Reading & Phonics
Our School Aims
- We aim to enable our pupils to read for enjoyment, confidently, fluently, accurately and with understanding.
- We aim to employ a full range of reading cues – phonic, graphic, syntactic, contextual – to monitor, correct and make sense of their own reading e.g. miscue analysis.
- We aim to foster an interest in words and their meanings and to gain an appreciation of books from a variety of genres.
- We aim to enable the children to find books interesting, to read with enjoyment and to evaluate and justify their preferences.
- We aim to develop a suitable technical vocabulary through which to understand and discuss their reading.
- We aim to develop reading skills in tandem with those of writing, so that they may function in society, as literate adults and readers for life.
- We aim to create reading opportunities across all areas of the curriculum, to make it more meaningful and relevant to the children.
For more information on phonics please view this document.
Principles for the teaching and learning of reading
In order to deliver the above, we will meet the national curriculum objectives. This will ensure that all children are given opportunities to study a range of good quality and interesting fiction and non-fiction texts from a variety of genre. They will have the opportunity to read ‘real’ books and newspapers, big books, posters, ICT based texts, on individual computers and interactive whiteboards, large texts, information booklets, banded guided reading materials, reading schemes and literacy use of media text.
Strategies for the teaching of reading
At Mead Vale Primary School, reading is taught alongside letters and sounds initially. This initiative promotes a strong and systematic emphasis on the teaching of synthetic phonics to aid the teaching and learning of reading. As part of this scheme the children will be taught to:
- Discriminate between the separate sounds in words.
- Learn the letters and letter combinations most commonly used to spell sounds.
- Read words by sounding out and blending their separate parts.
- Study written representations of a sound and how it looks.
- Recognise on sight vocabulary identified as ‘Sight words’.
Reading is taught through shared reading sessions, guided reading sessions and opportunities to practise and consolidate skills through independent reading. During these sessions, teachers / teaching assistants / reading partners will use a wide range of strategies to try and enhance the teaching of reading. Some of these are outlined below:
- Modelling and discussing the features of written texts through shared reading of texts.
- Giving direction to develop key strategies in reading.
- Demonstration – e.g. how to use punctuation when reading, using a shared text.
- Explanation to clarify and discuss e.g. need for grammatical agreement when proof reading.
- Questioning – to probe pupil’s understanding of text.
- Investigation of ideas – to understand, expand on or generalise about themes and structures in fiction and non-fiction.
- Discussion and argument – to justify preference.
- Provision of a wide range of fiction and non-fiction genres, for the children to choose from.
Strategies to enhance the learning of reading
We believe that in order for children to foster an enjoyment of reading and in order for them to have an understanding of the texts they read, they must be at the centre of their own learning. Some of the strategies used to enhance this independent learning are outlined below:
- We are aware that all children have individual and preferred learning styles. Therefore we aim to provide children with a range of visual, kinaesthetic and auditory experiences, which will enhance and improve their reading skills
- Children will be made aware of / involved in determining the learning focus of the reading session and will have a clear understanding of what the teacher / teaching assistant is looking for in their reading / analysis of the text.
- Children will be given oral and / or written feedback about their reading, in order to help them develop specific aspects of it further, aiding progression.
- Children will be given opportunities to self assess their own reading. This not only promotes independence, but also assists in their reading development.
- Reading tasks / books will be appropriately matched to individual abilities and needs in the classroom (differentiation).
Opportunities for reading
Shared Reading: The whole class shares a text, which is beyond their independent reading levels, often using an enlarged text (paper or ICT based). Shared reading provides a context for teacher modelling, teaching and applying reading skills (word, sentence and text level).
Guided Reading: Guided reading takes place in a small group, with a teacher or teaching assistant, and focuses on developing children’s ability to become independent readers, thinkers and learners. The children are grouped by ability and read individual copies of the same text, which matches the reading level of the group. Texts are selected from the schools guided reading schemes or using ‘real’ books. Guided reading with KS1 uses a combination of phonics work (to promote children’s blending and decoding skills) and other guided reading schemes (to promote comprehension). The teacher / teaching assistant shares the key objective(s) for the session with pupils, assesses pupils progress within the session, and records the outcomes on guided reading assessment formats, which are kept in the teachers files. Evidence is recorded according to guided reading progression documents.
Independent Reading Time: Children read material which interests them, to assist them in fostering a genuine love of reading and help them to appreciate its value. During this time teachers complete a guided reading session with a group.
