Our reading Journey

The journey of reading in our setting begins before a child is 12 months old, with early exposure to texts: children are given books to handle; they hear rhymes recited; they are read to; and, a rich vocabulary is heard from practitioners around them.

By 2 years-of-age, children have found meaning in texts: taking part in story circles; sharing picture and story books; joining in with repeating phrases. Children are exposed to printed and written texts indoors and outdoors, with signs and notices displayed from which reading is modelled by adults and practised by children.

The journey of learning to read begins in Nursery (3+ years-of-age), children begin to recognise the text-rich environment we and they inhabit: their attentive listening is encouraged and practised with listening-walks being part of everyday practice; their own name, those of others, captions, labels and menus are often repeated by practitioners, to give meaning to text and promote independent recognition; they are encouraged to browse through books independently, while stories and rhymes are shared at least five times a day throughout foundation stage; they begin to select favourites that stimulate their continuing play and learning. 

Books are chosen for a specific purpose: they encourage children to join in with repeated refrains; to experience rhythm and rhyme; and, to hear new vocabulary. Practitioner talk, alongside sharing a book, promotes comprehension, reinforces vocabulary and develops language. Children are encouraged to reflect and discuss the themes and messages in stories and link them to their own experience, drawing on a wide range of genres including classic and traditional stories, contemporary narratives, poetry and non-fiction texts. Early Years benefits from regular visits by the Library-Bus where they are allowed to choose books to share and take home.

Through pre-phonics, children are provided with daily opportunities to explore and experiment with sounds, differentiate between sounds, and become familiar with rhythm, rhyme, and alliteration. Alongside this, children also develop their auditory-discrimination skills supported by 30 minutes of specialist music teaching each week.  Trained practitioners observe children’s development and incorporate next steps into children’s continuous play provision. Practitioners also lead learning on pre-reading skills such as visual discrimination, sequencing and memory. Children learn to segment and blend to enable them to discriminate sounds for reading. Recognising the importance of these skills, each week children are guided by practitioners and access pre-planned activities and continuous provision to develop their pre-phonics skills.

As children move into Reception (4+ years of age) they begin the Sounds-Write Programme and are introduced to the conceptual knowledge that letters are symbols (spellings) that represent sounds by practitioners trained in the programme. The skills the children develop are blending, segmenting and phoneme manipulation. Progress through the ‘initial code’ is constantly monitored and interventions are made by the teacher to hold the cohort together, so learning continues as a class and at pace. Phoneme/graphene correspondence is taught within the programme as units of sounds within the code. The children are taught to decode fluently and accurately through series of lessons by physical word-building, sound swapping, symbol searching, dictation…

Children continue to build their conceptual knowledge that: a sound may be spelled by one, two, three or four letters; the same sound can be spelled in more than one way; and, many spellings can represent more than one sound, through the ‘extended code’. There are two types of lessons they experience, with the majority focusing on the phonemic (sound) nature of the code and to a lesser extend its graphemic (spelling) nature. Children begin to build polysyllabic words as they gain confidence with segmenting.

In reception and year 1, phonics is taught as a daily lesson and is planned as 45 minute sessions. Children needing intervention to maintain progress will have additional sessions with practitioners during continuous provision.

The daily phonics lessons are designed following the same structure each day; beginning with a review and consolidation of previous phonic knowledge, before providing children with the opportunity to develop new code knowledge. Each lesson ends with giving children time to practise their reading and writing skills.

Children have two readers that they take home, and these are changed at least weekly; a decoding book, matched to their current Sounds-Write unit and a language comprehension book chosen from the Early Years or Key Stage 1 library, that adults can read to them or a familiar book they can ‘read’. Phonic books are recorded in the child’s reading record, where parents are encouraged to record any specific sounds or words with which their child is struggling. Library books are recorded in a class library file and upon return of the library book, each child is asked to complete their own simple ‘book review’.

