At Oaklands, we seek to ensure that children are supported to be enthusiastic, lifelong learners with a love of literacy. Acquiring the skills to read, write and speak with confidence are the most important things that a child will learn: we encounter literacy everyday of our lives as it is the framework of our communication. The ability to express ourselves effectively gives children a voice, and therefore opportunities to share their ideas with the world.
From the moment children start school in EYFS, they are taught phonics. This synthetic approach is taught throughout Key Stage One following the Twinkl scheme. Through whole class teaching, these daily, 20 minute sessions develop fluent word reading skills and provide good foundations in spelling. Rapid catch-up sessions are provided to ensure that no child is left behind.
Spellings are taught explicitly throughout the school. This starts in the form of ‘tricky words’ in EYFS, and builds to support spelling patterns and rules with a clear progression that develops children’s strategies and understanding of language.
All children take part in daily reading sessions. High quality teaching of whole class reading, guided group work and comprehension lessons enable children to be confident readers. Classes share a daily read aloud and children read their own books with increased independence as they progress through the school. Teachers and teaching assistants listen to children read on a regular basis.
Our children are all encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live. This establishes an appreciation and love of reading which supports wellbeing as well as providing access to knowledge across the curriculum. As they progress through the school, children participate in the Accelerated Reader scheme where they strive to achieve their individual termly targets. High quality range of reading interventions are offered quickly to ensure that every child reaches their full potential.
Children experience a broad and balanced diet of genres; there is a clear progression of reading and writing skills through each year and across each year group. Each English unit is led by a model text and enhanced by a variety of multi-media. Shared writing supports children’s understanding of the necessary transcriptional and compositional skills such as the relevant punctuation, handwriting and grammatical rules for the text type. In order to give a purpose and an audience for writing, children are given time to discuss, plan, write, edit and redraft their work into published pieces that are celebrated.
Speaking and listening is developed across the school through a variety of games, discussions and taught sessions to enable children to develop their vocabulary and become confident communicators. The understanding of vocabulary is key to the wider understanding texts and as such, we celebrate the discovery of ‘new’ words in our classrooms as we develop our working walls.
Literacy skills form the cornerstone of education across the world. High quality, rapid intervention supports children to ensure they are ready for the next stage of their learning.
The table below indicates the phonics stage and book band colour your child is expected to be on in each year group:
Regular monitoring allows staff to ensure that all children are making expected progress. Reading is important; all children are assessed half termly to ensure any child who may fall behind can catch up quickly. Children’s assessments are monitored by the Phase Leaders and Senior Leadership Team.
Every Year 1 child in the summer term will take a Phonics Screening Check. This is a phonics based check where children will be expected to read 40 simple, de-codable words including nonsense, or alien, words. This is a progress check to identify those children not at expected level in their reading. Children will be rechecked in Year 2 if they do not reach the expected level. Any child working below the level of the screening check may be dis-applied, with the acknowledgement of the parent/carer.
Please click here to see one of our Year 1 teachers explain how they teach phonics.
For children who do not make expected progress, quick catch up is needed. Depending on the needs of individuals, this may include additional individual or small group tutoring. Children in lower Key Stage 2, children who have not passed the phonic screening check in Year 1 or Year 2, receive daily phonics teaching in line with their phonic ability. This is in addition to classroom input in daily literacy lessons.
Teachers include all pupils fully in their daily phonic lessons. All children benefit from participating in watching, and listening to other children demonstrating and explaining their ideas. Differentiated work, appropriate to individual children’s needs, is provided in the independent work during the day and also during intervention sessions.
Enjoying books and reading stories from a very early age is crucial in the development of children. It helps with their ability to understand words, use their imagination and develop their speech, as well as being something they really enjoy. We ensure that children have exposure to a broad range of authors through our ‘Explore an Author’ termly themes. For more information, please click here.