Story Time: Texts that are age appropriate and of interest to the children are read aloud by the teacher. We believe that giving children the opportunity to hear and adult / teacher read to them, develops a child’s ability to comment on and respond to events and experiences within a text. These sessions also allow the teacher to check a child’s comprehension, by asking literal and inferential questions, which aid deeper understanding of the plot and themes of the story, also increasing their vocabulary.
Library Skills: Children access the library for research purposes, when appropriate, developing skills needed to locate and effectively use information.
Home / School Reading: From reception children take home book banded (colour-coded) reading books, which are suitable for their reading ability (these books are often from a range of reading schemes) to read at home and in school during independent reading time. When children have progressed through all book bands the children join the ‘Accelerated Reader’ program.
Reading Partners: We are fortunate at Mead Vale to have several members of staff dedicated to the improvement of reading across the school. Our reading partners work specifically with our pupil premium children to ensure that all of our children have the opportunity to excel in reading. Reading sessions typically last 20-30 minutes and involve 1:1 reading support.
Reading Buddies: We have a dedicated team of parent helper that come into school weekly to read with a range of children. This opportunity not only helps to develop the child’s fluency and understanding of a text, but also allows them to build on their interpersonal and social skills.
Parental Involvement: Parents are urged to share books with their children and hear their children read at home. Parents are encouraged to use the reading prompts and make relevant comments about their child’s reading or understanding in their reading record book. We encourage all of our children to read at least three times a week.
Big Read Week: During the penultimate week of each term the school promotes a ‘Big Read Week’, were children are encouraged and recognised for reading every day (seven times) and additional fun, whole school reading activities are organised.
AR is a computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Children choose a book at their own level and reads it at their own pace. When finished, children take a short quiz on the computer - passing the quiz is an indication that children have understood what has been read.
Children using AR choose their own books to read within a designated reading ‘zone’, rather than having one assigned to them. This makes reading a much more enjoyable experience as they feel in control and can choose books that are interesting to them.
Teachers, the librarian or an LSA will help your child choose books that are at an appropriate reading level. These will be challenging without being frustrating and will also be at a level at which children can pass the quizzes and experience success.
Our children LOVE Accelerated Reader. This is shown not only through their daily enthusiasm and engagement, but also in our 2014-2015 SATS reading results.
There is a fantastic amount of information about the Accelerated Reader program on the website.
We have also produced a really useful parent guide to help you understand how the program works in our school.
You can view our Accelerated Reader Parent Guide here.
Strategies for Recording and Reporting
- Every term, children’s reading skills are assessed. Each teacher is able to gauge the child’s strengths, areas for development and the progress made, and use this to plan future provision.
- We use the Cornerstones materials to assess pupil’s reading development.
Strategies for use of Resources
- Teachers will provide a language rich environment with inviting and well resourced reading areas in our KS1 & year 3 classrooms, and full access to ‘Accelerated Reader’ in Year 4 and upper KS2 classes, in order to promote and create an enthusiasm for reading.
- Reading resources (for shared, guided, home and individual reading) will be updated yearly, as necessary, following an audit of need. Reading resources which are damaged or out-dated, making them unappealing to primary age pupils, will no longer be used, and will be removed from book shelves.
- A range of visual and auditory resources will be used in the teaching or reading to ensure all learning styles of the children are being addresses.
The Reading Scheme
‘The more that you read, the more things you’ll know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go’ - Dr Seuss ‘I Can Read With My Eyes Shut’
We use two reading schemes at Mead Vale Primary School, a book banded scheme for our KS1 Children and some of our children in year 3; and ’Accelerated Reader’ for our KS2 Children. Our book banded scheme has been carefully created using a variety of books designed specifically for schools by publishers including - Oxford University Press, Collins, PM, Pierson and Pelican. Our Accelerated Reader library has been created using ‘real books’, or books you would most commonly find in your local book store.
Book Bands & Accelerated Reader Levels
There are general guidelines about which book bands should be covered within each academic year and at various reading ages. This table demonstrates our school approach to moving between each band.
By the end of Term 1 in year 2, children working at the average level should be reading books in turquoise or purple bands. Please remember however that children learn in different ways and make progress at different times. It is possible that there may be seven year olds on book band red and five year olds on book band turquoise.
