Phonics and Early Reading
Reading is fundamental to education. Proficiency in reading is vital for pupils’ success. Our aim is that by the end of year 6, pupils’ reading should be sufficiently fluent and effortless for them to manage the general demands of the curriculum in year 7, across all subjects and not just in English.
Phonics and Early provide the foundations for achieving this proficiency in reading. Understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words underpins successful word reading.
Roselands and Stafford use the Sounds Write Programme to teach phonics. From the first year of school to Year 6, students learn the concepts necessary for proficient reading and writing. They are introduced to the 175 most common spellings of the 44 sounds in English through a carefully crafted sequence that goes from simple to more complex. They learn and practise the Initial Code to mastery before starting on the Extended Code, and, soon after, the reading and writing of polysyllabic words. You can find out more about the Sounds Writing Programme by visiting https://sounds-write.co.uk/
Word reading and language comprehension require different sorts of teaching. When pupils start learning to read, the number of words they can decode accurately is too limited to broaden their vocabulary. Their understanding of language is developed through their listening and speaking, while they are taught to decode through phonics. However, when they can read most words ‘at a glance’ and can decode unfamiliar words easily, they are free to think about the meaning of what they read. At this point we begin to develop their understanding of language through their reading as well as through their listening.
Pupils complete the Sounds Write Programme by Year 3 Term 3 and it is expected at this point that they have mastered the phonics curriculum. Any gaps in their knowledge will continue to remain a focus until they have mastered all aspects of the curriculum.
From Year 2 – Year 6 we begin to track and focus on fluent decoding, which allows the pupils to understand what they read. Because the reader has gained accuracy and automaticity in word reading, the brain’s resources are available to focus on lifting the meaning from the page: connecting the words and sentences, and making connections across the text. As pupils gain fluency, their motivation increases: they start to enjoy reading more and are willing to do more of it. Targeted support is provided for those pupils who are not at their age related fluency level.
The explicit teaching of reading takes place for pupils who can decode well; effective teaching supports pupils to develop as readers through:
- Introducing a wide range of literature and non-fiction that they could not or might not choose to read independently
- Explanations, modelling and support from the teacher for different aspects of reading, including fluency
- Allowing pupils to think deeply and discuss a range of rich and challenging texts
Reading across the curriculum supports the knowledge and vocabulary to be learnt in each subject. Carefully chosen texts provide opportunities to read widely across all areas of the curriculum. Texts are accessible and written at an age-appropriate interest level to encourage pupils to learn more about a subject.
The Department for Education (DFE) have published a comprehensive document The Reading Framework 2023 to support schools with the teaching of reading. This document explains the pedagogy behind each aspect of the teaching of reading and is well worth reading
Developing a love of reading
Alongside the mechanics of teaching pupils to read is the intent to promote lifelong readers, pupils who want to read for pleasure. Roselands and Stafford culture values and supports reading for pleasure by providing:
- Adults reading aloud regularly, including in class
- Informal book talk, including recommendations from peers and adults
- Encouraging Reading Cafe and book corner use, including the local public library
- Providing time to read daily
- Sociable reading environments, reading together and sharing books
Working collaboratively to inspire learners to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and values required for lifelong learning and to be successful, active members of the Trust and wider community.