Reading is of key importance and is at the heart of our curriculum: we want every child at Westhouses Primary School to love books. Each classroom has an inviting reading area and our library is at the heart of the school. The children are welcome to browse here to find a book to enjoy. We also have a reading area in the Station House, so children can access books at breaktimes. In phonics we ensure that we follow a validated scheme using a consistent and structured approach to support a smooth transition as children gain skills and progress through the stages.
The school follows the Little Wandle scheme for phonics and the teaching of early reading.
In the second week in Reception, children begin to learn the letter sounds in phase 2. There are lots of opportunities to develop good speaking and listening skills, identify and distinguish everyday sounds, play with sounds and rhyme, and share quality reading materials in groups through big and small books and online. They will experience a wealth of listening activities, they will be able to distinguish between speech sounds and many will be able to blend and segment words orally.’ The purpose of this phase is to teach 20 graphemes (a letter or group of letters to represent a sound), and move children on from oral blending and segmentation to blending and segmenting with letters. By the end of this phase many children should be able to read and spell some VC words (it, at, on, up) and some CVC words (man, pot, sit, cup, pen). They will also be taught to read some 'tricky words' such as: the, to, go, no. By the end of EYFS, the children will have completed Phase 4 of Little Wandle.
Throughout Reception, teachers will spend time with each child assessing their phonics knowledge and gauging their 'readiness for reading'. During transition visits children will get a picture book to take home and we ask parents/carers to share the book and take turns telling the story. When these are returned staff share the book and give the child the opportunity to select a new book. This early reading and phonics knowledge are then built on. Teachers hear every child read their 'take home' decodable book at least once each week with identified children being heard read on a more frequent basis. We encourage children to read with their grown up each evening, and parents/carers are asked to fill in their child's reading record to show this has happened and make a relevant comment. The first five stages of reading books are fully decodable and are linked to the phonic phases taught through Little Wandle. In addition to reading individually, the children will have 'Reading Practice Sessions' at least three times a week. They focus on fluency on the first day, prosody on the second and comprehension on the third. These sessions are led by a teacher and give opportunities for groups of children of a similar reading ability to read the same book individually but as part of a group.
Key Stage 1
In Key stage 1 children continue with the Little Wandle scheme and will continue to have access to Collins ebooks and have a 'take home' book which is matched to their phonic level. There is a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books available. Children continue to be are heard read by a teacher or teaching assistant in the reading practice sessions at least three times a week. All children will have a relevant reading book in their book bag from the first day of term, this will have been selected from prior assessments. Children continue to be encouraged to read every evening and parents are asked to record this in their reading record. Children should have completed the five phonic phases in Little Wandle by the end of year one, so instead of daily phonic sessions, the year two children have daily spelling sessions based on the year two spelling list in the national curriculum.
In KS2, children continue to develop key reading skills during our 'reading practice sessions' four times a week. The first session focusses on fluency, the second prosody, the third and fourth comprehension. These sessions build on the knowledge and skills taught at KS1 in reading and phonics sessions. Children are exposed to 'age related' texts (poems, stories, videos, songs etc) where they explore language, authorial intentions, make predictions and retrieve key facts. Often we link these text to our main class topic, but at times use those of interest to the children. They build on, and continue to use the reading toolkit.
To further develop comprehension on the third and fourth day, we use 'VIPERS' questions, which ensure the children cover the whole range of the KS2 reading curriculum. This stands for:
Children complete a range of differentiated tasks to develop these key skills, across a range of different genres.
Children who require additional support are listened to reading more frequently and are provided with additional reading boosters, such as Reading Detectives, 'Switch On' reading and Acceleread.
For further information, please contact your child's class teacher.
Spelling at KS2
In KS2, children also complete daily spelling sessions. They have the opportunity to develop their phonological knowledge from KS1, while also considering how spellings often follow patterns, and learning words which do not.
We teach spelling through our own school scheme, which builds on prior learning from Little Wandle and the year group word lists. It involves games and low-stakes tests, to ensure children have a secure knowledge of key spellings. We also ensure the children are taught what the words mean and link this to our spelling toolkit..
Pupils who require additional support when they enter KS2 also receive daily phonics boosters as required.
Children are also taught their associated year group word lists, which are attached below for your reference.
The children are assessed during each reading session through their verbal contributions. Their reading record and guided reading books also provide regular assessment opportunities for the teachers. In addition to this, teacher assessment is validated through termly summative assessments, using NFER reading papers from Years 1 – 6. We also use the benchmarking toolkit to assess to ensure children are given an appropriate reading band to allow enjoyment and suitable challenge.
In phonics, the progress of our children is monitored closely, through assessment within their lessons, weekly mini-tests and through regular placement assessments. This ensures that all children can be moved on as soon as they are ready and it also allows early identification of children at risk of falling behind, so teachers can provide effective keep-up support. In order to allow the children to consolidate and apply their learning of phonics, they each take home a decodable reading book which is aligned with the phonics stage at which they are working.
For those children who are working on spellings, they are tested each Friday.