We are readers!

At Southville Primary School, we aspire to be fluent and confident readers.  We aim for pupils to become enthusiastic and critical life-long readers of stories, poetry and drama as well as non-fiction and media texts. We want our children to explore their own interests and read fluently, widely and often both at school and in their spare time.  We will give our children the foundations they need to enjoy the lifelong pleasure and necessity of being an accomplished reader.

We will do this by:

  • Teaching phonics through the systematic, synthetic phonics programme "Little Wandle Letters and Sounds".  Starting with our youngest Nursery learners, the children will begin to develop an awareness of sound through freely chosen activities in our language-rich provision. In Reception and Key Stage One, children partake in daily synthetic phonics sessions, systematically working through the phases of phonics progression.
  • Making phonics fun, motivational and multi-sensory, using songs, games, actions and high-quality play activities.  Our phonics teaching is vital for children to quickly and effectively gain the skills to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. 
  • Enabling children to develop the behaviours of a skilled reader: supporting and actively listening to others; discussing and explaining their ideas and taking responsibility for their learning. 
  • Delivering a carefully-developed program of reading provision which will provide the children with the confidence and essential skills for reading, namely: predicting, clarifying, questioning, inferring, summarising and evaluating. 
  • Providing for children, whatever their ability or needs, a curriculum which exposes all to literature which is appropriately challenging, so that they are always progressing their skills and widening their reading experiences. 
  • Promoting enjoyment, and providing modelling, of reading through the sharing and discussion of texts with their classes.
  • Helping children to understand and respond imaginatively to what they read and experience, and fostering their appreciation and enjoyment of the widest variety of challenging and ambitious high-quality literature. Using a wide range of high quality texts as an integral reading ‘spine’ within our Immersive Learning Curriculum.
  • Enabling children to be skilled at reading with confidence, fluency and understanding and to orchestrate a range of independent strategies to self - monitor and correct. They will identify the main points of a range of text types and will develop an interest in words and their meanings; this will help develop a growing vocabulary in spoken and written forms.
  • Working in close partnership with families to support the children along their reading journey, through the communication of our phonics teaching and by establishing a regular dialogue around the reading children do at home.
  • Providing weekly family reading sessions for children and adults to share their enjoyment of reading together.
  • Providing reading experiences and enrichment through workshops, themed weeks and days, library visits, working with local bookshops, author visits and book fairs.

Early Reading and Phonics

We believe that all of our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Nursery and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised 2021: Programme progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

Certain key features characterise the phonics teaching: 

  • direct teaching in frequent, short bursts
  • consistency of approach
  • secure, systematic progression in phonics learning
  • maintaining pace of learning
  • providing repeated practice
  • application of phonics using matched decodable books
  • early identification of children at risk of falling behind, linked to the provision of effective
    keep-up support.

Through the vehicle of our chosen phonics programme, Little Wandle, we ensure that children learn the necessary grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs)  to read new and familiar words and then apply this knowledge to sentence level reading. Following phonics lessons, which entail revision and teaching of new GPCs, children practise segmenting words into known individual phonemes and then blending them to read the words in new and familiar books. Rigorous, regular assessment is employed to identify children who need additional support to ‘keep-up’. 

Starting in Reception, we teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. These are taught by a trained adult to small groups and use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books. In Year 2 and KS2, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books. 

Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills: decoding, prosody (teaching children to read with understanding and expression) and comprehension (teaching children to understand the text). 

Click here to see our Phonics and Early Reading Scheme.  

Reading at home

We encourage and assist parents and carers to support their children to read at home as this can have a huge impact on their reading journey. There are three types of reading book that the children bring home:

  • A "Little Wandle" online reading practice book - this book is matched to the text shared in the child's reading session.
  • A reading practice book - this is a fully decodable book that is matched to their secure phonic knowledge and will help develop fluency and confidence in reading. If your child is reading it with little help, please don’t worry that it’s too easy – your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading. Listen to them read the book. Remember to give them lots of praise – celebrate their success! If they can’t read a word, read it to them. After they have finished, talk about the book together.
  • A sharing book - to enjoy with somebody at home (this can be read with, or to, the child) - discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters, explore the facts in a non-fiction book and, most importantly, have fun!

Follow the link for further information about how you can help your child at home with phonics and early reading. Click here for the key information presented during at the 'Phonics and Early Reading' parent workshop. 

Year 2 Reading

Any children in Year 2 who have not ‘met the necessary phonic standard in Year 1’ are part of an intervention group to boost their phonic knowledge and word building skills. They also have Little Wandle reading practice sessions that are delivered at least three times a week. This is taught by a trained member of staff using phonetically decodable books at their instructional level.  

After children secure their ability to read phonically decodable texts and develop as independent readers, we widen their understanding of reading by teaching the use of a wider range of reading skills to support comprehension.  Children at this stage have daily reading sessions in Year 2 using aspects of the KS2 whole-class reading model. All reading sessions have a specific teaching point based on the content domain along with a focus on improving children’s reading fluency. Teachers choose the books which children read in the sessions carefully, and in advance, so that they reflect the teaching point, as well as being current, inspirational, reflect diversity and are of an appropriate level. Teachers also consider the book’s ‘reading age’ and assess the stamina needed to read that book. 

