At Thomas Barnes we believe that reading is one of the keystones to our children becoming life-long learners. That is why reading remains one of our very top priorities across all year groups. In the younger years we focus on learning to read, before modelling how to read to learn in the later years. Alongside the process of reading and application of skills, we also promote reading for pleasure through reading aloud to the class and other book-centred events, such as World Book Day.
Phonics and Early Reading
Our pupils begin their learning journey in reading with a structured phonics programme based on Little Wandle. This is a new scheme to us from February 2022 and we are excited about the positive impact it will have on early reading for our pupils. Pupil progress in phonics is tracked and planning adapted accordingly. They are also provided with a diet of on-sight word recognition, especially of high frequency words, through which they develop the automaticity they need to become fluent readers.
In Key Stage One and EYFS, the Little Wandle book scheme will be used to ensure that the individual reading books given to pupils are well-matched to their reading ability and stage in phonics. Positive incentives (such as ‘5 for 5’) are used to promote reading regularly at home. Books may be changed daily.
The Reading Dogs are used effectively in English lessons as well as whole class reading sessions to teach the children effectively about reading skills.
Reading at Key Stage Two
In Key Stage Two, guided and whole class reading sessions are used to embed the skills introduced in Key Stage One. The Reading VIPERS are used to consolidate pupil understanding of reading skills, from vocabulary and inference, to prediction, explanations and summarising.
Accelerated Reader has been introduced for our KS2 pupils which has more closely aligned books chosen for independent reading to the child’s reading ability as well as interest level. Online quizzes are being used used effectively to ascertain how well the children have understood what they have read as well as using a point system to incentivise reading at home.
Half-termly Star Assessments enable us to closely track the progress of all pupils and set new targets for learning. The pupils enjoy completing the tests on their i-pads.
Additional support with reading
We recognise that learning to read can be a challenge for some of our learners. We strive to ensure that any learners needing additional support are picked up quickly and interventions introduced to help them to make the accelerated progress they need to be back on track. Due to the impact that Covid-19 has had on some of our learners, we have focussed some of our small group tuition sessions on improving reading fluency and skills, as well as providing additional teaching assistant hours to hear individual readers daily. Precision teaching is also used effectively to support some of our learners in rapid word recognition.