How do we teach reading at Parsons Heath C of E Primary School?
We use a structured systematic approach to teaching phonics which begins in Foundation Stage. Children begin by learning sets of lower case letters by ‘sound’ and build on this until they are confident to use all representations of sounds outlined in the ‘Letters and Sounds’ scheme produced by the Department for Education. Throughout Key Stage One, children participate in daily phonic sessions. These can be as part of a whole class or in some circumstances as part of a small group. Any children in the school who are identified as needing further support with their phonics are then given extra teaching in groups or on an individual basis.
Phonics is taught in a variety of interactive ways. Children enjoy using games and ICT to enhance their phonetic understanding and ‘Phonics Bugs’ books are used to consolidate their learning. Children are also given a ‘Phonics booklet’ to take home so that parents can support their child’s learning at home.
We also teach the ‘Tricky words’ identified in the ‘Letters and Sounds Scheme’ and High Frequency words, that are not decodable using phonics. This is done through the use of flashcards, reading books and a variety of games.
The main reading schemes used in school are Oxford Reading Tree and Collins Big Cat. These are supplemented by a broader range of books which are organised using the national book banding system to ensure successful progression. In Key Stage 1, the children are also given the opportunity to select books to take home from a supplementary selection to promote enjoyment of reading.
Throughout the school, children are heard read individually at least twice a week. A teacher will hear them read every week and another adult in school will then hear them read for a second time. For those children who are identified as needing further support, they will be heard to read on a more regular basis. Reading is valued highly in the school and a successful Reading Reward Scheme is in operation. Children are rewarded for reading at home and work towards gaining certificates that are presented in assembly.
Throughout the school, children take part in regular Guided Reading sessions where they will read with a teacher or teaching assistant as part of a small group. These groups are organized according to ability and focus on comprehension and inference skills. In Foundation Stage, these Guided Reading sessions start from the Summer Term.
Teachers carry out ongoing assessments and use these to ensure that children are reading books of an appropriate level. The assessments also inform teachers so that learning focuses in the Guided Reading sessions enable children to make maximum progress in their reading.