Reading and Phonics
The Teaching of Reading at Oasis Academy Nunsthorpe
INTENTAt Oasis Academy Nunsthorpe, we believe that reading is key for academic success. It is our intention to break cycles, to bring advantage to disadvantage and provide children with the opportunity to reach their God-given potential. We see reading as being a key driver in our children achieving well, in them being able to communicate with others and to understand more about themselves, their emotions and the world around them. We want our children not only to be able to learn to read, but to be able to read to learn. It is our intention that by the end of their primary education, our children are able to read fluently and with confidence while developing a love of reading for pleasure.
IMPLEMENTATION: THE TEACHING OF READINGWe have used the recommendations from the EEF guidance around the teaching of reading to carefully consider the best ways to teach our children to read and as such use a number of approaches.
Whole Class Teaching:
All children from Year 1 – 6 are taught using whole class teaching. During this time, the teaching is focussed on strategies and skills for reading based on The National Curriculum domains. We use reading ‘VIPERS’ to ensure that children can understand vocabulary, infer, predict, explain, retrieve, sequence and summarise when answering questions around a given text. Skills are explicitly modelled by class teachers before children practise and apply these in their learning. We have a two week approach to our reading teaching: the first week allows children to explore a class text in the form of a book study that they work on for the duration of the term. The second week provides the opportunity for teachers to select extracts from other High Quality Texts, genres and purposes to ensure that children are exposed to a variety of text types. The texts used for whole class teaching relate to the topic or area of the curriculum that children are studying and are pitched at ARE – helping children ‘keep up’ with the demands of the curriculum in line with a mastery approach.
Vocabulary forms a large part of the National Curriculum and this is reflected in our reading teaching sequence with the first two days dedicated to language and vocabulary. The next two days focus on a specific ‘VIPER’ from the reading domains and the final day of the sequence allows children to practise a range of comprehension question types. The sequence allows for modelling, scaffolding and support and independent application at various points throughout the week.
In addition to whole class reading, our most vulnerable pupils (bottom 20%) take part in guided reading with the teacher twice weekly. In these sessions, the level of the text is pitched at the level the groups of children are working at, in the form of an intervention. The purpose of this is to target children who need additional support in making progress and in achieving ARE.
Children also read independently with each child having two books at all times to read: one of the books is book-banded and at the level at which the child is currently working at; the other is a free choice book that the child chooses themselves as part of making ‘informed choices’ and reading for pleasure.
Book-banded books are from a variety of schemes including ORT, Bug Club and Big Cat. There are a variety of books that are phonically decodable as well as other ‘progress books’ (Bit Cat Progress/HiLo Pelican) which allow older readers to read age appropriate books at an easier level for their ability.
There will be some lessons where children are encouraged to read aloud and others where identified children (those who aren’t making progress or those who aren’t heard read at home) are heard to read in school. Reading aloud will take place in a variety of ways including echo and paired reading to help model what reading looks like and sounds like to the children.
Our Phonics scheme is Letters and Sounds. It 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 by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven. Phonics is taught daily with children studying a specific phase in small groups and in line with their own ability and needs. Levelled reading books are provided to children in KeyStage One linked to the phonics phase they are studying, allowing for practise and repetition to build confidence and fluency.
Reading for Pleasure and developing a whole school reading culture
Reading is scheduled in to our academy day. Every day, children have ERIC time which provides them with the opportunity to read a book of their choice: this could be a reading book, an e-book or their school banded book. We promote a message of making informed choices when selecting free-reading books to encourage children to read a book that is suitable for them but also to develop their own preferences and choices for reading, thinking about their likes and dislikes and considering a range of different authors and genres. Teachers promote a life-long love for reading by displaying ‘We are Reading’ posters around the school and talking to children about their own preferences. In addition to this, teachers read a class text to their children to provide time for children to just enjoy a story being read to them. We see this as vital to promoting a love of reading as for many children, this time is the only time they will experience an adult reading to them.
A range of additional activities and celebrations are held to further promote a love for reading. These include but are not limited to World Book Day events, book-themed dress-up days, author visits and themed reading corners. We hold a half-price Scholastic Book Fayre annually to provide children with the opportunity to purchase high quality texts at reduced prices which is key not only to developing a love of reading, but in increasing the likelihood of our children having their own books within their home environment.
Displays around school promote key messages around reading including ‘making informed choices’, author focus texts, and SEMH support through literature.
READING AT HOMEAll reading is good reading and parents are encouraged to share a book with their children as often as possible. Each day, children bring in their reading diaries to share what they have been reading at home.