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Reading and Phonics

Reading and Phonics at Maids Moreton CE School

As a school, we believe that creating a culture of reading is a vital tool in ensuring our children are given the best possible life chances. We ensure that all our pupils are provided with a rich and varied learning experience that aims to develop them as lifelong readers.  Cultivating readers with a passion for a wide range of materials will ensure that children’s love of reading extends far beyond the classroom and allows them to build on their skills independently through a real curiosity for literature and thirst for knowledge. 

The following principles are at the forefront of our approach to reading.

  • Reading is inspirational  and enjoyable. We ensure children are enthused and stimulated by what they read and use the ideas and techniques that they have experienced when reading, to inform their own written work. We encourage a lifelong love of reading. 
  • Reading is varied  We recognise that reading comes in many forms and is essential to everyday life. We use a variety of texts that inspire and enthuse children. We also use texts with themes that help widen our children's horizons as well as ensuring their personal, social, spiritual and emotion needs are met. 
  • Reading is challenging  We develop the children's understanding and command of the English language through  experience of and exposure to challenging and high quality texts to ensure all children  reach their full potential.
  • Reading is explored  We use ‘close reading’ to interrogate texts through rigorous study.

Reading Skills

At Maids Moreton, we aim to develop children's word reading and reading comprehension skills in tandem through the explicit teaching of reading skills. 

Children need to be aware of the reading skills they are using in order to give them a greater understanding of what makes a well-rounded reader. These skills are called reading with DERIC.

DERIC stands for:

Decode (word reading)
Explain (explaining unfamiliar words and developing vocabulary)
Retrieve (finding information in the text)
Interpret (inference skills/reading "between the lines")
Choice (the choices made by the author, e.g. use of language)
At the early stages of reading, in EYFS and Key Stage 1, the main priority is on decoding-using phonic knowledge to read words. It is vital that children first develop the phonic knowledge  to access texts. As children move up the school and develop reading fluency, the focus shifts to reading comprehension. The children are required to become more analytical readers who can demonstrate a thorough understanding of what they read. As we move into Key Stage 2, we therefore lose the “D” and just have ERIC.


Phonics Teaching

In order to develop the secure decoding skills and phonic knowledge required for reading, our EYFS and Key Stage 1 children receive a daily phonics lesson. We use the Twinkl Systematic Synthetic Phonics programme to deliver our phonics curriculum. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonics for infant aged pupils, with the aim of children becoming fluent decoders by the age of seven. Please see our Phonics Guide for Parents and our Phonics Policy below for more information.

In Year 1 the children complete the statutory Year 1 Phonics Screening Check. This is a short 1:1 assessment which confirms whether individual children have acquired the necessary phonic decoding skills to an appropriate standard. It also identifies those children who need extra support to improve their reading decoding skills. These children will then be able to retake the check in Year 2. Please see our Phonics Screening Guide below for more information. 

Individual Reading in EYFS and Key Stage 1 [EYFS to Year 2]

Children in EYFS and Key Stage 1 are given frequent opportunities to read to their teacher, teaching assistant and reading volunteers on a 1:1 basis. Children are given reading scheme books to take home to practise and read for pleasure with their parents from a colour banded system. These books are selected from a range we have built up over time and cover a variety of genres including picture books, fiction, non fiction and poetry. We have drawn from many different publishers to ensure our selection is broad and caters for readers of different abilities, gender and interests within each colour band. These include Twinkl Rhino Readers, Collins Big Cat Phonics and ORT songbirds, to name but a few. For early readers, the books are fully phonetically decodable and closely matched to the children's phonics stage, using the Rhino Readers. They read books using the phonics they have learnt as part of their discrete phonic teaching, as well as using their word recognition of tricky, non phonological words. 

Guided reading in Key Stage 1 

Children in Key Stage 1 also take part in "book talk" guided reading sessions, where children are taught the comprehension skills required to read for meaning.  

Key Stage 1 National Assessments in Reading [SATS]

At the end of Key Stage 1, in Year 2, teachers assess children's reading against national criteria. By the end of Year 2, most children will be reading with a high degree of fluency. The reading assessment focuses on children's reading comprehension skills, and understanding of what they read. Please see our presentation on "How to develop higher order reading comprehension skills" within below for further information. 

Reading at home in Key Stage 1 

Parents are encouraged to support reading at home and children are expected to read daily. Children who read four or more times per week at home are entered into the weekly reading raffle, with an opportunity to win a book. The school has a wide range of graded colour coded reading scheme books. Continuity is ensured by the colour progression and each child works at an individual pace. Each child has an individual diary where reading is recorded and monitored. It also provides a means of communication between parents and teachers.  We assess the children at regular intervals to ascertain if they are able to move to the next colour band. Children must demonstrate secure comprehension as well as decoding skills in order to move up. It is important for children to become well rounded readers who truly appreciate the meaning of what they are reading, rather than racing through the scheme. [See guides below: Book bands explained and Helpful Questions for reading at home in KS1]. Children are encouraged to practise their reading skills through accessing "real" books alongside scheme ones. 

Children in Key Stage 1 also have the opportunity to borrow books from the school library on a weekly basis. 

Reading in Key Stage 2 [Years 3 to 6]

By Key Stage 2, most children have acquired the fluency to access a wider variety of reading material. Throughout Key Stage 2 children will have the opportunity to take home a "reading skills" book from our reading scheme, and a colour banded "reading choice" book from the library. The library is well stocked with a varied range of high quality fiction from renowned children's authors as well as wide variety of non fiction texts. The literature has been banded to reflect the complexity of the text and the maturity required from the reader.  A child who is a good decoder, with a large sight vocabulary is not necessarily a good well rounded reader. It is vital that parents engage in discussion with their children to ensure they have a true understanding of the text. 

Many children in Key Stage 2 will be able to read independently. However, they are still encouraged to read regularly to staff in school and adults at home. This reading continues to be recorded in the child's reading diary. Children are also invited to record in their own reading diaries.

In Key Stage 2, book talk sessions are replaced by whole class guided reading lessons. This enables teachers to explicitly teach higher order reading comprehension skills and pupils to closely analyse texts for meaning, using their ERIC skills. Lessons focus on examining chapters and passages from class texts as well as shorter excerpts from a range of genres. 

Children in Key Stage 2, still requiring support with decoding and reading fluency, will receive additional 1:1 and small group work to develop these vital skills. 

Throughout the school, reading is embedded across the curriculum and children are given the opportunity to read widely across different subjects. We make opportunities to read to the children so that they can appreciate and enjoy literature together.