At our school, we follow the Monster Phonics scheme which has been validated by the Department for Education. This is a multi-sensory phonics programme which uses colour to consistently code for key graphemes in English.
EYFS and KS1 have daily phonics sessions using the Monster Phonics systematic synthetic phonics programme.
Learning is sequential with progression clearly mapped out from EYFS to Year 2.
All staff are trained to deliver the programme, ensuring a consistent approach.
Teachers continually draw upon observations and assessments of pupils, to ensure they are challenged and to identify pupils who need additional support.
Lessons are engaging and multi-sensory. They follow the revisit/review, teach, practise and apply sequence.
Decoding (blending to read) and encoding (segmenting to spell) strategies are taught and practised in each lesson, along with high frequency and common exception words.
Time is spent in each lesson applying knowledge and skills to both reading words and sentences.
Our phonics tracking system, guided reading groups and termly reading conferences ensure books are correctly matched to the children’s phonological and phonemic skill level.
Children who do not pass the phonics screening check in KS1 continue to be tracked throughout KS2 and receive regular phonics intervention.
In EYFS and Year 1 children take home two reading books a week. These are:
1) An 'independent book' which is fully decodable and matched to the child's current phonics skill level. They are able to read this book independently without any support.
2) A 'reading for pleasure book'. This book is chosen by the child from a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books. This is a book parents/carers can read to and share with their child.
In Year 2 children take home three reading books a week which include an 'independent book', a 'reading for pleasure book' and an additional 'sharing book'.
A 'sharing book'. This book comes from a book banded scheme (including Oxford Reading Tree, Floppy Phonics and Project X). These books are slightly more challenging and may contain a couple of words or sounds that the children may need support with. This is also to support children in developing their reading stamina.
In KS2, children take home a reading book from the book banded schemes. This reading level is chosen by the class teacher through regular reading conferences. Children also choose a ‘reading for pleasure book’ which is kept on their desk to be read throughout the week.
Children read to an adult regularly and also in-class reading buddies are used throughout the school to increase the frequency of which children read at school. Specially appointed school reading ambassadors and school librarians visit younger children to support their reading as well. There is a focus on children reading below age related expectations and pupils not reading regularly at home.
Reading Comprehension and Fluency
We follow a whole class reading approach from Year 2-Year 6.
EYFS and Y1 have daily small group guided reading sessions in which children develop their decoding skills, fluency and comprehension. They also begin to introduce aspects of our whole class approach.
We use VIPERS dog characters to help children learn and develop essential comprehension skills.
Vocabulary Victor Vocabulary Victor
Inference Iggy Inference Iggy
Predicting Pip Predicting Pip
Rex Retriever Explanation
Sequencing Suki Rex Retriever
From Y2 onwards, there are two whole class reading sessions a week and the other days are class read sessions.
We use images, text extracts and film clips in a carefully structured session with a focus on vocabulary, inference and retrieval. Other VIPERS skills are also included.
Teachers model fluent reading and children join in through echo and choral reading, using a tool to track the text.
Questions and activities are carefully thought out to ensure all children are supported and challenged in these sessions.
Teachers continually observe and assess children’s comprehension skills.
Children develop their reading fluency by opportunities to read aloud themselves and to hear staff reading aloud, repeated reading and feedback during termly teacher/pupil reading conferences.
Reading for Pleasure
Reading is prioritised at St John’s. Alongside our reading curriculum, we also have dedicated time where teachers read to their class. This is called BEAR time (Be Excited About Reading). We no longer call it story time as we wanted to ensure a wide range of texts are read such as poetry and non-fiction. In EYFS, KS1 and LKS2 our special reading bears hold the book that will be read. Children are excited to see what the text will be each day.
Each class has a reading for pleasure library. These contain some specially selected books for the year group. These are chosen from various websites with recommendations from teachers, librarians and literacy specialists.
We also have a well-stocked school library. This is continually updated and added to thanks to money raised and donated. Each year group is given dedicated slots, where they can go and enjoy spending time reading in the library.
Staff read to children regularly and demonstrate a passion for reading.
Pupil Reading Ambassadors and School Librarians have been appointed to raise the profile of reading amongst their peers.
The reading team are committed to researching and sharing new and award-winning authors and books with staff, children and parents.
We do not have a preference as to what children read. Our initial aim is to light their fire and find something they really want to read. We hope then to be able to open their eyes to a range of authors and genres. Through carefully chosen texts that highlight and support our school and British Values, we hope children will see themselves and others so as to reflect the wonderful diversity of the world around us. Thus, developing their empathy and tolerance towards others.
As we believe that reading is key to all learning, the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the result of statutory assessments.
Learning is assessed through:
-Teacher assessment (observations, appropriate testing, reading conferences, Phonics Tracker, national standards, moderation)
-Statutory testing (KS1 SATs, KS2 SATs, Phonics Screening check).
Children are informally assessed within phonics lessons and receive in the moment feedback/intervention where necessary.
Phonics Tracker is used to assess phonemes, blending and HFW. This assessment is ongoing and is used to inform the phonics group children are taught in and any intervention they may need.
Children take part in group guided reading sessions 2-3 times per week. This allows children to apply learning from phonics lessons and develop their fluency as strategies are taught/supported where necessary. Children are assessed in decoding, fluency and comprehension as part of these guided reading sessions.
Children have the opportunity to enter the wide and varied magical worlds that reading opens up to them. As they develop their own interest in books, a deep love of literature across a range of genres, cultures and styles is enhanced.
As a Year 6 reader, transitioning into secondary school, we aspire that children are fluent, confident and able readers, who can access a range of texts for pleasure and enjoyment, as well as use their reading skills to unlock learning and all areas of the curriculum.