Teachers and parents play a huge part in the development of reading skills in young children. The more children experience books, the more they will gain interest and passion for them. Reading offers so much more than just quiet time in a cosy corner. It helps to develop spelling, listening, writing, literacy and social skills. Young children need to be able to experience books; they need to be able to understand and enjoy stories, books, rhymes and songs and listen and respond to them with curiosity and enjoyment. This will promote the value and pleasure of reading and encourage an interest in reading throughout school and in later life.
In Early Years and Key Stage 1, children will bring home books that are closely matched to their phonics teaching. Our book bands are used to group books from different reading schemes to indicate the reading level of each book.
Children will be sent home with a ‘phonics’ book, that your child should independently read to you, as well as a ‘story’ book that you can share together. Books are integrated into this unique scheme to provide a broader range of reading material to widen the reading experience and provide a high level of interest and engagement such as Alpha-blocks, Bug Club, Rigby Rockets, Songbirds, and Storyworlds.
Your child’s reading is closely monitored and once your child has become a competent reader in each band they will progress to the next level. When children have progressed through the Lime book band they then enter the ‘Infinity and Beyond’ range of free reading material.
At Oaklands we follow this system of books bands and phonic phases. We identify where the children should be at the end of the year to ensure all staff know the end goal.
Reading is important. Children are taught the skill of reading through guided reading as well as staff giving children the opportunity to read independently, to others and with an adult. We ensure that children have exposure to a broad range of authors through our ‘Explore an Author’ termly themes. For more information, please click here.
At Oaklands, in Key Stage 2, we use Accelerated Reader to support children’s independent reading to ensure books are closely matched to their ability.
Accelerated Reader (AR) is a computer program that helps teachers to manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Your child picks a book at his/her own level and reads it at his/her own pace. When finished, your child takes a short quiz on the computer – passing the quiz is an indication that your child has understood what has been read.
Adults may assist pupils in the following ways:
• Guiding them to books appropriate to their ability and interests
• Asking probing questions as your child reads and before quizzing
• Pairing your child with others, reading with or reading to your child
Since they are reading books at their own reading and interest levels, most children are likely to be successful and enjoy the books and quizzes. Best of all they learn and grow at their own pace.
As with anything, performance improves with practise. According to Renaissance Learning’s research, children who read at least 20 minutes a day with a 90% comprehension rate on AR quizzes see the greatest gains. Encourage your child to read at home, discuss books, ask questions about what they have read and visit your local library.
Star Reading is used to determine your child’s reading level. It is a computer based reading assessment program that uses computer-adaptive technology. Questions continually adjust to your child’s responses. If the child’s response is correct, the difficulty level is increased. If the child cannot answer a question or answers incorrectly, the difficulty level is reduced. The test uses multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.
Book Levels are reported using a readability formula and represent the difficulty of the text. The levels range from 0.5 – 13.5. Books are chosen based on the ZPD range recommended for each pupil by Star Reading.
At the start of each term, every child is given a personalised points target which is based on their reading level. Each book in our library is worth a number of points. When children have finished reading a book and score over 85% on a quiz, they are awarded points that go towards their individual target.
Each term we present Accelerated Reader Certificates. These are awarded to children who have worked diligently and consistently to reach their target.
Children have the opportunity to write daily. The reading culture in our school feeds our imagination and allows us to explore new worlds.
Children apply their writing across the curriculum and their independent writing is assessed termly. This is based on the Standards & Testing Agency (STA) Writing Assessment Framework and writing objectives. Alongside writing moderations within school, writing is also moderated with a variety of local schools.
Regular monitoring of the assessment outcomes allows teachers to ensure that all children are making expected progress and allows early intervention to be put into place for those children falling behind the expected standard. Depending on the needs of individuals, this may include specific phonic and spelling support, handwriting support and/or additional individual or small group tutoring. It is important that children who are struggling to learn to write not only need to catch up with their peers, but also continue to make progress.
Our aim is that every child’s needs are catered for and every child is given the chance to succeed and become a competent writer. We give every child the opportunity to experience success in learning and to be the best that they can be. Work is matched to individual children’s needs.