Reading is a Priority
At Bishop Bronescombe, reading is a priority because we recognise that developing both the skills of reading and a love of reading, ensure a world of opportunity for our children. Reading is essential to access not just the primary school curriculum, but is also preparation for learning at secondary school. As a skill necessary for life-long learning, it provides endless possibilities and opportunities for improvement and as a pleasure it feeds imaginations and takes us to people and places that we can only dream about.
Cressida Cowell (Children’s Laureate 2020-21) reinforces the importance of reading as a school priority: “Study after study has shown how reading for pleasure is vital for academic success, mental health and even later economic success. By sparking growing imaginations, stimulating critical thinking and helping to develop empathy, reading gives children the very skills they need to succeed at school, at work and in life”. At our school we are passionate about giving our children the very best life chances we can, therefore we are relentless at making reading a school priority. It consistently forms a part of the school development plan which ensures that all elements are monitored, their effectiveness evaluated, actions reviewed and necessary professional development provided.
The teaching of reading at our school, is based on the five essential components needed to develop fluent, confident readers.
- Phonemic awareness - the ability to hear, identify, move or change sounds (phonemes), in spoken words
- Phonics – recognising the link between sounds (phonemes) and letters (graphemes) to decode words
- Fluency – the ability to read accurately, quickly and with expression
- Vocabulary – knowing the meaning of words to help in order to understand what they are reading
- Comprehension – understanding and interpreting what they have read.
The use of Read, Write Inc in the Early Years and KS1 provides a rigorous and systematic approach to the teaching of reading based on synthetic phonics, which research shows to be the most effective approach to the teaching of reading. Daily Read, Write Inc sessions develop children’s ability to decode by focusing on phonemic awareness and phonic skills enabling children to meet or exceed their Early Learning Goals in reception and the expectations of reading outlined in the National Curriculum as they move through KS1. Alongside the teaching of phonics, children in KS1 have class reading sessions to develop early skills of fluency and comprehension. In KS2 a whole class reading approach is used where the learning is focussed on developing fluency, vocabulary and the elements of comprehension outlined in the National Curriculum.
At Bishop Bronescombe we use the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme to get children off to a flying start with Reading. RWI is a phonic based approach to teaching reading. It involves children learning to read sounds and how to blend them together to read words through a successful reading programme that enables every child to become a confident and fluent reader. It aims to teach all children to read at a pace that they are comfortable with. In the first instance, children learn 44 sounds (speed sounds). There are the letter sounds and not letter names, and they then learn to blend these sounds together to make words. After they are confidently able to read words with these 44 sounds, they will then learn alternative ways of making sounds too (i.e. ay, a-e, ai).
During the phonics/reading session, the children read phonic books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words and, as children re-read the stories, their fluency increases. Along with a thought-provoking introduction, prompts for thinking out loud and discussion, children are helped to read with a storyteller’s voice.
Catch up quickly
Children’s progress is regularly monitored through half-termly assessments with the Read Write Inc. leader. The children are given individual reading targets, which are then shared with the parents via their home reading record. Children are grouped into phonics groups depending on their ‘stage and not age’ to allow them to work at their level. Children who are not making expected progress are identified and intervention sessions are put in place to ensure they make progress. Children who are identified as being in the lowest 20% for reading are prioritised for daily reading, focusing on their particular needs.
Early Reading Expertise
All staff, including teachers and support staff working in KS2 have received Read Write Inc training as it is our key approach to the teaching of reading. The teaching of reading is regularly monitored by our school’s reading lead. Our Read Write Inc. lead has given guidance to other Read Write Inc leads in other schools and also provides training for new members of staff. All staff within our school understand the concept and importance of RWI and within KS2, the staff have developed an effective system for whole class guided reading to build on the skills that have been learned within KS1.
Books match sounds
To ensure children have sufficient practice of the reading skills taught through the rigorous RWI programme, they access home reading books in the Early Years and KS1 which closely match the phonics stage individual to the child.
Children in the Early Years and KS1 at BB are given 3 reading books to take home. These are:
Fluency book – this book is their ‘Read Write Inc’ book bag book which matches their phonics stage. We would expect that each child would be able to read these books fluently and apply their phonic knowledge independently. The children access this book for one week to ensure they are given daily, sufficient practice to read, re-read and retell stories whilst embedding their phonic knowledge and reading fluency.
Challenge book – this book provides children with the opportunity to develop not only phonics skills but also a wide variety of further reading strategies. These books will contain some unfamiliar words which are not phonically decodable but are broadly correlated to their phonics stage.
Library book – As we aim to develop lifelong readers, we encourage each child to choose a book from the KS1 library. This can include non-fiction, fiction or poetry texts dependent on the child's choice and will not match their phonic level. Parents are encouraged to share this book at home as this book to develop a love for reading.