English - Reading
“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
– Philip Pullman
At Ambler, we want all of our children to be confident, inquisitive and aspirational. To achieve this, we prioritise reading and view this as the foundation for motivated and independent learners.
We strive for our children to be:
- Fluent readers who can draw meaning from texts
- Passionate about reading a range of different text types
- Intrigued and inspired by stories about people and the world
- Informed by texts, both in school and in their home reading
- Confident when talking about what they have read
We aim for all of our children to develop the skills and drive to be life-long readers who enjoy reading for pleasure and to learn more about the world.
Children are first taught to read through phonics in Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). This continues in Key Stage 1 (KS1), where the children continue to receive discrete phonics lessons until they are able to effectively decode. In both Reception and KS1, the children also have reading practice sessions, where they are able to apply their reading skills to texts that match their reading level.
In Key Stage 2 (KS2), reading is taught with a clear focus on specific reading skills with carefully chosen texts that enrich the children’s vocabulary and develop comprehension skills. Where possible, these texts relate to the curriculum, which can be seen in our Curriculum Overviews (ABC Ambler's BIG Curriculum). Through shared and modelled reading, teachers demonstrate fluency and ‘think aloud’ about the text, making predictions, discussing new vocabulary and the meaning of a text. Within these lessons, children also work on their reading stamina and practise a range of key reading skills appropriate for their year group, such as retrieval of information, inference and summarising.
At Ambler, children start their day with the phonics or reading lesson and have additional opportunities to read independently or listen to stories during the rest of the school day. Whole class read-aloud texts and free choice books in the class book corners ensure children have exposure to a diverse range of genres and authors.
Phonics is taught through the systematic, synthetic phonics programme Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. This phonics programme provides a rigorous and consistent approach to teaching phonics and early reading.
In Reception, children have daily phonics sessions, with plenty of opportunities to practise oral blending. Children learn the Phase 2 and 3 Grapheme-Phoneme Correspondence (GPCs) in Autumn and Spring and move onto Phase 4 in the summer term. Within the phonics sessions, the children are also taught to read ‘tricky words’. Watch the video to find out more about tricky words and how we teach these.
In year 1, the children start by revising Phases 2, 3 and 4 before moving quickly onto Phase 5. This final phase teaches the rest of the alphabetic code and by the end, children should be able to confidently decode all words to read fluently. Phase 5 is revisited at the start of year 2 to consolidate the children’s decoding skills.
READING PRACTICE SESSIONS
In Reception, Year 1 and the start of year 2, the children have reading practice sessions. These are small group sessions that take place 3 times a week and focus on the following skills:
- Decoding - reading words from the text and discussing meaning
- Prosody - using expression and intonation
- Comprehension - discussing content and answering questions about the book
The sessions always focus on developing fluency in reading (trying not to sound out words aloud) so that reading is smoother and the children can improve their understanding of the text as they read. The children are encouraged to “blend in their heads”.
The children enjoy these reading sessions and are given books that match their phonics and reading level. They read books that contain the sounds and words the children have already been taught. This ensures they can read it with 95% accuracy and it boosts their self-belief and confidence in reading independently.
Children are formally assessed every half term to track progress. This way we can also identify those who need additional support, as well as those who can be challenged.
In KS1, children are also assessed during the daily phonics lesson so that any misconceptions or gaps in knowledge are identified straight away. These can be addressed in appropriate daily ‘keep-up’ sessions. In KS2, children are assessed every Friday with a short independent reading activity to identify what they need to work on and how the teacher can help.
Assessments are also used to help select the correct reading books for the children and this is reviewed every half term, or sooner based on the reading group teacher’s assessments.
Children in Reception and KS1 who need additional support in blending to read, receive additional group ‘keep-up’ intervention in the afternoons. Children who have smaller gaps, such as mis-pronouncing a GPC, receive shorter 1:1 keep-up sessions. This is all supplemented with additional repeated practice in class, such as quick flash-cards during line up time.
Children who are not yet able to decode to read fluently in KS2 receive catch-up phonics interventions and additional reading practice sessions.
SEND children, who need adapted teaching to meet their needs, have small group or 1:1 super-supported phonics sessions with a graduated approach and sensory materials where appropriate. In KS2, there are regular teacher-led small group sessions alongside whole-class lessons in order to provide more individualised support and feedback.
HOME READING AND SUPPORT
Early Years and KS1
Reading at home is one of the best ways to help your child. It will improve their reading ability, enjoyment for stories and can also improve their outcomes across other areas of the curriculum. Children in Reception, Year 1 have two books to read at home each week.
1. Reading Practice Book
This is the Big Cat Collins book that they have read in school with the adult 3 times already. They should be able to read this independently, to their adult at home.
In Reception this is an actual book and in Year 1 this is an ebook.
Repeated practice (re-reading the same thing) helps move learning into the children’s long-term memory and will help them to become more fluent, confident readers.
2. A Sharing Book
This is a book that the children can choose from the class book corner. This is to read and enjoy together, discussing the content, characters and vocabulary. It is a great opportunity to make predictions, use different voices for characters, and explore interesting facts in a non-fiction book. It is a great way to inspire young readers!
Children in year 2 move onto reading longer texts of their choice from the class book corner once they have completed all of the Phase 5 Big Cat Collins books with fluency.
Children in KS2 who have catch-up reading practice sessions are also provided with ebook versions of these texts every week to build on what they are learning in school.
Phonics Home Learning Packs can be provided to parents and carers in Reception and KS1. This can be found on Tapestry in Reception or Google Classroom in Year 1. Parents and carers can also make a request for a printed version. The pack shows the GPCs and words that the children are learning in school that half term.
Years 2 to 6
Children are expected to read at home every night (between 15 to 30 minutes). Depending on your child’s age and ability, this can be done with an adult or independently. However, even if your child is an extremely competent reader, we would encourage you to read with them a few times a week. Your input and interest in their book will have an incredible effect on their ability to acquire new vocabulary and aid their comprehension.
Children are provided with a reading record at the start of the academic year where they can record all the fantastic books they have read and enjoyed. Parents are also encouraged to sign this journal daily and leave comments to communicate any progress or concerns they may have.
Children in Years 2 to 6 have free access to the reading corner in class and can change their book daily (this is often done at the end of the school day). However, we encourage our older children to choose challenging books which may take them longer to complete.
READING FOR PLEASURE
Classroom book corners are stocked with a range of current, diverse texts which children are free to explore and choose from daily. These books can be enjoyed in the classroom, on the playground or at home with you.
We invest in the Reading Road Map Challenge which provides each class with a set of newly published books. This set includes an incredible range of books from a wide variety of genres such as Poetry, Graphic novels, Humour, Sports and Adventure. For every book a child reads, they are awarded with a ‘Golden Ticket’ which puts them in the running to win a prize (a tea party at school/ a local cafe, or a brand new book).
We also have storytime at the end of the day, arrange a variety of author visits and celebrate World Book Day - which the children love!
Little Wandle Phonics:
More information on how we teach phonics and early reading using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised scheme. This parent/carer section of the website includes useful print-outs, how-to videos and guidance on the terminology we use in school.
Website for decodable books that can be read online on a tablet or computer. Speak to the class teacher for log-in information.
Little Wandle Phonics Resources for Home:
Here you can buy phonics flash cards for use at home if you wish to use these. These are suitable for children in year 1 or Reception.
Words for Life:
This site has lots of tips to get children reading; fun stuff to do; book recommendations; ideas for all ages up to the end of KS2. It’s an excellent site! Words for Life
This is an extensive site giving tips on how to share books; book lists & recommendations; catering for all ages. Highly recommended! Book Trust