Reading and Phonics at St James & St John Church of England School
Reading is taught as a basic skill in its own right and is practiced throughout all areas of the curriculum. In the early stages of reading, reading is taught as a discrete subject and is later practiced and enhanced as a lifelong strategy and pleasure. All children are given opportunities to study a range of good quality and interesting fiction and non-fiction texts from a variety of genre. Children will have the opportunity to read ‘real’ books and newspapers, big books, posters, ICT texts and information books.
Phonics is taught using both the Jolly Phonics programme and following Letters and Sounds, a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007.
Letters and Sounds aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting at the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by the age of seven.
In Year 1 the children have to complete the statutory Year 1 Phonics Screening Check. This is a short, light-touch assessment to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard. It will identify the children who need extra help so they are given support by the school to improve their reading skills. They will then be able to retake the check so that we can track pupils until they are able to decode.
Children read daily in school. In Foundation Stage and Key Stage One they read books using the phonics they have learnt as part of their discrete phonic teaching. In addition, teachers hear children read in groups in all years. The group reading books are carefully matched to the children’s reading ability to develop fluency, comprehension and enjoyment of books. Children read widely across different subjects.
Parents are encouraged to support reading at home and children are expected to read daily. The school has a wide range of graded colour coded reading scheme books; these include books from different genres and from a range of different series, including Oxford Reading Tree, project X and Floppy’s Phonics. Continuity is ensured by the colour progression and each child works at an individual pace. Each child has an individual diary where reading is recorded and tracked as a means of communicating development to the child, parent and teacher.
Children are encouraged to read for pleasure. Each classroom has a selection of books that children are able to choose from and they have the opportunity to use the school library and take home books. Teachers also regularly read aloud to the children to give them the opportunity to hear and enjoy longer and more challenging texts.