English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.
At Wellington, we believe that reading is integral to a child’s understanding and appreciation of the world around them. We strongly believe that all of our learners should leave our school as fluent, confident readers. Reading helps to develop the vocabulary our students need to effectively express themselves as well as providing a wider background knowledge of the world around them.
We focus on reading as a concept that is dependent on many interwoven strands – the ability to decode, to understand vocabulary, to understand background knowledge, to comprehend language and to understand text structure. Alongside a focus on decoding, we also aim for our students to become fluent, accurate and expressive readers. We do this by modelling fluency and expression and giving them the chance to practise rereading familiar texts to build their own prosody. We model and teach the skills and strategies that our students will need to comprehend texts, such as the ability to understand a text, retrieve information from a text, make inferences about what is read and summarise the main points of a text.
We seek to promote a love of reading in our students by sharing with them a range of texts. Our reading curriculum strives to foster a lifelong love of reading. We recognise the importance of parents and carers in supporting their children with reading so we endeavour to build a home-school partnership which enables parents and carers to have the confidence to support their children with reading.
Across EYFS and Key Stage 1, we have been following the Letters and Sounds phonics programme. However, in accordance with the latest DfE advice and after significant research into finding the best validated Systematic Synthetic Phonics scheme (SSP) to meet the needs of our children, as a school we have chosen ‘Little Wandle: Letters and Sounds (Revised)’.
We start this approach in Nursery and Reception which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. In Nursery, we explore the seven aspects of Phase 1 phonics, which develop children’s speaking and listening skills, laying the foundation for the start of phonics lessons in Reception. Here, children learn the letter sounds in Phase 2 and 3, segmenting and blending words in order to read, then encountering Phase 4 (longer words) later in the year. Alongside this, they practice forming the letters, gaining confidence writing words, simple captions and then short sentences. Children also regularly read decodable books aligned with their phonic knowledge to an adult to apply their learning and take these books home to practice. Once in KS1 the children develop their phonics skills further as they move onto Phases 5 and 6.
The aim is for our all of our children to be able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. Alongside this the children are taught the ‘tricky words’ – high frequency words which do not follow the regular phonetic pattern.
Discreet phonic sessions take place daily for 20 – 25 minutes and are generally taught as a whole class, though some children do work in separate groups in order to best tailor the teaching to their gaps. Children who are working below the age expected progression guidelines for their year group are further targeted in additional phonics interventions called Keep-Up sessions throughout the day.
Reading into Writing
Guided group reading sessions linked to the Little Wandle scheme take place 2-3 times a week in Reception Class, Year 1 and Year 2. Children are assessed every half-term and placed into small groups where they read a book matched to their phonic ability. Every reading group has an adult leading the group. In Year 1, there are 3 reading sessions per week. In Year 2, there are 2 reading sessions per week. Each session is 20-25 minutes. Each session is structured in a consistent way –every session starts off using the flash cards appropriate for the group. Each lesson has a specific focus (decoding, prosody / text expose and comprehension). Year 2 combine session 2 and session 3.
Quality texts are selected for study across both key stages based upon richness of language, engagement of readers and wider curriculum links.
These texts are explored through English lessons and used to feed into writing sessions. English units of work are divided into phases: the Reading Phase, Toolkit Phase and Writing Phase. During the Reading Phase, children dig deeper into a text, exploring characters’ motivations and feelings, making predictions, summarising main points and analysing features.
As part of the English teaching sequence, each week children are also taught to respond to texts through work on comprehension. During these sessions, the teacher models how to answer different question types and to look for evidence in the text. Children are then given the opportunity to practise this independently.
1-1 Reading Interventions
Children in each year group who are working below age related expectations are quickly identified by class teachers and the SLT. These children are then targeted to receive additional 1-1 reading support throughout the week. The key features of this include: focus on decoding, fluency and comprehension. Staff discuss and model reading strategies, e.g. segmenting longer words and looking for known graphemes. Staff ask questions about what children have read, encouraging them to read for meaning and to refer to the text.
