The Glebe Primary School’s Approach to Reading
Early Years Foundation Stage (Nursery and Reception)
To be able to read, children need to be taught an efficient strategy to decode words. That strategy is phonics. At The Glebe Primary, we follow Little Wandle Letters & Sounds Revised as our chosen phonics programme: this is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme, which allows our children to develop their language and communication skills from entering Nursery. Our phonics programme ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. At The Glebe Primary, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects and some children at The Glebe Primary need this as a focus in the Early Years to allow them to be successful readers.
Foundations for phonics in Nursery
We provide a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for ‘Communication and language’ and ‘Literacy’, using Little Wandle Foundations for Phonics.
- sharing high-quality stories and poems
- learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes
- activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending
- attention to high-quality language.
We ensure Nursery children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception.
Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1
We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.
Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term.
We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress:
- Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
- Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.
Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read
Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.
We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 or 3 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics Screening Check. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the keep-up resources – at pace.
Teaching reading: Reading practice
We teach children to read using books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and closely matched Collins Big Cat Phonics books.
When teachers, or another fully trained adult, are listening to a child read, it is important that the child is reading at a fluency of 90% to avoid overloading the children’s working memory. They will focus on three key reading skills:
- prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
- comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.
In Reception, Year 1 and in the Autumn Term of Year 2, children practise their reading using a closely matched Collins Big Cat book, which is assigned to them by their teacher. Where children are assinged their reading practice book, they will be able to read this book at 95% fluency. This is clearly communicated with parents when their child starts Reception, and again throughout Years 1 and 2, and they understand that their role, at home, is to listen with interest and to encourage and praise, enthusiastically.
Once a child is confident in decoding and can read fluently and with meaning, they will move on to our banded reading scheme; this scheme is a mixture of Collins reading scheme books initially and then appropriately level, real books. This scheme, alongside other opportunities for reading in school, helps further support each child’s reading journey and promotes reading for pleasure. As children move through school, staff will decide when to move a child from the reading scheme onto an independent reading book from a choice of books available.
If any child in Years 3 to 6 has gaps in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing, we plan phonics ‘catch-up’ lessons to address specific gaps. These short, sharp lessons last 10 minutes and take place at least twice-weekly.
Reading beyond Phonics
We value reading for pleasure highly and are working hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy. Class Teachers read a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry to their classes for enjoyment and to immerse them in a variety of rich language, allowing them to appreciate our varied literary heritage. We teach reading skills using VIPERS principles from Year 3 – Year 6, with Year 2 beginning to access this in the Spring Term with small groups.
In order for a child to become a lifelong reader, we encourage families to read for pleasure from an early age: the desire of wanting to read will help with the skill of reading. To help foster a love of reading, we encourage parents to read to their children on a regular basis (both fiction and non-fiction), talking about the pictures, the content and enjoying the story. We encourage parents and carers to borrow books to read for pleasure in Early Years and key stage 1.
VIPERS is an acronym to aid the recall of the 6 reading domains as part of the National Curriculum for reading. They are the key areas which we feel children need to know and understand in order to improve their comprehension of texts.
VIPERS stands for:
- Sequence or Summarise
The six domains focus on the comprehension aspect of reading and is a method of ensuring that teachers ask, and children are familiar with, a range of questions. They allow the teacher to track the types of questions asked and the children’s responses to these, which allows for targeted questioning to be planned.
In Years 3–6, teachers plan and deliver two or three 30-minute whole-class VIPERS sessions per week. In Early Years and Year 1, reading sessions focus on vocabulary development, prediction and sequencing. As children move into the Spring Term of Year 2, they begin to access VIPERS sessions through smaller group reading sessions.
Within our curriculum delivery, there
are several key themes that we look to develop in children as they progress through school:
- letters and sounds
- word reading
- range of books and reading
- vocabulary, language and structure
- understanding and comprehension
- inference, deduction and prediction
- discussion and viewpoints
- summary and retrieval of information
- poetry, plays and performance
Our overall aims for the development of children’s reading in school are for children to:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language