In Year 2 children begin to move from learning to read to reading to learn. As they move from the phonic schemes of Sounds-Write and Phonic Books into the core Ginn Readers, the ownership of reading is taken up by the child. Ginn offers a wide range of fiction, poetry and non-fiction which facilitates a rounded exposure to an assortment of genres and text types. The scheme allows children to ‘dip into’  what is offered in the literary world and then to, broaden and deepen their knowledge as they apply their skills beyond this scheme. They are guided through learning opportunities: building fluency by sometimes re-reading books; expanding their interest and range of texts; helping them gain comprehension quickly; expressing opinions; recognising authorial intent… progress is regularly monitored by the class teacher; and, the child gradually takes ownership. Our ultimate aim is for children to read freely, where the role of the teacher evolves to curator of the child’s reading library.

Reading is an intrinsic part of our spiralling curriculum and is planned in all subjects, in many forms. A positive attitude is fostered routinely, beginning with quiet, independent reading at the start of the morning and afternoon sessions. Modelled, shared and reciprocal reading is facilitated to demonstrate, compare and encourage reading to learn. Having invested heavily into our libraries, our children are aware of the books they have at their disposal, from non-fiction and fiction related to our curriculum studies to general fiction and non-fiction that give breadth to our offer. Each child knows the location and colour of their books and class teachers are able to recommend books based on their knowledge of the child’s likes and dislikes.

During our transition from Letters and Sounds to the Sounds Write programme, practitioners are beginning to deploy the practice gained through their training, while continuing to deliver phonics through the Letters and Sounds order during Year 1 and 2 to ensure children have learnt and practiced the complete code.

Time is dedicated to reading in school. Teachers are seen to learn from books and children experience, through their day, a range of texts including bible stories, phonic texts and fiction as well as non-fiction books linked to curriculum studies and contexts. Children who become expert readers including those  early to it, are guided to an ever wider repertoire of books; encouraged to expand, through reading, their vocabulary; pursue their own interests; and, recognise their life-long access to different worlds through the ideas expressed on a page.

Following on from (or maybe replacing) the traditional bedtime story reading of parents, Teachers Model Reading for children often, by ‘reading aloud’ using intonation and expression. This interaction with a text, in front of the children, encourages their understanding of its purpose and the enjoyment to be gained from it and helps them to develop the language of thought. Children, while listening, observe the ‘expert’ at work demonstrating how reading works: revealing the ideas recorded in print; connecting the spoken word, thoughts and feelings; and, be constructed into meaningful thought within the mind of the reader. 

In Shared Reading the child reads alternative passages or pages with an adult, who models fluency and expression, thus maintaining the flow of the story line enabling the child reader to internalise the plot and themes. The adult has opportunities to analyse and intervene to improve reading practice.

Children have the opportunity to read and share texts in Reciprocal Reading to widen their knowledge of different texts and discuss and share opinions. Aspects of the reading process and comprehension skills can be incorporated according to the attainment of readers.  The teacher guides, supports and encourages while children try out ideas and skills. Teacher and children then ‘share’ their ideas together by following the directional aspects given to them.

Children are given many opportunities for Independent Reading in a variety of forms based on both teacher guidance and their own choice of book. Independent reading does not always have to be individual reading; children can read collaboratively, in pairs or small groups, without adult support. Ultimately, a love of reading for all children is encouraged: to become so immersed in a book that they cannot put it down. Whether the text be a football programme detailing the goals scored by individual players for the season; or the comedic element from David Walliams and his ‘Demon Dentist’;  or even the introduction to a classic like ‘Little Women’, reading is fundamental to learning and is a way of living a thousand lives in a term.

trained in specific programmes support: children, who do not benefit from reading at home, as well as vulnerable readers with paired reading where an adult makes time to hear the child read every day; children who lack fluency, by providing opportunities for repeated reading to build speed and accuracy; and, where gaining meaning from the text is the barrier, with fluency into comprehension helping children increase their understanding.

Children with special educational needs often struggle with reading so their reading development is carefully monitored and a variety of interventions are used to mitigate difficulties and gaps in their learning journey to ensure progress. During meetings with parents, a special emphasis is placed on discussing reading development and advice is offered.

Children have opportunities to read at Mass, during liturgical prayer and liturgies, whole school plays and productions. They are invited to read aloud in class both individually and chorally. They are also encouraged to read books which follow their own interests, beyond the curriculum contexts studied across school. The children from year 5 take on the role of librarians and each year group has an allocated time slot to select, return or renew their books. Usually, each class has a break and a lunchtime to utilise the libraries and they are initially given a fortnight to read their book.

Progression in Reading Guide (PDF)