At English Martyrs CVA we believe in both the importance of developing children’s discrete word-reading skills and comprehension, and the need to engender their love of books and reading. We recognise that the two elements are intertwined; each relies on the other if children are to become life-long readers. Every child deserves the chance to become a reader and reading is a passport to the world. Reading great literature opens children up to ideas, experiences, places and times they might never otherwise experience in real life. Reading for pleasure gives opportunities to learn about a multitude of things that cannot be covered by a school curriculum, in a household where reading is not valued; school will be the key place where they come into contact with books.
To promote high standards of reading, our intent is to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop an interest in and a love of books, encouraging children to become attentive listeners, independent and reflective readers
- develop reading strategies and skills, accuracy, fluency, understanding and response to texts
- develop the ability to use and manipulate a variety of texts, both fiction and non-fiction
- develop children’s experiences through a variety of texts including the use of libraries, ICT and other available media
At English Martyrs we follow the letters and sounds documents, principles and practice across the Foundation stage and KS1. This is supported by teachers using elements from RWI to support the effective delivery of phonics lessons by catering for all the children’s needs. Please refer to the separate phonics policy.
All year one children take the ‘Phonics Screening Check’ - a statutory assessment required by legislation. The children have to read a total of 40 words and non words using their phonetic skills. The 40 words and non-words are divided into two sections – one with simple word structures of three or four letters, and one with more complex word structures of five or six letters. The teacher administering the check with your child will give them a few practice words to read first – including some non-words – so they understand more about what they have to do. Each of the non-words is presented with a picture of a monster / alien, as if the word were their name (and so your child doesn't think the word is a mistake because it doesn't make sense!).
Our Parent Phonic Screening Check information is available to read here.
Parents are informed of the outcome from the phonics screening check in end of year reports. Those who do not meet the pass mark will be given support and intervention programmes in year two to provide them with sufficient knowledge and understanding to re-take the ‘Phonics Screening Check’ and obtain a pass mark. Those children who do not obtain the required level set by the ‘Phonics Screening Check’ for a second time will access appropriate intervention detailed above.
Whole Class Reading
Children in year 2 and above will be taught reading comprehension skills through a whole class approach using VIPERS in KS2 and a condensed version in year 2 once a week. The children will all be exposed to a variety of texts including fiction, non- fiction and poetry. All children will be encouraged to read aloud as part of this teaching as well as adults modelling reading during the lesson. Each lesson will always include introducing the children to a range of rich vocabulary as well as focusing on one of the VIPERS skills with an opportunity during the lesson for the children to answer written comprehension questions.
All children will have at least one individual reading book which have all been book banded to ensure that the book is matched to the reading age of the individual child.
Reading across the curriculum
All staff are aware of the importance of reading and realise that the curriculum can not be accessed appropriately by a child if they do not have the necessary reading skills. They are also aware of the importance of gaining knowledge from reading. We promote the importance of using books as a hook into a topic or theme for learning and we expect reading activities to be part of our whole curriculum embedded into all teaching.
We celebrate reading at school and at home. All children should read at least 3 times a week and this should be recoded in their reading diaries. The children are working hard to cross off numbers on their own personal 100 square to win prizes along the way and complete the 100 square as quickly as possible. Our pupil librarians also introduce reading competitions for the pupils to take part in.
Writing is an essential part of our curriculum and we provide lots of wonderful opportunities to inspire pupils, which makes sure they enjoy writing. In EYFS children learn how to hold a pencil properly and begin to form letters, words and sentences. We explicitly teach cursive handwriting from year one onwards and we encourage the children to write across a range of subjects and genres. We link our writing context to our curriculum topics, where appropriate. We find real life reasons for children to write -recent examples include letters to our MP, reports for our newsletter, performance poetry and speeches.