Phonics and Early Reading
At Travis St Lawrence, we are passionate about reading and we feel that reading is at the centre of our curriculum.
We believe in the importance of developing children’s phonics skills as early readers, moving onto comprehension skills when children are ready. We understand the importance to develop children’s love of books and reading.
We prioritise reading
The Head Teacher, along with other senior leaders, prioritises reading at Travis St Lawrence CE Primary. The Head Teacher meets regularly with the dedicated Reader Leader, to discuss priorities in training, analyse data and look at ways forward. The Head Teacher gives the Reading Leader and staff the time and opportunity for training. Phonics training has been prioritised, along with regular coaching and support for those new to teaching. The budget has been prioritised to develop two new library spaces at each site with new, exciting books.
We love to read!
The love of reading is promoted widely across school.
Research shows that reading for pleasure has a positive impact on children’s attainment in reading assessments. Children who read for pleasure have enhanced levels of text comprehension, an increased knowledge of grammar and show improvement in their writing. They also have more positive attitudes towards reading than peers. The advantages of reading for pleasure go beyond academic achievement:
‘Other benefits include an increased breadth of vocabulary, pleasure in reading in later life, a better understanding of other cultures, better general knowledge and even ‘a greater insight into human nature’.
Reading for Pleasure: A research overview, National Literacy Trust, 2006
At Travis, we promote reading for pleasure. We do this in the following ways:
- Every teacher is an advocate for reading and often recommend their own favourite books to children.
- Reading and books are at the centre of the curriculum, with our 'Reading Roads' with core texts selected
- We plan time in for all children to read independently, read aloud and be read to during the school day.
- We arrange visits to the local library, where the children have the opportunity to become members.
- We arrange visits from local authors.
- We celebrate World Book Day every year with new exciting themes each year.
- We pair children up with ‘buddies’ in different classes, which gives them the opportunity to read with other children and share their love of reading.
- Class teachers read a ‘core text’ to their children daily. This gives children the opportunity to listen to new vocabulary and get lost in stories.
- Every term, the whole school studies an exciting and thought provoking picture book - linked to our values and wider curriculum offer.
- Trained reading buddies read with younger children (this was paused due to Covid restrictions - in place Summer 2022)
Core texts are read daily to children by the teacher. This gives the teacher chance to emphasise their story voice and illustrate their excitement at sharing new stories. The teacher chooses their books carefully to ensure that the texts are of high quality and age appropriate. Reading corners have been developed to promote a love of reading. Each week, every class takes part in 'love to read' sessions, including using the school library for this (KS2).
In addition to this, we display recommended books, to encourage children to want to read them. At Travis, each class has a bespoke display to promote reading at home. We regularly promote reading at home via newsletters and open evenings.
Content and sequencing of reading supports progress for all children
At Travis, we believe that every child should finish the reception year able to read. We use the Read Write Inc (RWI) program as our systematic synthetic phonics program. Phonics is taught from the very beginning of Foundation Stage 2. If children are ready, some of the sounds are taught from the Summer term of Foundation Stage 1. We believe that a strong start in Reception has a big impact on children’s progress and confidence in reading. By the end of the Foundation Stage, we want children to be able to read all of the Set 1 and Set 2 sounds in words. Children are identified from an the beginning if they are falling behind.
Read Write Inc Phonics is a method of teaching reading and writing, which is centered around learning the sounds of the letters (phonics) and then blending them together to read words. The children also learn to break down words into individual sounds in order to write them.
How does RWI work at Travis?
The children in EYFS and KS1 are assessed by the RWI leader and grouped according to their ability.
They work in small groups with teachers and teaching assistants every day. At the end of each half term the children will be assessed again to check they have made progress and will be grouped again.
When using RWI to read the children will:
- Learn to read effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into understanding what they read.
- Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts.
- Learn to read words using Fred Talk.
- Learn to read words by blending the sounds together.
- Read lively stories featuring words they have learnt to sound out.
- Show that they understand the stories by answering ‘Find It’ and ‘Prove it’ discussion questions.
When using RWI to write the children will:
- Spell effortlessly so that they can put their energy into working out what they want to write.
- Learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds (graphemes).
- Learn to write words by saying the sounds in Fred Talk.
- Learn to write simple and then increasingly complex sentences.
- Write dictated sentences working on sentence structure.
- Compose a range of texts using discussion prompts.
- Write simple sentences.
When using ‘Read Write Inc’ the children work in pairs to:
- Answer questions to practise every activity.
- Take turns talking to each other.
- Give positive praise to each other.
Children learn to read words by blending the letter-sounds that are in the Speed Sound sets.
Help your child learn to read words by sound-blending e.g. c-a-t = cat
Help children to say the pure sounds, as quickly as they can, and then to blend the sounds together to say the whole word.
How can I support at home?
You can help your child at home by practicing their sounds regularly using their speed sounds book. Your child will also bring home two books each week which will contain sounds that they already know. Please read with them 3 times per week and record in their reading record. Every book your child brings home with be carefully matched to their phonic knowledge.
You can help your child with their reading by:
- Looking at books together and talking what is happening in the pictures or asking questions
- Reading books to your child and listening to them read
- Talking to your child and introducing them to new and ambitious vocabulary e.g. “munch”, “scoff” or “devour” instead of “eat”
- Knowing the 44 sounds and how to pronounce them (Please click here for a pronunciation guide)
Further information and helpful videos can be found here.
Here are the sounds from set 1 to set 3
A love of reading...
All children will go to our school library once a week and bring a 'bedtime' book home. These will help develop vocabulary and also instill a love of reading within children. Please take time to share these as a family and enjoy! See below for some tips on how to share these books.
What happens if a child falls behind?
Although our intention is for children to ‘keep up’, not ‘catch up’, if the Reading Leader identifies that any children are falling behind, plans are immediately put in place to support catch up. If needed, children are also assessed in KS2.
The Reader Leader quickly identifies children who are falling behind and discusses them with the class teacher. Children are assessed every six weeks, but they can be assessed sooner than this, if the Reader Leader or teacher thinks this is necessary. The Reader Leader puts together a plan for these children and shares these with the teachers and teaching assistants..
- The daily phonics lesson is taught robustly.
- The child has 1:1 daily phonics tutoring every afternoon - this is recorded on the intervention record.
Staff are early reading experts...
All relevant staff, from nursery to KS2, have been trained in RWI phonics. The Reader Leader has led training for staff, including coaching and team teaching, where required.
How can parents get involved?
Involving families is an important part of our reading culture. Results of international reading studies have shown that children who are supported in their reading at home are more likely to enjoy reading and tend to achieve more highly at school. We want our children to read at home through choice. For this to happen, we engage with families to extend the culture of reading that the school has developed. Strategies include:
- Parents and grandparents regularly volunteer come in to school and listen to children read.
- We offer advice and printable materials on our school website, along with input from individual class teachers on dojo and open evenings.
- Each class has a display to motivate pupils to read regularly at home.
- Our school target is for children to read at least three times a week.
- All pupils regularly take home a RWI phonics book that is matched to their phonics ability and a book for pleasure. When children move off the RWI programme, they are moved onto our colour banded system.