A quote from English writer Jeanette Winterson sums up our approach to reading perfectly:
'Teach a child to read and keep that child reading and you will change everything.
And I mean everything.'
We place significant emphasis upon the development of basic skills and we aim for every child to be reading fluently and with high levels of understanding by the age of 7. Many of our children achieve this even earlier.
How We Teach Reading
We use Read Write Inc. Phonics which is a complete literacy programme for 3 to 6 year olds that are learning to read and write. The programme uses synthetic phonics to teach reading and it covers all of the National Curriculum requirements for literacy and language.
- Gets children decoding and comprehending quickly. The special 'three reads' approach ensures that all children gain accuracy, fluency and a good understanding of the text.
- Ensures children read storybooks and non-fiction books matched to their growing phonic knowledge.
- Leaves no child behind. Initial and on-going assessment to track every child's progress.
- Prevents downtime. Direct teaching followed by partner practice means that every child participates in the whole lesson.
We begin using Read Write Inc. when our pupils are in nursery and they start by learning the first 30 sounds in short, daily sessions. When pupils move into reception year, they begin to read storybooks and non-fiction books that are closely matched to their developing phonic knowledge. The sessions are lively and interactive and our pupils make rapid progress. They begin to write confidently and learn to spell using sounds that they know. Their progress is assessed at the end of every half term and they are grouped according to the level they are working at. This ensures that teaching is always focused precisely on what pupils need and the pace of learning is fast. If we are ever concerned about a child's progress in reading, we provide 1:1 intervention for 15 minutes a day to address this and accelerate their progress. These sessions are delivered by highly skilled support staff who have received specific Read Write Inc. 1:1 intervention training.
We have experienced considerable success using the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme since we introduced the programme in September 2011. In 2012 the Department for Education introduced a national test for reading that all pupils in Year 1 across the country take to establish whether they are achieving the expected level. As the following data shows, our results in this screening check are consistently higher than the national average:
82% of our pupils achieved the expected standard compared to 58% of pupils nationally.
94% of our pupils achieved the expected standard compared to 69% of pupils nationally.
96% of our pupils achieved the expected standard compared to 74% of pupils nationally.
In November 2014 we received a letter from the Department of Education congratulating us on being in the top 5% of schools nationally for our results in the Year 1 phonics screening check. This is a fantastic achievement and we are extremely proud.
94% of our pupils achieved the expected standard compared to 77% nationally.
100% of our pupils achieved the expected standard compared to 81% nationally.
What happens when pupils complete the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme?
Most pupils complete the programme by the end of Year 1 and are ready to progress to the next stage of their learning. Read Write Inc. Literacy and Language begins in Year 2 and continues until Year 6 and is a complete literacy programme matched to the new curriculum.
Features of the programme:
- Gives every child a deep understanding of what they read. Complete texts from leading authors are introduced using the special 'three reads' approach.
- Fully prepares every child for writing. The teacher models planning, drafting and revising texts. Children mirror this process.
- Teaches grammar in context. This enables children to apply grammar concepts to their own writing.
- Supports the grammar and punctuation aspects of the Key Stage 1 and 2 statutory assessments. It includes practice tests to build children's confidence.
- Creates articulate speakers. Children learn how to debate and present.
Read Write Inc. Spelling is a robust, fast-paced, systemmatic spelling programme for pupils from Year 2 to Year 6. Pupils start the programme when they have completed Read Write Inc. Phonics and it runs alongside their English lessons. They are taught in differentiated groups and have 15 minute sessions four days a week. The sessions are highly interactive with pupils completing partner work as well as carrying out independent activities aimed at consolidating their understanding. The programme uses an online resource for whole class teaching. Three animated alien characters from the Spelling Planet introduce and explain the spelling focus for the lesson and pupils complete follow up activities in their own workbook.
Handwriting is taught in separate sessions at least three times a week.