At the Whinless Down Academy Trust we truly believe that Learning Changes Lives and it is our mission through our ethos, values and vision to inspire our children to be aspirational. We are fully committed to enabling all children to become competent and fluent readers, as this unlocks access to the curriculum and to future learning.
EYFS & KS1
We believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading daily 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 programme, 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, our children are able to tackle unfamiliar words as they read.
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.
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
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 the Autumn term. Year 1 and 2 currently deliver 2 x 30 minute phonics lessons a day to ensure children's learning is in line with national expectations.
We follow the Little Wandle programme expectations:
- 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 t read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.
Daily Keep up lessons to 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 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 teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. These:
- are taught by a fully trained adult in 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 guidance.
- 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: decoding, prosody (teaching children to read with understanding and expression) and comprehension.
Reading at home
Children have access to the same book that they read in school via the Collins Ebook system. This allows children to practice and read the book fluently. Children also have access to a sharing book, which parents read alongside their children in order to develop their vocabulary and continue to develop their reading skills.
Reading is a cherished part of our daily routine in every year group. We offer reading across all our subjects and choose fiction, non-fiction, poetry and picture books, which excite, inform and interest our pupils. These rich texts allow pupils from all backgrounds to be given the vocabulary and knowledge they need to access current and future learning.
"Reading widely often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds." (2014 National Curriculum)
We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 3 & 4 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics Screening Check and this has been a focus for the school following the pandemic. 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.
Our reading champions programme support pupils to develop their reading skills further, whether this is a pupil lacking confidence or a confident pupil needing to practise rehearsal and extend their comprehension skills. As part of the reading champions programme, children will have an opportunity to discuss and explore unknown vocabulary, group read, read for pleasure, discuss favourite books and authors, and practise and rehearse reading skills.
Each class in Year R 2 to Year 6 have a selection of high-quality texts across different genres appropriate to their age range. Throughout the year, children ‘must read’ a range of books from differing categories, such as classics or poetry. This ensure that children are exposed to a wide range of high-quality texts as well as allowing them to become discerning readers. The 'Must Read' list enables each child to understand their own preferences whilst preventing them from limiting their reading choices. Our ‘Must Reads’ selection also supports our vocabulary development programme, which is crucial for pupils to be exposed to rich vocabulary, enhancing both their written and spoken English.
Reading at Home
As part of our home learning, we encourage parents to read with their children daily. Precious memories are created through the sharing of a book with a child and these moments are crucial in developing good reading habits, practising and rehearsing their skills, and establishing children’s love of reading.
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 and our local community, as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.
- Every classroom has an accessible book corner that encourages a love for reading. We ensure a range of familiar fiction and non-fiction texts are shared and rotated regularly. These are carefully chosen to ensure they support the progression of children’s vocabulary across the school.
- In Nursery/Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day in their continuous provision and the books are continually refreshed. Books are also available is other areas in the classroom as part of continuous provision e.g. texts about construction in the construction area.
- Children from Reception onwards have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments in it to share with the adults in school..
- 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).