Home Reading

Once children have reached Phase 5, they then take a Oxford Reading Tree / levelled book according to their reading ability.  Children’s progress is continually reviewed to ensure they are quickly moved onto the next level when their fluency and understanding show that they are ready. Teachers use benchmarking materials to assist them with this. Additionally, children are encouraged to take home a book to enjoy reading with an adult to increase their enjoyment of reading and exposure to a wide range of authors. 

KS2 Reading

In KS2, we use aspects of the Destination Reader model which is an approach to teaching reading which can be applied to all texts. It focuses on:

  • Key reading strategies which support comprehension

  • Learning behaviours which support dialogue

There is a clear, consistent structure for daily reading lessons which encompasses the key principles of effective reading provision and fully meets the requirements of the National Curriculum. Children receive daily lessons incorporating whole class modelling prior to the children applying these skills through partner work and independent reading. Children deepen their understanding of the texts they read through the systematic use of a series of strategies and language stems. High quality discussions are at the heart of the approach. All children get the opportunity to analyse, discuss and respond to texts in a variety of ways. Through careful planning, we make sure that all children are exposed to a wide range of genres and text types.  Lessons are engaging, with a big emphasis on fostering reading for pleasure and purpose.

Additional Reading Opportunities

There are additional opportunities for targeted children to read 1:1 and in small groups with trained adults throughout the day.  We also run “The Lightning Squad” reading tutoring programme where small groups of pupils work with a tutor every day to improve their reading skills, fluency, comprehension, spelling and phonics.

Storytime

There is a designated additional story time at the end of the day which focuses on enjoyment and coverage of a wide range of texts. The books offer opportunities to learn from different perspectives and experiences with the aim to engage and reflect all children’s backgrounds and cultures.

Independent Reading

All children in KS2 have an Oxford Reading Tree Scheme (ORT) book which matches their reading level. Children can also have another book of their choice from the library, classroom, or home to read at the same time.

DEAR (Drop Everything And Read)

At least once a week, children have DEAR time for 30 minutes. The purpose is:

  • To increase children’s reading stamina
  • For teachers to check and support good book choices, ensuring children are reading a book at the correct instructional level and from a range of genres
  • For teachers to look at home-reading diaries and encourage children to comment on what they have read

Reading at home

We encourage and assist parents and carers to support their children to read at home as this can have a huge impact on their reading journey. This is by:

  • Encouraging their child to read as often as possible (we’d like children to read five times a week for at least 20 minutes per day)
  • Reading to their child (to model fluency and prosody)
  • Asking questions to support their child’s understanding (click on the link to see example questions linked to the reading strategies we teach in class)

 

We are aspiring writers! 

At Southville Primary School we aspire to be effective communicators. Our literacy curriculum will inspire and equip pupils to write to entertain, to discuss, to persuade, to explain and to inform.  Literacy is the lifelong experience of using, shaping, enriching, refining and enjoying language.  We help to lay the foundations for the enjoyment and effective use of language which is so necessary for our children’s working lives and beyond.

We will do this by:

  • Providing a supportive, stimulating and secure environment where children are encouraged to express themselves and where their literacy contributions are valued. 
  • Developing children’s ability to use language to think, to explore and to communicate their ideas, both orally and in writing.  
  • Helping children to understand and respond imaginatively to what they hear, read and experience in a variety of media. 
  • Inspiring their appreciation and enjoyment of literature, sharing high quality texts as models of good writing.
  • Providing opportunities to write for a variety of purposes and audiences in a variety of styles and forms appropriate to the situation.
  • Encouraging children to use their imagination and inventiveness in their writing, as well as teaching them the subject content they need to draw on. 
  • Helping children to communicate effectively, both verbally and non-verbally, through a variety of dramatic activities, including the communication of their ideas, views and feelings.
  • Cultivating an interest in words and their meanings, developing a growing and explorative vocabulary in both spoken and written forms.
  • Developing children’s critical awareness and strategies for self-monitoring, editing and improving their own work. 
  • Setting high expectations of standards in literacy across the curriculum, recognising its importance for communicating and learning in all subjects.
  • Delivering a carefully-structured spelling program with weekly spelling lists taken from the National Curriculum, as well as vocabulary specific to the topics taught.
  • Teaching spelling strategies, patterns and rules to help children develop their independence in encoding unfamiliar words.  

Our Approach

Writing is taught within our immersive curriculum and is the key focus. Children can use the knowledge, vocabulary and content learnt in foundation subjects to assist and inspire their writing. When children are in a ‘writing’ part of their learning journey, lessons provide the building blocks and skills children will need to be successful in a particular genre. To learn more about how we teach writing at the school, including grammar, punctuation and spelling, click here.

Disadvantaged and minority groups

Our inclusive curriculum is designed to nurture the creativity all pupils. We facilitate a very broad range of experiences through the immersive curriculum and use these to inspire writing and creativity. For instance we do not assume the children have visited or seen Egyptian tombs. We allow the children to create and build ‘tombs’ in school, as part of the Year 4 topic (DT) and then use this ‘live’ experience, to stimulate and inform their writing.