It has always been our aim at Westwood to create a love for Reading and understand that is not just a subject, but a life of opportunities. From beginning our school, we prepare our children in every way to become a passionate reader and allow them to understand why it is such a valuable skill to have. As well as provide our children with engaging, challenging and inspirational Reading lessons throughout their time at Westwood, we also see Reading as a much wider picture across our curriculum. Whether it is finding out geographical facts about volcanoes or looking at a timeline of historians, we appreciate how Reading is so influential within every subject. We also see Reading as something which should always be celebrated and therefore hold regular themed days such as an annual Roald Dahl Day and World Book Day. School trips, assemblies, whole-class reading, a set library system and a ‘Little Free Library’ are some other examples of how we know our children are getting every opportunity possible to become an amazing reader. Children do not just leave Westwood in Year 6 as knowledgeable readers, but see Reading as something pleasurable and valuable in their lives, which we know will always have a positive impact for every child moving forward.
At Westwood, we see Reading as something valuable throughout the school. We feel Reading creates many opportunities for every child at our school and we want children to experience the pleasure of the subject. We have always valued how much Reading extends children’s imaginations, as well as contributing to how they work in everyday life. We are very clear about what we want our children to achieve in Reading as they move through school and therefore support our children in every way towards reaching these goals.
Read Write Inc.
In Nursery children begin exploring the world around them and asking questions about pictures and objects. Here the children are introduced to the Read Write Inc. signals. Stories are shared with children and discussed using a ‘thinking out loud’ approach. Here Children are encouraged to question and explore stories as well as play games linked to different texts. This is extended when children are introduced to the picture frieze and begin to recognise that each picture is linked to a sound. Their knowledge is built upon through games and provision where they begin to hear words broken into phonemes and graphemes.
In Reception, the children continue to use and learn the Read Write Inc. signals as their knowledge of the picture frieze is recapped and built upon by introducing letter sounds both visual and orally. They also begin to understand how each letter is formed and practise these in sand, water, on big paper, on whiteboards and with playdough during daily handwriting time. Through interactive lessons full of partner work, role-play and drama the children become familiar with the 44 initial sounds. Children develop their ‘Fred talk’ skills from Nursery and play daily ‘Fred Talk’ games to increase their ability to blend initial sounds. Once children are confident in Set 1 sounds, oral blending and decoding and blending CVC words they are introduced to Ditties/storybooks. On entry into Reception, children are taught in their own classes for 5 weeks. After 5 weeks, the children then are assessed on their sound knowledge and oral blending skills and are split into groups dependant on their phonic skill. Thereafter, children are assessed every 3 weeks to identify gaps and to ensure progress. Any children who are identified as to have any gaps in their phonic knowledge receive further 1:1 interventions specifically targeted to their need to help them ‘keep up’.
In Key Stage One, children recap their knowledge of Set 1 sounds and continue to develop their understanding of Set 2 sounds. Children continue their daily handwriting time where they practise new and previously taught sounds. Here, they spend time on spelling rules and letter formation. Lessons follow the same structure to those in Reception and children continue to use the Read Write Inc. signals and praise. Once children are secure with Set 1 and Set 2 sounds and can confidently decode and blend in their heads, they begin to learn Set 3 sounds and continue to build their fluency. Children continue to read phonic books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words and their fluency is developed as they re-read the stories increases. Here, along with a thought-provoking introduction, prompts for thinking out loud and discussion, children are helped to read with a storyteller’s voice. Throughout Key Stage One, the children are assessed every 3 weeks to check their knowledge of new sounds, blending and nonsense words. This assessment then determines which phonic group they are placed in. Any children who are identified as to have any gaps in their phonic knowledge receive further 1:1 interventions specifically targeted to their need to help them ‘keep up’.
We always understand that for a small amount of children, they will not have unlocked the phonics code by the time they reach Key Stage 2 and it is therefore necessary to continue learning Set 1,2 and 3 sounds and develop their fluency skills. These children will receive 1:1 tailored phonics sessions daily where they learn news sounds, consolidate previously taught sounds and read sounds in words. Children continue to read phonic books that closely match their growing phonic knowledge and ‘tricky’ words and they continue to develop their fluency through re-reading stories, playing jump in and timed reads. Following on from Key Stage One, children continue to be assessed every 3 weeks to inform their 1:1 lessons and ensure continued progress.
When children have completed the ReadWriteInc. programme, which for many children is during Year 2, children are given more of a comprehension focus in how they learn. We want our children to experience a variety of different texts and genres, therefore have a set of reading lists in place for each year group to work through. Teachers introduce texts to children that they know will engage, challenge and create a love for Reading. If necessary, teachers may choose to use texts that relate to their current Learning Adventure, however, they mostly consider what reading skills their particular year group will be gaining from these texts. Text types for each year group can be found in school and on the Westwood Primary School website.
Reading lessons take place 4 times per week from Year 2 to Year 6 and always consist of a comprehension focus. However, we want our children to see this as much more than just answering questions about texts, but opportunities for discussion, self-reflection and understanding. Teachers always plan their lessons with particular skills in mind, many of which they get from a framework we use called ‘The Big 10.’ These skills are the following:
Goal - This is where the children consider why they are reading a particular text.
Preview – The children examine the books they are reading through the front and back cover, images and other parts of the text.
Monitor – Where the children consider their understanding of different texts as they are reading them.
Visualise – Children consider the pictures they make in their heads when reading texts. This also has a big relation to the five senses.
Connect – Where children make connections when they read that could relate to themselves, other texts and the rest of the world.
Question – The children consider the different questions they have when looking at texts, as well as look at different question types.
Infer – This is where the children become detectives and look for clues in the texts to make decisions about what they think is happening.
Predict – Where the children consider what happens next in different texts and what evidence they have to back up their ideas.
Summarise & Retrieve – The children consider the main themes from different texts and the key points the author wants them to know.
Evaluate – The children consider how much they rate a text and discuss what they like and dislike about it.
Teachers may focus on one of these particular skills in a lesson, however, might also teach about several of them if necessary. Nevertheless, teachers also focus on other reading skills they feel might be important to their individual classes, which range from pinpointing key facts in texts to how to skim through larger texts to find the information they need.
Children in each year group also complete regular assessments in Reading, ranging from one to two every term. This is in the format of a comprehension task specific to the year group they are working at and is judged alongside their current Oxford Reading Tree level. This provides teachers with a clear understanding of the progression their children are making in Reading, which also gives them a clear idea of how their children can move forward in the subject.
When children complete a piece of Reading work, we also see marking and feedback as a fundamental way of making sure our children know how to move forward. Every child’s work is marked at the end of a reading lesson and should always celebrate their achievements in that particular lesson. Children also have opportunities to edit their work where necessary, which should help clear any misconceptions from the lesson, as well as give them opportunities to up-level their work.
One to one reading time
As well as completing at least four Reading lessons per week, teachers throughout school have one to one time with their children at the end of the week to listen to them read an Oxford Reading Tree book. During this time, teachers focus on both the children’s fluency and understanding while reading a variety of text types. Children progress through different reading stages as they move through school, which allow them to continue learning new reading skills and become more familiar with different text types.