approach to reading


At Ulceby St Nicholas Cof E Primary School, we believe that learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at school. Their ability to read will support them in accessing the wider curriculum and understanding the world around them. Therefore, it is important to us that every child develops as a confident, fluent reader who can apply their reading skills across all their learning. As well as this, we aim to foster a love of reading in every one of our children so that they read for pleasure as well as information.

To be effective in our teaching of reading, we set out to do the following:

  • Follow a whole school approach that is consistent across every classroom.
  • Ensure fidelity to our chosen systematic synthetic phonics programme.
  • Develop a reading spine which enables children to read a range of genres and to read widely about a range of subjects- including areas of the 2010 Protected Characteristics Equality Act (2010)
  • Develop a whole school reading culture which is evident in areas.
  • Increase children’s knowledge and understanding of vocabulary through the specific teaching of tier 2 words in reading lessons.
  • Ensure there are regular opportunities for staff CPD and coaching which clearly aims to ensure that their teaching of reading has the highest possible impact.

As a school we have adopted the Read, Write, Inc (RWInc) programme for the teaching of phonics and early reading. This begins as soon as the pupils enter our school in reception. Pupils are assessed regularly so that their phonics learning can be delivered in small groups which are planned appropriately for their stage, not age. A phonics or reading session takes place which fidelity to the RWInc scheme, for every child in school, every day.

We are determined that every pupil will learn to read, regardless of their background, needs or abilities and therefore we our approach is to support children to “keep up, not catch up”. Where pupils are making less progressed than hoped or need some support to accelerate their progress, we deliver high quality 1:1 RWInc phonics intervention. This takes place in short daily bursts in addition to the daily phonics session that all children receive.

Phonics lessons develop pupils’ sounds recognition and then their ability to blend to red and segment to spell using “Fred talk”. RWInc places and emphasis on fluent, “speedy reading” of both common decodable words and more complicated “red words” which have uncommon vowel sounds.

There is a structured assessment system for phonics, which measures all pupils’ progress on a half-termly basis. These assessments inform new phonics groupings and identify where children need additional support through 1:1 tutoring or small group intervention to keep them on track. It is our aspiration that by the end of year two all children will be fluent and confident in their reading; reading to move away from phonics and into Reading and Understanding sessions in Key Stage Two.

Our Reading and Understanding sessions for Y2 children who have completed the RWInc programme up to Y6 take place on a daily basis. Teachers access a range of genres and text types and use them to develop pupils’ reading skills, comprehension and reading stamina. There is a clear focus on vocabulary throughout the session with key words from a text being pre-taught at the beginning of the week and practised throughout a week until they are remembered. Every reading session begins with a vocabulary retrieval task or activity.

Reading is also central to the rest of our school curriculum for example all writing in English lessons is centred around a book. In addition, every class has a daily session of adult lead reading: an opportunity to drop everything and enjoy listening to a text. This aims to develop the pupils’ love of reading as well as allowing them to hear the modelling of fluency and expression from their teachers.

The intended impact of our approach to reading is that children will initially become confident in sound and word recognition and begin to read fluently. Our aim is to build up children’s knowledge of vocabulary as they progress through school meaning that they are more able to understand what they are reading and to comprehend a text. Reading is at the heart of the curriculum and should be observed and used in lessons across all subject areas.

Reading at home

Whilst your child is accessing the RWInc programme they will bring home and RWInc “Book Bag Book” which will be matched to their current phonics stage and will replicate their focus for the week in class. The best way to support your child’s reading is to share this book with them several times during a week: asking them to read to you, reading to them, asking questions and discussing new vocabulary. In addition, they will bring home another book labelled “share with me”. This is necessarily matched to the phonics programme but is an extra text to enjoy together and give your child exposure to a new book and vocabulary.

Children who successfully complete the Read, Write, Inc phonics programme will be able to choose their own books to take home. Your child’s class teacher will guide them towards which books will be most suitable for them and which books they might enjoy.

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