Our Approach to Phonics, Reading and Writing
“I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book!” J.K. Rowling – author of the Harry Potter series
We want all children at our school to develop a love for reading because once they have achieved that, we believe they can go on to achieve anything! At Tanfield Lea Community Primary School, we encourage reading through:
In School, phonics is based around the DfE’s Letters and Sounds progression. The school has selected the Success for All Phonics scheme (which has been validated by the DfE) as its complete Systematic Synthetic Phonics package. Generally, children will work on: Phases 1 and 2 in Pre-School, Phases 3 and 4 in Reception and Phase 5 and 6 in Year 1. Children who need additional support are given this until they are confident, fluent readers.
Children complete the ‘Phonics Screening Test’ at the end of Year 1. Children who do not pass the test at the end of Year 1 are required to retake this test at the end of Year 2. Children continue to be taught phonics throughout school until they meet the standard. In Key Stage 1, phonic sessions take place daily and children are grouped to take part in activities appropriate to their current stage and needs.
In Key Stage 2, there is a provision of intervention groups for children who are still not secure with Phases 1-6 which focus on recognition of all grapheme / phoneme representations through investigation and developing spelling patterns. Intervention groups will also be supported through Letters and Sounds. In addition to this, some children from Y1-3 complete activities on ‘Nessy’ which is a computer-based reading software designed to improve their spelling and reading skills. Further ‘Nessy’ intervention is provided in Years4-6 to support targeted children.
2) A Whole-School Approach to Developing Readers and Writers
A Reading Spine of Quality Texts
A reading spine of quality texts read throughout their time in Tanfield Lea Primary School ranges from picture books to longer, more challenging novels. These texts may be read to the children, read together, or read independently. The books will often be a stimulus for writing, guided reading discussions or just read for pleasure. Our Early Years team are currently developing the ‘dialogic reading’ approach to develop children’s receptive language skills, which has been shared with parents to support them when reading with their children.
Throughout Key Stage 2, dedicated guided reading sessions provide a range of texts and activities for children to develop their understanding across the 8 reading content domains for Key Stage 2. These sessions provide a mixture of one to one reading, small group reading and whole class activities.
A Talk for Writing Approach in English
In tandem with the reading spine, many texts covered use a Talk for Writing approach to teaching reading and writing. Talk for Writing is a powerful tool for learning because it enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally before reading and analysing it and then writing their own version.
The three stages of a Talk for Writing approach are as follows:
- Imitation – Children learn to retell a text with confidence to support their understanding of topic or genre-specific language. By internalising the pattern and language of the text they become aware of its structure. This is supported by sharing a story or text map.
- Innovation – Children work together as a class and are given the opportunity to change elements of the text following the same pattern and structure of the original text. They are given opportunities to discuss, share and magpie ideas with their peers. Changes could include a change of character, choice of adjectives or small changes to a plot. Alterations to the original text map are made so that children can see the process clearly.
- Independent application – The internalised pattern and language of the original text and experience of altering the text as within the innovation stage, provides the children with the experience and confidence of creating their own masterpiece. This final stage encourages children to plan their own piece of writing by creating their own text maps before applying it to written work.
3) Individual Reading
In line with the school motto, ‘Opening Doors, Enriching Lives’, we believe that reading is a life-enriching pleasure established in childhood. J.K. Rowling sums it up perfectly above and we achieve this through:
Upper and School have well-stocked, attractive, heavily-used libraries with a range of fiction and non-fiction texts.
Children are encouraged to read at school and at home. We ask that parents read with or listen to their children read at least 3 times a week, discuss their texts and record this in their organiser.
Here are some good questions for parents to ask:
Bug Club in EY and KS1
Throughout EY and KS1, children will have access to Bug Club books which will support their development in phonics and reading. As well as this, children will have individual logins allowing them to access reading resources at home. These interactive resources provide questions for the children to answer to support their understanding of the text.
Accelerated Reader (A.R.) in KS2
To help develop and encourage reading across Key Stage 2, children access Accelerated Reader (which involves reading levelled texts then completing a comprehension quiz). Children who show effort in their reading then help to select new resources for the school library through a visit to Waterstones; they also encourage other readers through the sharing of book reviews.
The children in years 3 – 6 all regularly borrow books from the library, take quizzes on them and progress through the reading scheme.
The school’s Accelerated Reader site can be found here.
The A.R. Process explained for parents
- The children all take a reading test to determine their reading level at the beginning of each year. This is recorded in the child’s organiser.
- They are then given a ‘reading range’ and this tells them the area of the library that they can borrow books from. Example Range: 3.1 – 4.2. These numbers are sometimes called the Book Level. A useful site is: http://www.arbookfind.co.uk/UserType.aspx where you can browse for books and their Book Level (marked as BL). The range given is matched to their reading ability so that they choose books that they can read comfortably (at the lower end of the range) or provide more of a challenge (at the top of the range).
- Once they have finished a book, children do a quiz on it on the AR website: https://ukhosted27.renlearn.co.uk/2235628 .When they are regularly passing quizzes for the level they are on, the teacher gives them permission to move up a level
- Recognition assemblies are used to recognise the effort made by individuals and classes. At the end of the term, teachers choose children who have made particular effort to visit Waterstones and select books for the class library.
We place a high emphasis on reading at the school and want to children to love books!
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
At Tanfield Lea Community Primary School, we believe that inclusive education means providing all pupils with appropriate education and support alongside their peers. The Curriculum is all the planned activities that the school organises in order to promote learning, personal growth and development. Further information can be found in the SEN Information Report. If you would like to discuss your SEND requirements in detail please contact the school to arrange an appointment.
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