Reading and Phonics
At Cutnall Green Primary School, we endeavour to ensure Reading is at the heart of everything that we do.
Our primary is to create skilled readers who can reach their full potential in society through their deep understanding of English. By ensuring children are empowered with a wealth of knowledge, we know they will have better chances in future success-for economic gain, opportunities, freedom, and social mobility.
Our Reading curriculum offers ambition and challenge, placing our students’ needs at the heart of it. Children and staff are passionate about reading and this creates a strong culture of reading in school both for pleasure and understanding. We ensure that every child is taught the necessary skills needed to access a range of texts, which in turn ensures they develop enhanced levels of comprehension, grammar and writing consequently enabling children to have the skills and ambition to apply new skills in different contexts to access all curriculum areas and build a lifelong passion for reading and learning.
“Young people who enjoy reading very much are nearly five times as likely to read above the expected level for their age compared with young people who do not enjoy reading at all. – Children’s and Young people’s Reading today” National Literacy trust, 2012.
As soon as pupils start school, children are taught to decode using a systematic synthetic phonics programme that ensures rapid progress. Reading is taught not only in specific reading lessons but across the wider curriculum too. It helps play a key role in ‘knowing more, remembering more and connecting learning.’
We aim to develop a love of reading through adults reading aloud to children across the school community; adults read with enthusiasm and passion and enjoy sharing stories. We celebrate reading within the school environment through collective worship, displays and libraries. Younger pupils are encouraged to regularly read books which are well matched to the sounds they are learning as well as choosing books to share and enjoy at home. Ensuring books are well matched to their phonological development, ensures pupils feel successful as readers and begin to develop and enjoyment of reading.
Our phonics programme, Read, Write, Inc. ensures a progression of word reading systematically from pre-school, and the strategies used to support reading development is interwoven so that pupils can access all curriculum areas; enabling pupils to read like an author or a historian. Regular professional development plays a key role in ensuring adults know how best to support reading across the school and the advice of ‘reading experts’ is readily available. Pupils understand that they use strategies taught in phonics to decode new words but also understand that automatic recognition or reading on sight is their aim. Following regular assessments, additional targeted support is provided for certain pupils, so they can ‘keep up’. By the end of Key Stage One, we aim for all our children to be successful readers.
While phonics and fluency are emphasised in the early teaching of reading, immersive whole-class reading sessions later take precedent. Using quality texts, we aim to provide ambitious models to support reading development and connect learning across the curriculum. Children are exposed to, and actively engage with, high quality language in varying forms in a meaningful, deliberate and engaging ways. Pupils are taught how to infer, predict, clarify, question and summarise their understanding as well as how to understand how an author has used language for effect.
Children will leave Cutnall Green as confident and competent readers. They can recommend books to their peers and have a thirst for reading a wide range of high-quality texts across different genres. They participate in discussions about books and have an established love of reading for life and a passion for lifelong learning.
Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write by developing their phonemic awareness—the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate different sounds used in the English language. Children learn the correspondence between these sounds and the spelling patterns (graphemes) that represent them. At Cutnall Green C of E Primary School, we place a strong emphasis on the teaching of phonics in the early years of reading and writing in order to give all children a solid foundation for learning. Because not all words in the English language comply to the rules of phonics we also teach so-called ‘sight words’ by repetition and retrieval.
The Teaching of Phonics
Phonics lessons at Cutnall Green C of E Primary School are taught daily from Pre-school until children are fluent. The sessions are short, engaging and memorable with an emphasis placed on learning through a practical approach.
The teaching of phonics follows the the Read, Write Inc. scheme. In Pre-school, listening skills are taught, as well as the differentiation between sounds, rhyme and alliteration, and oral blending and segmenting. In Reception, sounds are introduced at a rate of one a day throughout phase 2 and phase 3 during the Autumn and Spring term. Children consolidate these sounds in the Summer term whilst learning to blend the sounds together to read and write words. In Years 1 and 2, the children continue to follow Read, Write Inc scheme, learning alternative spellings of the previously learned sounds and refining their knowledge to become more fluid readers and more accurate spellers.
Practising Phonics at Home
The best phonics resources are ordinary reading books. Alongside the books your child brings home, seek out books that you and your child enjoy reading. Discuss words that present a challenge, breaking them down into their component sounds in order to read them if necessary. Make sure you set aside quiet time for reading and enjoying books together.
In addition to books, your child will bring home packs of words that can be decoded using their phonics knowledge. Practise reading and spelling these words. Play fun games with them such as thinking of words that rhyme. Finally, your child will receive a word fan displaying ‘high-frequency words’ – common words that appear very often in written texts. They are a mixture of decodable words (words that can be sounded out) and sight words/exception words (words in which the English spelling code works in an unusual or uncommon way, which means the words have to be learned and recognised by sight). The expectation is that by the end of Reception, children should be able to read most of these words, and by the end of Year 1 they should be able to spell most of them. Try to practise one word with your child from the list per day.
When children are ready, they will be supported by the Accelerated Reader Programme. Children will complete a half-termly diagnostic assessment which will assign the children with a reading level. Children will then read a book which is closely matched to their reading ability and complete an online, quiz once they have finished the book, which will give them immediate feedback. This quiz will further reinforce whether the child is working within their Zone of Proximal Development.
For more information on Accelerate Reader, please watch this video:
The impact of the reading emphasis and teaching at Cutnall Green Primary will be:
- Fluent readers
- Competent and skilled readers empowered by their knowledge
- High levels of comprehension and vocabulary development
- A fostering of reading for pleasure
- Year 1 Phonic Screening Check pass rates
- High levels of engagement in the books children read
- The ability to read across a range of subjects
We hope that as children move on from Cutnall Green Primary to further their education and learning, that their creativity, passion for Reading and high aspirations, travel with them and continue to grow and develop as they do.