The Teaching of Phonics & Reading
At St Gregory’s School, our aim is to foster a whole school reading culture and to nurture in our community, a love of reading from a variety of genres and traditions. Our pupils will read confidently, fluently, accurately and with understanding. They will develop an interest in words and their meanings and encourage children to develop an interest in learning new vocabulary. We aim to expose our pupils to a wide range of reading material and a variety of reading experiences to enhance their cultural capital. Adults in our school lead by example, modelling enthusiasm for and engagement with books.
When our children leave Year 6 we expect them to be fluent and avid readers. Children will read widely with a thirst for reading a range of different genres and text types, including poetry. Children will be able to express their opinions and use reading to confidently access all areas of the curriculum.
Phonics is our priority in teaching children how to read and is taught daily in Reception and KS1. We follow the Systematic Synthetic Phonics programme ‘Floppy’s Phonics’ where the whole class are taught the same ‘reading code’ together and pupils receive additional intervention as required. The new code that children are taught will be kept in a phonics folder to be practised at home and at school. Children are routinely assessed on their ability to recognise graphemes and to blend and segment phonemes, as well as their ability to use phonemes to read captions and sentences.
At St Gregory’s we follow the National Curriculum objectives for reading. In Early Years and KS1, our guided reading is closely matched to the phonic skills of our developing readers. Where children are still learning new phonemes and practising decoding, this is the main objective of reading sessions. Texts are carefully chosen to support this. Children are exposed to fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts in a wide range of genres to develop their understanding and enjoyment of reading.
Floppy’s Phonics works alongside our reading scheme from Oxford Reading Tree which runs throughout the school. In KS2, whole class reading sessions are planned, often based around a class reading book. We focus upon VIPERS skills to deliver reading comprehension teaching and to assess reading skills. In KS2 pupils have access to Reading Plus – an online, bespoke reading intervention, which tailors itself to the needs of each individual. A number of pupils in KS1 and KS2 have access to Lexia Core 5 – an intervention aimed at developing phonic knowledge and strength in both reading and writing skills.
Our staff regularly listen to children read and this forms part of an ongoing reading assessment. All children have the opportunity to visit the school library to select reading material from a wide range of up to date, good quality fiction and non-fiction texts and poetry.
Reading at Home
We ask parents and carers to hear their children read as often as possible and at least three times a week. Each child has a reading diary which provides a link between home and school and is taken home every day. Regular practice allows children to develop their reading skills and to broaden their vocabulary. Each child will bring home two reading books – In KS1, one will be matched to the phonic code they have been learning and one will be a ‘free’ choice from the library. In Year 2 and KS2, one book will be selected from our reading scheme and a second will be a free choice from the library. Where children have finished the reading scheme, a library book will be brought home and Reading Plus will provide a range of online reading material from a variety of genres and tailored to the child’s ability.