Reading & Phonics
Reading is a priority for the school. We are passionate in our belief and our work to ensure that all children leave our school, not only with excellent reading skills, fluency and comprehension, but with a of love books and reading. We follow the RWI (Read Write INC) scheme for teaching phonics from reception to year 2 and into keystage 2 for those children who may still need it. In Keystage 2 teachers develop children's fluency and comprehension skills during dedicated reading lessons using high quality, inspiring and diverse texts. Reading is woven through the entire day at The Willow with timetabled story time, attractive well stocked book corners, independent reading time, supported 1:1 and guided reading and library sessions.
At the Willow we follow the RWI phonics teaching programme.
Read Write Inc. Phonics is a DfE-validated systematic synthetic phonics programme with a whole school approach to teaching early reading and writing, designed to ensure progress for every child. Children learn to read sounds and blend them into words. They apply this phonic knowledge to read and comprehend Storybooks that are carefully matched to the sounds they know. Children learn to read these books with a storyteller’s voice. The aim of Read Write Inc. Phonics is for children to learn to read early.
Children in reception, years 1 & 2 are assessed and grouped according to their phonetic ability. All staff in these year groups teach RWI enabling us to reduce group sizes to anything between 6-15 children per group. Children have a dedicated 30 minute phonics lesson 4 days a week. Most children in year 2 will be reading fluently and have moved off the RWI phonics scheme about halfway through year 2.
Some children in years 3-6 may also get additional RWI phonics lessons if this is still needed to help them learn their sounds and become fluent readers.
The way we say and teach the sounds in phonics may be different than how you, as adults, were taught when you were younger. It is really important that each sound is pronounced correctly when helping your child with their reading at home.
Please click here to watch a video that will show you the correct sounds.
In years 3-6 children have a dedicated 30 minute reading lesson 4 days a week.
These lessons are designed to help children develop their knowledge and understanding of the books they read. The lessons cover the reading domains as set out in the national curriculum, some examples of these are: retrieval, inference, summarising, predicting. The texts studied in the lessons have been specifically selected to extend children's vocabulary, to ensure strong representation of diversity, to link with other learning the children are doing and are drawn from texts the children are having read to them at story time.
In addition to the dedicated reading and phonics lessons English lessons also have text and reading foci built into the units of learning.
Reading at Home
All children are expected to read at home every day for at least 15 minutes. Where children are younger and in the earlier stages of reading this should be with an adult.
Reception, Year 1 & Year 2
Children in these year groups have two books to take home. One is a RWI home reading book that matches exactly the phonics the child is learning about in their RWI lessons. This helps the children to practice and consolidate the sounds and words they have already learnt and the ones any new ones they have just been taught.
The second book is a free choice from the class library, this is a book they have chosen for an adult, or older sibling, to read to them or to share together. When children in year 2 have successfully completed RWI and are beginning to read fluently, they will move onto our Accelerated Reader scheme, see below.
Years 3, 4, 5 & 6
Children who are able to read with more fluency are signed onto Accelerated Reader (AR). AR uses real books so children are able to select from a wide range finding books that interest them at their reading level. AR books are banded according to the approximate reading age of a child, so for example the vocabulary becomes more complex and demanding the higher the bands go.
When first joining AR, and then annually, children are assessed on the AR programme. They will be assessed on both their ability to read words and to understand and answer questions about what they have read. This assessment will then place the child at a specific band and the child can then choose any books they would like to read from that band. Once they have finished the book they complete an online quiz which assesses how well they have understood the book. The more they read they more they progress through the bands.