Reading and Phonics

Reading at Rook’s Nest Academy

Our Philosphy

Our priority is that children foster a lifelong love of reading at Rook’s Nest Academy.  We aim for our pupils to be  fluent and confident readers who have essential reading skills needed to further their understanding in all areas at school and beyond.

Reading for pleasure is at the core of what we do.  Teaching staff dedicate at least 15 minutes daily to reading a book to their class which is purely for pleasure (Everybody Reading In Class or E.R.I.C Time).  Literacy and topic lessons are often driven by a quality text  (Hook Book) to ensure that children develop their knowledge, apply different reading skills and boost their comprehension within a broad curriculum.  We encourage children to talk to each other about books and build in regular opportunities for paired reading.  In the early years and KS1, when it is safe to do so, we will invite parents and grandparents into school once per week to share books with their children.  We have a very well resourced library and book corners enhanced  by the resources of the Schools Library Service.  All these resources are available to children and we carefully monitor the selection and changing of books.  Opportunities to promote a love of reading are also built into the school year through themed events such as World Book Day, visits from the library, author visits, rewards and competitions.

The importance of reading daily

The academy has strong expectations that pupils read daily at home and school.  We make sure that parents and pupils understand the importance of daily home reading throughout each academic year and strategies to support reading are shared.  Communication between home and school is encouraged via a pupil reading record.

Reading to your child as well as sharing and talking about books is something we strongly encourage even when your child can read independently and fluently.

At Rook’s Nest Academy, we use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds scheme.  This is a complete systematic synthetic phonics programme (SSP) developed for schools by schools. It is based on the original Letters and Sounds, but has been extensively revised to provide a complete teaching programme meeting all the expectations of the National Curriculum preparing pupils to go beyond the expectations of the Phonics Screening Check.

For parents


Reading in Reception and Key Stage 1

In the early years we prioritise reading.  Books, stories, poems and nursery rhymes are shared with children daily.  We read texts repeatedly so that children become familiar with story language, join in with familiar words and phrases and foster a love of reading.

In addition to this, each week we also ensure that children choose a book that they like from the school library or book corner.  Children will bring their, “sharing book” home so that an adult can read and discuss the words and pictures with them.  This book is purely for children’s enjoyment as we want to instil a love of reading from the very earliest years.  There is a large body of research which shows that the number of books children are exposed to by the age of 6 is a positive predictor of reading ability 2 years later

Communication between home and school is encouraged via a pupil reading record.Phonics is taught daily throughout Reception and Key Stage 1 using the Little Wandle Phonics Scheme.  Within daily phonics lessons, children focus on specific sounds within a set lesson structure of review, teach, practise and apply. The reading of tricky words (common words that cannot be sounded out e.g. said) is also taught in daily phonics lessons.  Children are assessed on an ongoing basis but more formal assessments are carried out each half-term.  Any children who have gaps in their phonics knowledge are quickly identified and additional, “Keep Up” support is provided.  We ensure that children’s independent reading books match the phonics that they know.

Once children can blend sounds in words, the teaching of reading takes place three times per week in Reception and Key Stage 1.  Phonetically decodable books from the Big Cats Phonics scheme are used as these specifically link with children’s secure phonic knowledge.  Children work in ability groups supported by an adult and use the same book throughout the week.  In the first reading session each week, children focus on decoding unfamiliar words by sounding out and blending.  In the second reading session, an adult models reading with intonation, children practise reading and the meaning of words and text is discussed. The third session of reading focuses on making connections, enjoying and understanding the text in greater depth.

Reading in Year 2

In the first half term of Year 2, children continue to read from Little Wandle phonics books 3 times per week. They complete daily Support for Spelling lessons instead of phonics where they develop their knowledge of spelling patterns and rules.

Once children are secure with their knowledge of phonics, they move on to the Accelerated Reader system for independent reading from the second half of the Autumn Term in Year 2 onwards. They also complete daily guided reading lessons in a group using an age appropriate, purposeful text. In these sessions they focus on word reading, fluency and comprehension skills.

Reading in Key Stage 2

Reading is taught for 30 minutes each day in Key Stage 2 through a whole class approach.

In daily class reading sessions, children read, discuss and practise specific reading skills using a quality shared text.  Texts are carefully selected to ensure that they are age appropriate and that they have real purpose and meaning for children.  Hook books are often used to make links with the current topic, literacy unit or other aspects of the curriculum as well as specific themes or seasonal events.  Children are given opportunities to practise their reading and familiarise themselves with the text through quality discussion.  Specific reading skills known as VIPERS are referred to when teaching reading with our students (vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation and sequencing (KS1) or summarising (KS2).   These skills are modelled, practised, applied and evaluated in reading lessons.  The children are given the opportunity to mark, correct and improve their own responses to reading questions.

The Accelerated Reader program is used in school for children’s independent and home reading, from Year 2 upwards.  Half-termly assessments determine children’s reading age.  From this, pupils are assigned a “reading zone” from within which they can choose a library book. After reading, pupils complete an online quiz either at home or at school which assesses their comprehension and understanding of a text. Teachers carefully monitor pupil completion and performance in these quizzes every fortnight.

Reading Assessment

We assess children from Year 1 upwards termly using the PIRA assessment and Accelerated Reader data alongside phonics, guided reading and class assessments based on year group specific reading objectives.

Each half term, overall attainment and progress is assessed and monitored for each child in terms of their reading.  Children who have not made expected progress are identified and support interventions for reading are put in place.  Some children may also need daily one to one reading support at school and provision is made for this.  As staff, we communicate with parents regarding the importance of daily home reading, children’s attainment, progress and development needs.


Comments are closed.