Phonics and Early Reading
Here at Sir Thomas Abney we believe that developing a love of reading is the single most powerful attribute that can make a difference to our children’s future attainment.
At Sir Thomas Abney we want to work together with families to share the responsibility of developing our young people’s reading ability and enjoyment of sharing stories. We believe that children should be exposed to a wide range of text types, genres and authors that challenge stereotypes and celebrate diversity.
Our reading curriculum supports the school’s aims and values. The memorable reading experiences they gain at STA will help them develop excellent communication skills, by expanding their vocabulary and allowing them opportunities to express preferences, opinions and ask questions about what they have read.
Our whole school curriculum, at its core, is about enabling a better understanding of how life works interdependently and how everything interconnects. Reading is the gateway into this and is the foundation on which children have access to our wider curriculum.
Children are taught using synthetic phonics programme Read Write Inc. In Early Years, children start building phonological awareness and then move onto learning set 1 sounds and developing blending and segmenting skills.
Once they are on their way to reading, children are taught in small groups to learn Set 2 & 3 sounds and build vocabulary skills along with fluency in reading. The Ruth Miskin website has lots of fantastic resources for parents.
In Reception & KS1, children will bring home a Book bag pack that contains the book they are reading that week in their RWinc group, along with a partner text that has a similar theme and uses familiar words.
Reading in KS2
In KS2 We follow the STA Loves Reading (Destination Reader) scheme approach to the teaching of essential reading skills. The children learn the scheme’s main strategies, which include, Predicting, Questioning, Clarifiying, Inferring, Summarising, Making Links and Evaluating to deepen their understanding of different genres and texts.
We believe that children should be exposed to a wide range of text types, genres and authors that challenge stereotypes and celebrate diversity and we try to ensure that all of our books are linked carefully to our current humanities projects to ensure that the curriculum is seamless and promotes a deeper understanding of the world for the children.
Children also have weekly opportunities to visit the school library and choose an accelerated reader book, these books are chosen at the child’s individual level which is assessed on a termly basis through the STAR Reader app. We encourage children and families to read more frequently by offering trips to the local library and also organising weekly reading sessions in class for parents across EYFS and KS1.
We heartily hope that you encourage your child to read at home, ask questions about their text and share with them what you have read. Click here for some more information about Accelerated Reader and reading at home.
On top of our daily reading session we teach “Pathways to Write”
We believe that all children have the capacity to become confident and articulate writers, we aim to give children access to a range of texts, genres and writers ranging from classic literature to modern writing which reflects the children’s own backgrounds and lives on top of this we aim to give our children every opportunity to participate in a wide range of learning experiences beyond their classroom. This includes but is not exclusive to trips to museums, the theatre, adventure centres and community projects providing our children with stimulating real-life experiences to enhance their reading, writing and speaking development giving them a sound and vibrant experience of the incredible city we live in.
They will meet and work with authors and build their knowledge of literature. English learning is practised and embedded across the curriculum. Speaking and writing outcomes draw from knowledge gained in other subjects and English skills are used to enhance learning elsewhere.
All staff are trained in teaching writing using core skills which are built on and embedded year on year, children are explicitly taught grammar and punctuation in each lesson and are taught how to use these skills in a combination of types of texts.
The books are chosen with deliberate care and attention to ensure that the children are exposed to a wide range of genres and authors. Links to the books used and the strands of the curriculum taught can be found here.
Impact of teaching literacy at Sir Thomas Abney
We use a variety of strategies to evaluate the knowledge, skills and understanding that our children gain as they progress from Nursery to Year 6:
- CPD to ensure that teacher pedagogy and assessment is secure.
- Regular feedback marking and pupil voice feedback.
- Subject monitoring, including book looks and learning walks.
- Regular low stakes knowledge assessments, using a range of creative approaches.
- Cross-federation moderation to ensure secure teacher judgements.
- NTS tests and to support our teachers’ assessment.
- Half-termly phonics and reading assessments to ensure our children are provided with appropriate challenge and support.