As a rough guide, children are expected to reach the highest level (lime) at seven or eight years old. After this age, children who read above lime level transfer to Accelerated Reader and are able to access a wider range of material. Books are arranged in ‘levels’ according to difficulty and vary in a number of ways, including layout, size, vocabulary and length, to give the children a rich diet of literature. It is important that children are able to choose what they would like to read and learn to do this independently.
Progress through the book bands and Accelerated Reader levels is not automatic and it is important to ensure that children working in the early bands have secure understanding before they move on to more challenging texts. This is particularly important for children at the early stages of learning English as an additional language. We acknowledge that this also needs to be balanced with maintaining motivation.
The difference between each colour band in the reading scheme and each level in Accelerated reader, is very gradual, so that children do not experience great difficulty moving up through the bands.
Obviously this guidance can only give a rough idea of the right reading level for your child. There will be a wide range of reading abilities in any school year. As a rough guide, children should be able to read at least 90% of the words on the page without any problem. If the book is too easy, they can become bored. If it’s too difficult, they can become frustrated, and may have to concentrate so hard on reading the words that they lose the enjoyment of understanding the story.
A word of caution! You will be doing your child no favours if you rush them through books. It is not a race, it is a journey! Children learn at different rates just as they learn many other skills. Reading should not be treated as a competition. If children are rushed through the books in a scheme, they will not achieve the enjoyment and understanding necessary. Books that they find too difficult will soon put them off reading!
How can you help at home? These are important things to remember…
- Listen to your child read every day.
- Little and often is more beneficial than a long session once a week.
- Think about how long you are reading for - the amount of reading time shouldn’t exceed your child’s span of attention.
- Pick your timing carefully - it’s best not to embark on a reading session when your child is tired.
- Every child is an individual - try not to compare your child’s progress with other children or with brothers and sisters.
- Make reading together a special time of your day. Showing your child how much you enjoy listening to them read and engage in their books will do wonders for improving their confidence and enjoyment of reading!
A Closer Look At The Book Bands…
Pink book band– stage 1
For children just starting to read. Children are getting used to reading from left to right and matching spoken words to written words. Usually no more than 10 pages with up to 5 words on a page.Books in this band are aligned to Phase 2 Letters and Sounds.
Red book band – stage 1+ and 2
The second step up the ladder as children gain a little more confidence and may know some words by sight. Usually no more than 15 pages with 1 sentence per page. Books in this band are aligned approximately with Phase 3 Letters and Sounds.
Yellow book band – stage 3
Children are beginning to read more varied sentence structures and taking some note of punctuation. Usually no more than 15 pages with 1 or 2 sentences per page. Books in the yellow band are aligned with Phases 3/ 4 of Letters and Sounds.
Blue book band – stage 4
Children are becoming more confident at reading longer and more varied sentences. Usually no more than 15 pages with 2 or 3 sentences per page. Books in the blue band are aligned with Phases 4/ 5 of Letters and Sounds.
Green book band – stage 5
Children are starting to read quite fluently and take note of punctuation. Usually about 20 pages with 3 or 4 sentences per page. Books in this band are aligned with Phase 5 of Letters and Sounds.
Orange book band – stage 6
Children are starting to read longer and more complex sentences and can understand a range of punctuation. Usually about 20 pages with 4 or 5 sentences per page. Books in the orange band are aligned with Phases 5/ 6 of Letters and Sounds.
Turquoise book band – stage 7
Children can read complex sentences fairly fluently, taking note of punctuation. They use expression and do not rely on illustrations to help them. Usually about 20 pages with 4 or 5 sentences per page. Books in this band are aligned with Phases 5/ 6 of Letters and Sounds.
Purple book band – stage 8
Children might read silently or quietly at quite a rapid pace, taking note of punctuation. Usually about 25 pages with 5 to 10 sentences per page. Books in the purple band are aligned with Phase 6 of Letters and Sounds.
Gold book band – stage 9
Children might read silently or quietly at quite a rapid pace, taking note of punctuation, there is a growth in independent reading. Usually about 25 pages with 5 to 10 sentences per page. Books in this band are aligned with Phase 6 of Letters and Sounds.
White book band – stage 10
Books might have chapters. Children will read silently most of the time. They are interested in longer texts which they can return to easily after a break. Usually no more than 30 pages and about 10 sentences per page. Books are no longer aligned with Letters and Sounds Phases.
Lime book band – stage 11
Books might have chapters. Children will read silently most of the time. They are interested in longer texts which they can return to easily after a break. Readers start to read more reflectively and begin to use expression and intonation naturally. Usually more than 30 pages.