At Conway Primary School, we believe reading is the foundation to a successful future. Reading forms the cornerstone of our entire curriculum and so we strive to provide children with the tools they need to go on to become confident, fluent readers who use reading as a tool to access the wider world.
We begin our reading journey in Nursery, where pupils learn to identify and distinguish between different types of sounds. We follow phase one of the Letters & Sounds programme which provides the children with rich experiences and opportunities to develop their oral skills and awareness of sounds before moving to RWInc. We have a high focus on phonological awareness as well as listening and attention - ensuring readiness for starting the journey to be lifelong readers. The children are exposed to different nursery rhymes, songs, poetry, and stories which they build upon as they move through their school journey. They have their own library area within the classroom where they are encouraged to choose books to take home and share and these can be changed at any point with a minimum expectation of weekly. Children are read to by an adult daily, often more than once through whole class, small group and 1:1 story sharing which includes the repetition of many familiar stories. Children learn the importance of looking at books independently to foster their lifelong love of reading.
As they progress, children are then taught through a rigorous phonics programme, Read Write Inc (RWI). By using RWI teachers are able to support children’s development in connecting phonemes (sounds) with visual pictures, words with their meanings and stories with the sounds they know. Children are taught one phoneme at a time and practise it until it becomes automatic. As some words are not spelt the way that they sound, children are also taught to read trickier words through sight; these are displayed in the classroom and practised throughout the day. The programme also helps children to connect reading within broader literacy through letter-sound correspondences, working out words step-by-step, spelling and handwriting. Once they are able to read simple story books, children begin to show an understanding of what they have read, through retrieval and simple inference questions. Children focus on the same text throughout the week in order to practise skills within in the same context. When they are secure with this, knowledge and skills are transferred to a new context and in to their writing.
teaches children to decode and blend words
teaches children to recognise common exception words
ensures children read storybooks and non-fiction books matched to their growing phonic knowledge
assesses children regularly to track every child’s progress
ensures that children develop their handwriting, spelling, writing and comprehension skills alongside their phonics
increases reading fluency allowing them to focus on comprehension
Workshops are held on a fortnightly basis to ensure that parents can access the reading that is expected of their child and phonics games are also sent home. Teachers go over the sounds with parents to ensure that they know the sounds thereby enabling them to support their children effectively. This is often followed the following week with a story being shared to model the previous week’s learning.
Our Reading Curriculum
Once children have completed the Read, Write Inc. program and are able to read simple stories with 90% fluency, they begin to use the skills they have acquired through phonics teaching which allows them to access more complex texts independently in a whole class setting.
Every year group has dedicated time each day for a reading lesson. At the start of each week, children are explicitly taught vocabulary and definitions that appear in an unfamiliar text to help them comprehend the text throughout the week. The text is read multiple times to through the week and analysed using a variety of skills such as: summarising, sequencing, retrieving, predicting, and making inferences. This may be read whole class, individually, small groups or by the teacher reading aloud.
We have established a strong link between reading and our wider curriculum at Conway Primary School. We have ensured that our pupils have access to quality texts that are closely linked to what they are currently studying across the curriculum to provide them with extra opportunities to develop their vocabulary and understanding. Every year group has dedicated daily time in their timetable for both the teaching of reading as well as Story Time; this exposed pupils to a wide range of genres and authors and supports them to develop a love of reading.
We have different programmes to support the children with their reading, including reading volunteers and peer to peer reading where the children read with other pupils. Pupils who need support with their reading have access to carefully planned interventions multiple times a week from staff across the school. This ranges from 1:1 phonics intervention in KS1 to small group work in Year Six and lots of in-class work in-between.
Pupils are encouraged by teachers to practise reading at home every day. Pupils are given a home reading book which is carefully matched with their reading age through PM Benchmarking. Across the school we use a range of schemes that include high-quality fiction and non-fiction texts across a wide range of genres. Books are changed as soon as they are completed across the school. Pupils use a reading diary to record which books they have chosen and have an allocated space for parent-teacher communication about their child’s reading. There are also questions within the reading diary to prompt parents with the discussions that they have with their children. We have a wide range of books available for the children to choose from over a variety of different genres such as fiction, non-fiction, poetry and playscripts. Our pupils read their books every day and teachers listen to them read each week to provide them with one-to-one support and development.
Reading for Pleasure
We want to encourage our children to not only be expert readers, but to identify themselves as readers. To encourage this, we hold reading at the centre of everything we do. Children have access to a range of quality texts in their classroom library that inspire and excite. Our classroom library themes have been carefully thought out and are inviting areas for the children to want to spend time in.
As a staff, we are very vocal about the things we like to read and encourage children to engage in conversations about books that interest them. We also provide lots of opportunities through having different events throughout the year such as World Book Day and performance and poetry assemblies.
We are fortunate to have so many home languages that add to our school community. We believe that books are magical in every language and encourage our parents and volunteers to come into school to read to the pupils in English and their home languages. This allows the pupils to experience different storytellers and see their familiar stories come to life though someone else’s words. We also have dual-language books that pupils can choose to take home.
We are extremely excited to announce that plans are currently in place to create a brand-new library for our school. The staff will be able to help pupils choose the books that are right for them and interest them. The library will be open before, during and after school with parents being invited to join their child to read together.