Reading and Phonics
At Higher Lane Primary School, we value reading as a key life skill, and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong, passionate readers. We aim to inspire an appreciation of our rich and varied literary heritage and a habit of reading widely and often. We believe reading is key for academic success and so to ensure we have a holistic approach to the teaching of reading. We aim to provide high quality teaching and learning experiences which result not only in the children becoming skilled and fluent readers, but also in them developing a lifelong love of reading.
Teaching phonics in Key Stage 1 is the key to developing your child's ability to read and write. We follow Ruth Miskin’s phonics scheme, Read Write Inc. (RWI). Phonics phonemes (sounds) are matched to the graphemes (letters). Phonics is taught in Reception, Year 1, Year 2 and can also be present in Years 3 and 4 for some children when they begin their journey in Lower Key Stage 2. During Phonics lessons, the children are taught to read and write 74 graphemes in real and nonsense words, read and write red words and practise reading fluency through reading storybooks. All children receive a phonetically decodable book bag book each week and a copy of the book they are reading during Phonics lessons. Our Phonics lead delivers, and supports teachers throughout the school to deliver, high-quality phonics lessons with frequent tracking and assessment. The children are assessed half-termly and streamed into smaller groups for Phonics lessons. These regular assessments inform planning and allow teachers to identify any gaps in learning and the children who need to receive an additional Fast Track intervention. Read Write Inc. may still be present in Years 5 and 6 for the children who require additional support with reading. These children will take part in a Fresh Start intervention.
Children take part in daily whole class Guided Reading lessons where they are exposed to a range of different texts and can demonstrate their understanding of these. High quality texts and extracts are chosen, appropriate to the expectations of the year group and/or ability of children, and teachers use this to model the application of the agreed reading skills. Through a reciprocal reading based approach, children are taught to notice breakdowns in reading - identifying words/phrases they don’t understand and strategies to fix the breakdown in meaning. Children are taught to relate the text to themselves, previous reading experiences and the world around them. Each Guided Reading session has a focus on a different skill and an opportunity to ‘mix it up’ to allow for children to retrieve and practise all key skills.
Teachers plan time for children in Key Stage One and Two to be tested using the Accelerated Reader (AR) program. This gives the children an age-appropriate reading level and the child selects a book from within that level. Once children have completed reading an AR book, they take an online quiz. When children have completed the quizzes and scored 80% or higher, they then move onto the next level. We have a wide range of reading books in our school (class libraries, school library and AR reading scheme), this offers opportunities for the children to apply their reading skills across the curriculum. Before children begin on accelerated reader, they have a levelled reading book that is changes twice a week. Once children begin accelerated reader they quiz and change as and when needed. Accelerated reader allows us to pitch the reading books directly at the child’s specific level and closely track progress.
By the time children leave Higher Lane, we aspire that they are fluent, confident and able readers who can access a range of texts for pleasure and enjoyment, who can recommend books to their peers, have a thirst for reading a range of genres including poetry, and participate in discussions about books. They can also use their reading skills to unlock learning and all areas of the curriculum and communicate their research to a wider audience. We firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments.
Accelerated Reader is a system whereby children can read books and take quizzes once completed. These quizzes can be on their understanding of a text or the vocabulary within. Each week every class has a 'Star Reader of the Week' to celebrate all of the wonderful work our children do.
Children's book choices are calculated through an initial 'Star Reader' quiz. This quiz then calculates a bookshelf (ZPD for teachers!) for children to choose from. Please note children's bookshelf choices are calculated based on their independent reading ability and not on their chronological age.
Click on the image below to launch the Accelerated Reader student login: