Teaching of Reading
At Wetheringsett, we value reading and place a great emphasis on teaching children to read well. We also do all we can to encourage children to read widely and often, creating a culture of reading at the school.
Being able to ‘decode’ the words is crucial, but we also strive to instil a love of reading and to develop confident readers who have a good understanding of what they read.
At Wetheringsett, we use phonics as the main approach to the teaching of reading when children begin to read. This means that they are taught individual sounds and the skills of ‘blending’ these together to read whole words.
We follow the phonics phases in ‘Letters and Sounds’ and children in Nursery and Reception use the kinaesthetic approach from Jolly Phonics that has an action to go with each sound. Daily phonics sessions take place throughout Early Years and Key Stage 1 and for those who need it in Key Stage 2.
Children read a range of books from different reading schemes but these are all put in coloured book bands by level of difficulty to make sure that they have the appropriate level of challenge.
For beginning readers, the books they read are predominantly books that are designed to be ‘phonically decodable’. This means that they are books that children can read by ‘sounding out’ the sounds they have learnt in their phonics lessons or by recognising ‘tricky words’ they have learnt.
As children become more fluent readers, they are encouraged to develop a wider range of strategies to read and this is reflected in the books they read.
In Early Years, the focus in class is on sharing books together and supporting children individually to begin to apply their phonics knowledge to read themselves. In Key Stage 1, children have well planned, focused weekly guided reading sessions in a small group with a member of the teaching staff. In Key Stage 2, we have recently moved over to whole class reading lessons where the same text is studied and differentiated questions and activities based on the text are provided to ensure the appropriate level of challenge of all children.
Children may also read individually with a member of staff. We also really value volunteers who come into school to hear children read. Some children may be targeted for extra support in reading and we use intervention programmes to help those might be struggling to read.
Children are strongly encouraged to read at home at least 3 times a week and the younger children have word packs to take home to practice the phonics they are learning in class.
Throughout the school, we make time before collective worship each day for children to be read to by their teacher, or sometimes another child. We prioritise this as an important part of instilling a buzz around reading, to expose children to quality texts that are harder than ones they might read independently and for whole class discussion about texts.
We recently revamped our library and renamed it The Escape, as voted for by the children. They chose the name because reading lets you escape to other worlds, both real and imaginary. The Escape is open for children to use at lunchtimes and children get rewarded with a 'Golden Ticket' for excellent class work, which entitles them to have 10 minutes in The Escape by themselves during lesson time.
This flyer about the importance of reading at home has been sent home to all parents.