Our Aims for Reading
At Dean Bank Primary School, we aim to ensure that children:
- Read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- Develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- Acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- Appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
What is Phonics?
In our phonic sessions, we aim to teach the key conceptual knowledge and skills (see summary below) to ensure that our children have the best start to their reading journey that they make with us through school.
Phonics at Dean Bank Primary School
At Dean Bank, we use a stand-alone linguistic phonics programme ‘Sounds~Write’. The Sounds~Write approach, which is genuinely based on sounds in speech, promotes the use of multi-sensory engagement with the materials pupils are working with in a manner that matches with the level and abilities of the children being taught and teachers can differentiate the level of challenge in order to meet their individual needs. Visual, auditory and kinaesthetic activities are at all times combined simultaneously to promote learning.
At the start of the programme, simple, one sound/one spelling, one-syllable, CVC words only are introduced. As the programme progresses, the complexity of one-syllable words is increased to four-, five- and six-sound words of the structure CVCC, CCVC, CCVCC/CCCVCC, before introducing the most common consonant digraphs.
The Sounds~Write programme teaches pupils to understand the way the alphabet code works. Very often, in the early stages of learning to read and spell, because of the complexity of the code, pupils will not be able to spell some sounds by using the correct spellings. However, pupils taught using Sounds~Write will be able to write almost anything they want to write by using plausible (phonetic) spellings for sounds. In this way, pupils, teachers and parents can read anything the pupil has written. As they progress through Key Stage 1, pupils learn systematically how words are spelled in English. This ability to express oneself in writing from the start of school gives children enormous confidence, which naturally feeds back into the other kinds of learning taking place within the school curriculum.
Thereafter, from Y1 onwards, all the remaining common vowel and consonant sound to spelling correspondences are taught until all the common spellings for the forty-four sounds in English have been covered. In parallel with this, pupils are taught how to read and spell polysyllabic words, progressing from two-syllable to five- and six-syllable words. Children in Y1 are tested on their phonic knowledge in a national screening check. We support children in the lead up to this test to ensure they are prepared for the expectations of the test.
Reading at Home
All children are provided with reading books, which they take home and read at home with their parents, for a minimum of three times per week.In EYFS and KS1, the reading books the children take home work alongside the phonics scheme used in school. The children will read books which are phonics based and wholly decodable. As they progress with their phonics they will progress through the reading stages. At Dean Bank Primary School, we currently use the ‘Dandelion Readers’ scheme which links with the Sounds~Write unit that children are working on in school. Children in KS1 are also encouraged to select a book from our library for their own enjoyment and pleasure.
For KS2 pupils, we have a wide range of books that children can borrow from the library based on their ZPD score from the Accelerated Reading STAR assessments, which children complete each half term. This ensures that the pupils are reading books that are appropriate for their ability and these are suitably challenging. Staff monitor the pupils’ results from the book tests that children complete to ensure that children are reading an adequate mount of books and showing a good understanding of the books they have read. Where staff have concerns, pupils may be asked to read books again before completing a test or their book level may be reviewed.
Reading at School
In our school, each class has a class book that they read together and most English lessons are based on this book. Each class has a class text display to promote the book that the class are currently reading and share examples of children’s work linked to their class novel that is changed each term. Daily guided reading or whole class reading takes place where pupils develop their fluency as well as comprehension skills using the reading VIPERS from Literacy Shed. For the last fifteen minutes of each day, class teachers share a story with their pupils, which will often be the class novel in KS2, but will be any book chosen to engage the children in EYFS and KS1.
Staff have completed a staff recommendations display in a regularly used corridor to promote their favourite books from childhood or books they have read with their own children that the pupils might like to read and children are able to see this display as they walk along the corridor.
We regularly take part in reading enhancement activities such as activities for World Book Day, Roald Dahl Day, Book Fairs and Storytelling week. This has included author visits where the children get to meet a children’s author and then produce their own stories. We also participate in sponsored reading events where pupils raise funds for new books.
Furthermore, we also organise regular paired reading between pupils from different year groups to help to develop reading for pleasure as well as providing more opportunities for children to develop their reading fluency. Pupils also have the opportunity to visit the local library as well as the school libraries. Additionally, we have a reading caravan in the school yard which provides a welcoming area for children to read during play times and lunch times.
Use the guidance below to support your child’s phonics skills and reading at home.
Teaching Phonics at Dean Bank Primary – The Initial Code
https://www.lexiacore5.com (See class teacher for login details)
https://www.myon.co.uk/ (Login details available from class teachers)