Reading at St. Anne's
The teaching of reading is central to our whole curriculum at St. Anne's. We recognise, and value, this vitally important skill in ensuring children can access the whole curriculum and succeed in life.
We start in the early years with our systematic phonics programme, Read Write Inc. (RWI) The children work through the programme with fidelity. As soon as they know and can recognise the first set of sounds, they will be given a Sound Blending Book which enables them to blend sounds into words using their known sounds. The children are assessed every 6-8 weeks and groups are fluid to allow for the child to be in the group that most closely matches their current ability. As they work through the programme, and start accessing books with sentences/stories, they will be given the same book to practise at home that they have read in class that week. This gives them the opportunity to practise and revisit a known text to them. This is vital for improving fluency. Alongside this book, they have a similar, unknown book that contains the same phonemes and the same red words. This develops their application of known skills. The third book they take is one of their own choice from our well-stocked school library. This is to develop their love of books and reading and is intended to be shared with love at home.
RWI continues into Y2 for those children who do not pass the Y1 Phonics Screening Check, and those children additionally receive 1-to-1 support. RWI is also used in KS2 for those that need it, during Guided reading sessions or 1-1/small group ‘quick fix’ targets. Please see the separate section on Phonics for more detail.
Alongside the systematic phonics, we also expect all children to be able to read high frequency words on sight. We feel this supports them in becoming fluent readers. Learning to recognise these starts in the early years and continues until children can read, without any hesitation, the first 200 most common words. As you would expect in the early years, the children are totally immersed in the recognition of these words. Staff know the words individual children need to learn and place them around the classroom, outside the classroom and keep them in their aprons so they can 'flash the card' regularly and consistently throughout every day. Our reading leader teacher assesses them every half term and, if necessary, we will use the Precision teach method to provide support with learning those words that are proving difficult. Again, they get the opportunity to practise these words at home with careful consideration given to those words sent home. Each child's set will be tailored to them.
Reading takes many different forms: We encourage independent reading, reading aloud as part of the class, group reading activities and of course whole class teaching. Whole class teaching is delivered through 'Love to Read' sessions, a fitting name for what we promote, encourage and nurture. Carefully chosen texts support the curriculum and there are a spine of books that teachers read to their class every single day for the children to enjoy. This is something that we value and which we know supports the children both in listening to excellent modelling of reading, but also accessing books that will promote that love of reading. We use it as an opportunity to expand vocabulary also.
We have a wonderful Library which is the heart of the school, and very well used (Covid restrictions dependent). Every child from Y3 to Y6 has a Library book which they change during a break time. Children in the Early Years and KS1 are supported to do this and visit the library as part of their whole class. Y6 Librarians support its running. We subscribe to Coventry Schools Library Service, which is an invaluable resource in providing us with ever-changing, high-quality texts for our library, for units of work across the curriculum and for classroom reading corners.
We expect our children to read regularly at home. This is a non-negotiable. For those children who we find are not reading at home, through close monitoring of Reading diaries, we plug the gap by ensuring we have a list of 'frequent readers' who must be listened to regularly in school. We aim for three times every week. These are either teaching assistant or teacher led. We also have a wonderful support network of volunteers who support with this. Every child, regardless of their frequency of reading at home, will be listened to read on a 1:1 basis by their teacher at least once a half term, and by their teaching assistant every week. This ensures they are on the correct book band, through ongoing assessments. This allows us to clearly identify specific issues the children might be having and support accordingly. Every child in Reception will be listened to read their phonics book three times a week as a minimum.
Through our topics, there are many opportunities for the children to read. Each lesson will have an element of reading. The children know that first they learn to read, but then the read to learn. Click here for our skills progression in reading.
All of our staff receive training on how to listen to children read so it has the greatest impact on the children's outcomes. We seek the views from the school council around titles they are interested in and how to be involved in events like World Book Day, National Poetry Day, Breakfast with books and others throughout the year.