Reading and Phonics
Reading for pleasure
At Bournville Village Primary School, reading and high quality literature is at the heart of everything we do;
we aim for all pupils at Bournville Village Primary School to develop a life-long love of reading. The first step to achieving this is igniting a child's interest through reading for pleasure.
Reading for pleasure is time in addition to the daily English lessons when our children have the opportunity to enjoy reading. This includes daily story time, regular visits to our school library and independent reading. Daily story time is timetabled and teachers will spend time reading aloud to the children; this could be a class novel, a poem or an information text. Being read to helps to extend children’s vocabulary and comprehension, as well as support their writing. We want our children to enjoy reading a wide range of texts and be able to talk about the text and the author with passion and confidence.
Our well-stocked school library is a welcoming place which our pupils visit regularly. Pupils use their library visits to select and borrow books, share a recommendation with a friend but most of all, to enjoy some dedicated time to enjoy a good book.
CLPE’s Power of Reading provides teachers with support for planning stimulating teaching sequences (www.CLPE.org.uk); see more about this on our English curriculum page.
The classrooms reflect the importance we put on reading too. Our class libraries include texts linked to our curriculum topics, display our author of the moment and share and recommend some of our favourite reads.
Mrs Williams and teachers in school have put together lists of their favourite books which have been collated into year group book lists in our virtual book shop (run in collaboration with The Bookshop on the Green). Every time one of these books are sold, we earn a little bit of commission to put towards buying even more books for our wonderful library in school.
Click on the image to visit our virtual book shop:
Thank you to The Bookshop on the Green for making this possible.
The teaching of reading begins in Reception with a focus on the development of early reading skills with daily story time with teachers and children sharing books, both with and without words. This allows our children to develop an understanding of story structures and comprehension skills before focusing on decoding words. Steps in to reading focus on wordless books, allowing our children to develop their own story ideas by using both their imagination and decoding skills to decide on the narrative which matches the images. Following this, we further develop our children's reading skills through identifying and distinguishing between sounds or phonemes using Phonics.
Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language.
Written language can be compared to a code, so knowing the sounds of individual letters and how those letters sound when they’re combined will help children decode words as they read. Understanding phonics will also help children know which letters to use when they are writing words.
"Phonics is making connections between the sounds of our spoken words and the letters that are used to write them down."
At Bournville Village Primary, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.
As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. We also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.
Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1
- Lessons in Reception and Year 1 are twice daily. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.
- Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins early in the Autumn term.
- We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress:
- Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
- Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.
- Any child who needs additional practice has daily 'Keep-up' support. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.
Teaching reading in Reception and Key Stage 1
Reading practice sessions:
- We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. These:
- are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children
- use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids
- are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.
- Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:
- prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
- comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.
Teaching reading in Key Stage 2
Once children have moved beyond phonics and into Key Stage 2, the teaching of reading builds on the foundations laid in Reception and Key Stage 1.
Reading practice sessions:
The teaching of reading in Key Stage 2 comes through daily reading practice sessions in which, we continue to focus upon the key skills of decoding, prosody and comprehension. Across the course of a week the reading practice sessions in KS2 will include:
- Fluency practice
- Repeated oral reading
- Decoding and comprehension of vocabulary
- Extended reading
The Power of Reading
The Power of Reading is CLPE’s proven resource and training programme which uses quality children’s literature and creative teaching approaches to support schools to develop a high quality literacy curriculum and foster a whole school love of reading and writing. More information on our English curriculum here.
Key Stage 1
Your child will be given a Collins Big Cat decodable reading practice book which are organised into colour bands and carefully matched to your child's phonics ability; this means that they are equipped with the phonemes and tricky words to help them decode and read the text within the book. Reading deliberately patterned, simple, repetitive grammatical structures create both confidence and success. Children then progress through the Collins Big Cat book bands as their phonological awareness grows and develops.
Key Stage 2
Once children move beyond phonics and into Key Stage 2, children will be provided with levelled books to match their reading fluency (assessed termly) with the ultimate aim that children will transition onto being a 'free choice' reader, having all the skills needed to tackle more challenging texts.
Reading practise at home
Each week, your child will bring home:
• a reading practice book matched to the child’s phonic stage that they can read independently
• a sharing book that they can talk about and enjoy with their parent/carer.
The reading practice book
Parents/carers play a vital role in supporting the teaching of reading. It is important that children have plenty of practice reading at home in order to become fluent, confident readers. Parents’ or carers’ support is needed to help their child practise reading and develop fluency with a book they have already read at school. This book will be matched to their phonic stage and be fully decodable. To ensure that reading at home is an enjoyable experience and does not feel like a chore, we will send home reading practice books in which the child can read 95% of the words.
The children should be able to read the practice book with developing confidence and fluency without any significant help. The parent/carer’s role is to listen with interest and, most importantly, to encourage and praise, enthusiastically acknowledging the child’s achievement (even if, at the early stages, this is only small). After the child has read the book, it may be helpful to talk about the book, but only so far as the child is interested.
The sharing book
If children are to become lifelong readers, it is essential that they are encouraged to read for pleasure. The desire of wanting to read will help with the skill of reading. To help foster a love of reading, children should take a book home that they can share and enjoy with their parent/carer. Involving the children in the choice of this book is important. These books offer a wealth of opportunities for talking about the pictures and enjoying the story. It is important to offer a variety of books, including non-fiction, so they can enjoy a range of writing. We do not expect a child to read this book independently. The book is for the parent/carer to read to or with the child. The goal here is enjoyment.
The Reading Diary
Your child will also bring home a reading diary; these are used by teachers to record any notes about your child's reading or by the children themselves to review the book or to record any reflections. We particularly encourage our children to develop independence in recording their own reading reflections as they move through KS2.
We also ask for parents to use the reading diaries to record following any reading you do with them at home, whether this be the reading practice book, the sharing book or any other books you may share.
The Phonics Screening test
During the Summer term in Year 1, children nationwide are tested on their phonic knowledge. This test helps us to identify children who have gaps in their phonic knowledge and may need further support in Year 2. The test is low-key and we endeavour to make it stress-free for the children. Essentially, the children are asked to read 40 words from a list, using their phonics to ‘sound out’ the word and then blend it if they need to. Parents are informed as to whether their child has achieved the national expectation within the child’s end-of-year report. Our most recent pass rate was well above the national average.