Teachers regularly read with the children so the children get to know and love all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. All classrooms have attractive book corners where the children can access a wide range of books, both fiction and non-fiction to help embed their love of books, stories and reading.
Reading for Pleasure (RfP) and Home Reading
All teachers read for pleasure with their class. In EYFS and KS1, this reading aloud session occurs daily and often the children vote on the book they would like to hear. In KS2, each class has a half-termly class novel which the teacher reads aloud to the class. This is a good opportunity for children to hear an expert reader model pace, expression and intonation. The aim of shared reading is to expose our students to a range of texts and authors, promote a love of reading and to build the vocabulary that our children are exposed to.
We celebrate reading together throughout the year by taking part in both school based, local and national reading initiatives including National Poetry Day, National Storytelling Week, World Book Day, author visits and the Summer Reading Challenge. We have also recently recruited Reading Ambassadors in each class from Year 1 to Year 6 and it is their role to work alongside the Reading Leader to promote reading at Wellington.
Children who are following the Little Wandle scheme for phonics take home a decodable book which is closely matched to phonemes that they are secure with. Children working at Turquoise level or above take home a colour banded book. Children on these levels are assessed using the PM Benchmarking kit. In addition to a banded or phonics book, children in Key Stage 1 take home a weekly reading for pleasure book from the class library. This system has been established this year and is now in the process of being established in Year 3 and 4. Students in Year 5 and 6 are encouraged to borrow a reading for pleasure book from the library in Unit D.
Home reading is an expectation at Wellington and this is shared both with the children and parents. Children are rewarded for regular home reading through the system of bronze, silver, gold and platinum reading certificates, Children who have read a minimum of 10 times are entered into a half-termly class raffle and the winner can choose a book of their choice as a reward.
To promote parental engagement in home reading, we invite parents/grandparents to ‘Stay and Read’ sessions, where they can share stories together in the classroom. These have been well-attended events which both children and parents have enjoyed.
Below you will find the lists of words that children are expected to be able to spell by the end of each year.
- Word list for Reception
- Key Stage 1 Spellings
- Key Stage 1 First 100 High Frequency Words
- Key Stage 1 Next 200 High Frequency Words
- Word list for Years 3 and 4
- Upper Key Stage 2 Spellings
Assessment criteria has been developed in line with the National Curriculum requirements, and enables us to assess children as they move through each stage of their learning journey. In our school, we carry out regular and consistent learning walks and book monitoring to measure the impact and assess the implementation of our curriculum. We also use termly Rising Stars assessments to compare our Reading and GPS results within a local and national context every half term in Years 1, 3, 4 and 5. In Years 2 and 6 we use termly past SATs papers to enable us to analyse the progress that our children are making in Reading and GPS. We also allow our children the opportunity to experience English through drama by attending theatre productions at the Alhambra in Bradford.
Children’s progress in phonics is continually reviewed through daily informal and half termly formal phonic assessments and evidence from their reading and writing. Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.
- Assessment for learning is used daily within class to identify children needing keep-up support / weekly in the review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings.
- Summative assessment is used every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the keep-up support that they need / by SLT and scrutinised through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker, to narrow attainment gaps between different groups of children and so that any additional support for teachers can be put into place.
- Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.
Ongoing assessment for catch-up
Children in Year 2 to 6 are assessed every half-term using the Rapid Catch-Up assessments. The data from this is then uploaded to the Phonics Tracker and interventions implemented as appropriate.
Our aim is to achieve a GLD (Good Level of Development) in EYFS in line with national standards, and be at or above the national standard in the Phonics Screening in Year 1, KS1 National Tests and KS2 National Tests.
It is intended that every child in our school travels on their learning journey with a love for reading and writing that will last a lifetime. We are confident that our pupils have developed the knowledge and skills that will help them as they continue on to high school.