phonics books are closely matched to children’s increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words so that early on children experience plenty of success. Repeated readings of the text support their increasingly fluent decoding. Children read the story three times. On the first read children focus on accurate word reading, the second on developing fluency and the third on comprehension. Fluency and comprehension increase with each repeated reading.
Children are assessed and grouped according to their phonic knowledge by the Phonics Lead. Children are then re-assessed every six to eight weeks. Ongoing assessment means that groups can be adjusted to ensure the best possible progress for each child. Each child reads books that best matches their phonic knowledge. Assessment quickly identifies any child who is falling behind the programme’s pace so that targeted support can be given immediately.
Children in Reception and KS1 are split across the Key Stage and are grouped according to their assessment. Children usually work through the scheme by the end of Year One or at the end of the first term in Year Two. Children then move onto whole class reading (Accelerated Reader).
We value support in reading from our parents. Reading books are sent home when children are beginning to blend and are closely matched to children’s developing phonic knowledge. Children begin by following the RWI scheme and then move on to book banded books. RWI Book Bag Books are changed weekly.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for all children to make sufficient progress to meet or exceed age related expectations and become readers by the end of Key Stage One. The children read books in line with their phonics knowledge. Children can then focus on developing fluency and comprehension throughout the school. Embedding the alphabetic code early on means that children quickly learn to write simple words and sentences. Attainment in phonics is measured by the phonics screen Test at the end of Year 1 and ongoing assessment throughout the Read, Write, Inc programme.
We use pure sounds (‘m’ not’ muh’,’s’ not ‘suh’, etc.) so that your child will be able to blend the sounds into words more easily.
At school we use a puppet called Fred who is an expert on sounding out words! We call it, ‘Fred Talk’. E.g. m-o-p, c-a-t, m-a-n, sh-o-p, b-l-a-ck. When children can blend in their head (without sounding out each letter) we say they can 'Fred in their head'!
During the Summer term in Year 1, children nationwide are tested on their phonic knowledge. This test helps us to identify children who have gaps in their phonic knowledge and may need further support in Year 2. The test is low-key and we endeavour to make it stress-free for the children. Essentially, the children are asked to read 40 words from a list, using their phonics to ‘sound out’ the word and then blend it if they need to. Parents are informed as to whether their child has achieved the national expectation within the child’s end-of-year report.