Early Reading at Cotherstone Primary School
We are taking part as a small school in the Collins Research for Little Wandle Letters and Sounds- 2022
Early Reading Intent
Phonics (reading and spelling)
At Cotherstone Primary School, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Nursery/Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.
As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At Cotherstone Primary School, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects
At Cotherstone Primary School we value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, they read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose
Because we believe teaching every child to read is so important, we have a Reading Leader who drives the early reading programme in our school. This person is highly skilled at teaching phonics and reading, and they monitor and support our reading team, so everyone teaches with fidelity to the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.
Early Reading Implementation
Foundations for phonics in Nursery
- We provide a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for ‘Communication and language’ and ‘Literacy’. These include:
- sharing high-quality stories and poems
- learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes
- activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending
- attention to high-quality language.
- We ensure Nursery children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception.
Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1
- We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.
- Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term.
- We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress:
- Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy
Catch Up for Year 2 and above
We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 and above who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics screening check. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. We use the Rapid Catch-up assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Rapid Catch-up resources – at pace.
Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read
- Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.
- We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 or 3 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics screening check. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Keep-up resources – at pace.
- If any child in Year 3 to 6 has gaps in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing, we plan phonics ‘catch-up’ lessons to address specific reading/writing gaps. These short, sharp lessons last 10 minutes and take place at least three times a week.
Teaching reading: Reading practice sessions three times a week
- We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. These:
- are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children
- use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids on pages 11–20 of ‘Application of phonics to reading’.
- are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.
- Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:
- prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
- comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.
- In Reception these sessions start in Week 4. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.
- The decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family.
- Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children.
- We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision, both online and through workshops.
Additional reading support for vulnerable children
- Children in Reception and Year 1 who are receiving additional phonics Keep-up sessions read their reading practice book to an adult daily.
Ensuring consistency and pace of progress
- Every teacher in our school has been trained to teach reading, so we have the same expectations of progress. We all use the same language, routines and resources to teach children to read so that we lower children’s cognitive load.
- Weekly content grids map each element of new learning to each day, week and term for the duration of the programme.
- Lesson templates, Prompt cards and How to videos ensure teachers all have a consistent approach and structure for each lesson.
- The Reading Leader and SLT use the Audit and Prompt cards to regularly monitor and observe teaching; they use the summative data to identify children who need additional support and gaps in learning.
Ensuring reading for pleasure
‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)
‘The will influences the skill and vice versa.’ (OECD 2010)
We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.
- We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at Cotherstone Primary School and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.
- Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books.
- In Nursery/Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day in their free flow time and the books are continually refreshed.
- Children from Reception onwards have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school.
- As the children progress through the school, they are encouraged to write their own comments and keep a list of the books/authors that they have read.
- The school library is made available for classes to use at protected times. Children across the school have regular opportunities to engage with a wide range of Reading for Pleasure events (book fairs, author visits and workshops, national events etc).
Early Reading Impact
Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.
Assessment for learning is used:
daily within class to identify children needing Keep-up support
weekly in the Review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings.
Summative assessment for Reception and Year 1 is used:
every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the Keep-up support that they need.
by SLT and scrutinised through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker, to narrow attainment gaps between different groups of children and so that any additional support for teachers can be put into place.
Fluency assessments measure children’s accuracy and reading speed in short one-minute assessments. They are used:
in Year 1, when children are reading the Phase 5 set 3, 4 and 5 books
with children following the Rapid Catch-up programme in Years 2 to 6, when they are reading the Phase 5 set 3, 4 and 5 books
to assess when children are ready to exit their programme. For Year 1 children, this is when they read the final fluency assessment at 60–70+ words per minute. Older children can exit the Rapid Catch-up programme when they read the final fluency assessment at 90+ words per minute. At these levels, children should have sufficient fluency to tackle any book at age-related expectations. After exiting their programme, children do not need to ready any more fully decodable books.
A placement assessment is used:
with any child new to the school in Reception and Year 1 to quickly identify any gaps in their phonic knowledge and plan and provide appropriate extra teaching.
The Rapid Catch-up assessment is used
with any child new to the school in Year 2 and above to quickly identify any gaps in their phonic knowledge and plan and provide appropriate extra teaching.
Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics screening check. Any child not passing the check
re-sits it in Year 2.
Ongoing assessment for Rapid Catch-up in Years 2 to 6
Children in Year 2 to 6 are assessed through:
the Rapid Catch-up initial assessment to quickly identify any gaps in their phonic knowledge and plan appropriate teaching
the Rapid Catch-up summative assessments to assess progress and inform teaching
the Rapid Catch-up fluency assessments when children are reading the Phase 5 set 3, 4 and 5 books for age 7+.
