Approach to Reading and Phonics

Our approach to the teaching of English, including Reading

Language is the major means by which we think and communicate.  It is the tool we use in every area of the curriculum.

Listening skills are essential if a child is to make optimum progress in other areas of language:  speaking, reading and writing.  Children need to be competent in the skills of verbal communication. Speaking and Listening skills are an essential foundation for reading and writing.

Children begin to read using phonics and a developing knowledge of ‘tricky words’. We endeavour to instil a lifelong love of reading in our children and we expect them to take books home so that they can share that pleasure with an adult. The books children take home will consist of a book linked to their reading progress and phonics exposure, and another book to share with an adult linked to age-appropriate interests and content. The books in our reading scheme and which teachers use in class are chosen for their level of challenge, links to the wider curriculum, important themes and their cultural capital. Children are also taught how to use books to research information, and an acquisition of study skills is an essential element in the projects we teach. Pupils receive direct teaching of new vocabulary to support their understanding in reading and to use across the rest of the curriculum. They are taught how to give a clear answer to a question relating to a book, including how to retrieve information and how to infer meaning.


The National Curriculum 2014

The National Curriculum consists of four strands: 1) Spoken Language 2) Reading  3)Writing and  4)Spelling, Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation. Whilst keeping the curriculum we provide under review, the school aims to teach to, and plan appropriately for, our children’s needs. The National Curriculum allows for children to develop skills in interpreting the meaning of a whole variety of texts: children learn to pick up on implied meaning and identify writing techniques that they can apply in their own writing, not just the literal meaning. The children are then encouraged to use these skills in their own learning.


Our approach to the teaching of Phonics

The teaching of Phonics is an integral part of the curriculum in both the Foundation and Key Stage 1 classrooms.

We follow the National phonics programme, ‘Letters and Sounds’ (supplemented by Phonics Play and Jolly Phonics) where children are taught the 44 phonemes that make up all the sounds required for reading and spelling.  These phonemes include those made by just one letter and those that are made by two or more.  As the children grow in confidence and experience, they are introduced to alternative ways of representing the same sound, eg ‘ee’ can be represented as ‘ee’, ‘ea’, ‘e-e’, ‘e’ …  The teaching of phonics is of high priority to all teachers as it enables pupils to decode for reading and encode for spelling.

We ensure that our teaching of phonics is rigorous, structured and enjoyable.  Children have discrete, daily phonics sessions where they are introduced to new phonemes, can practise and revise previous learning and have plenty of opportunities to apply the knowledge they have.

We use a range of multisensory strategies to enthuse and engage the children, including the use of interactive whiteboards, magnetic letters, speaking and listening, songs, rhymes and practical activities.  Children work with pace and are encouraged to apply their knowledge across the curriculum with any reading or writing activities.

Alongside the teaching of Phonics, children have access to a language rich environment where they are able to apply their decoding skills and develop language comprehension in order to read.

Children progress from our Phonics system to the teaching of spelling through ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ from year 2 onwards, although the skills and knowledge learnt before are still explicitly referred to when looking at spelling rules and patterns, as appropriate.