The fluency assessments measure children’s accuracy and reading speed in short
one-minute assessments. They also assess when children are ready to exit the Rapid Catch-up programme, which is when they read the final fluency assessment at 90+ words per minute.
‘You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book!’- Dr. Seuss
An overview of Reading at Cotherstone:
- High quality phonics teaching using Little Wandle Letters and Sounds which gives the best start to our youngest readers.
- Whole class reading sessions focusing on VIPERS reading skills using a wide range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, picture books and songs to ensure our children are exposed to a wide range of texts to develop a love of reading!
- Small group guided reading sessions matched to reading ability.
- Daily literacy lessons using high-quality texts carefully chosen and sequenced to build on reading skills as set out in our progression of skills.
- Class readers in each class- children listen to a book read by their teacher daily.
- Additional support for our lowest 20% of readers including targeted interventions, additional reading and phonics.
- Inviting reading corners in each classroom with a variety of exciting texts. Audiobooks are also available within these.
- A school Library area for children to read for pleasure.
- Daily dedicated time to Read for Pleasure.
- Regular paired reading across classes for children to enjoy stories together.
- Reading is celebrated within assemblies with raffle tickets awarded for reading at home.
- Visitors into school who listen to children read weekly.
At Cotherstone, Reading is at the heart of everything we do. Reading is celebrated in all areas of school life and our pedagogy, curriculum, environment all celebrate the importance of Reading.
We are dedicated in ensuring the children within our school are confident readers who become lifelong readers.
Our approach to Reading
We want all children at our school to develop a love for reading because once they have achieved that, we believe they can go on to achieve anything! At Cotherstone, we encourage reading through:
Phonics– please see Early Reading.
Whole Class Reading
We have adopted a Whole Class Reading approach within our school. In Key Stage One these lessons take place 3 times a week.
In Key Stage Two these take place daily for one week with the second week being dedicated to Guided Group Reading. We have found success with both strategies and feel that there are benefits to both approaches.
These whole class reading skills lessons take place every day for that week in each class across the school for 20 to 30 minutes. Within these sessions our teachers model reading strategies. These involve high quality, age-appropriate texts which are carefully selected by our staff. These are both read to and with the children. We often use ‘echo reading’ where children read in pairs, taking turns to read the text for 60 seconds before swapping until they have completed the text together.
These whole class reading lessons provide an opportunity to teach children specific reading skills to widen their vocabulary and develop their levels of comprehension, as outlined in the National Curriculum. Questions are planned by teachers in advance to help children access a range of skills to help them to develop a greater understanding of a range of reading materials including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, picture books and song materials.
In these reading lessons, we use reading VIPERS (based on materials from ‘The Literacy Shed’) to help support our pupils to understand what a good reader looks like and how to approach answering reading questions.
VIPERS is an acronym which stands for:
Vocabulary Infer Predict Explain Retrieve Sequence (KS1) or Summarise (KS2).
All children work on VIPERS during class reading whether this is reading as a class, in a small group or one to one with an adult. We encourage children to talk through their answers before formally recording their answers. Children do this in a variety of ways such as discussing the answer first with their peers and/or an adult and then writing their best answer.
This approach allows children to explore an incredible range of texts throughout their primary school career and has had an outstanding impact on the reading enjoyment/success within our school.
Children in Reception and Key Stage One take part in their Little Wandle phonics group reading three times a week using books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge. They will focus on three reading skills:
- prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
- comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.
In Key Stage Two children take part in a guided reading group twice per week with an adult. The other days in that week are dedicated to: comprehension tasks, Lexia and reading for pleasure time in our school library/class reading corners.
Texts in KS2 are matched to children’s reading ability but are chapter books so children are able to have the feeling of accomplishment when they finish a whole book. Teachers plan a range of activities focusing on the key VIPERS reading skills for the guided reading texts. The children enjoy listening to their peers read and learn how to read with understanding and expression from their peers.
Children are listened to by an adult on a one to one basis regularly to monitor individual progress. This is recorded in their Individual home-school reading record as part of an ongoing dialogue between home and school to discuss progress.
Reading at home
Reading at home is an essential part of learning to read. Our children are encouraged to read daily at home for at least 10 minutes with an adult for fluency and encouraged to discuss their texts using the VIPERS question stems shared in their Reading Records. We encourage our parents to be fully active and engaged with us in this in order to support their child’s ongoing development. Children earn raffle tickets for reading at home which are then entered into a draw during celebration assembly for the opportunity to win a book from our book raffle.
Reading through our Writing Curriculum
Our Literacy curriculum units of work are centered on a quality text mapped into our school ‘Literacy Journey’. Texts are mapped out across school to link with topics where appropriate and to ensure coverage of a range of genres, themes, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, plays, authors, classical texts, new releases and best -selling authors.
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