The Teaching of Phonics, Early Reading and Reading at Beaumont Lodge Primary School
Reading: Intent, Implementation & Impact
At Beaumont Lodge Primary School, reading is a top priority and key in raising aspirations and lifelong learning attitudes. Therefore, senior leaders work closely with staff to ensure coverage and progression within EYFS, KS1 and KS2 reading.
It is our intention to ensure that by the end of their primary education at Beaumont Lodge Primary School, all pupils are confident, fluent readers, who are able to access texts in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.
Consequently, we intend to encourage all pupils to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to:
Promoting a life-long love of reading.
We believe reading is an essential skill and we are committed to promoting a life-long love of reading that our children will take with them beyond their time with us. We want them to enjoy reading for pleasure and this is at the heart of our reading curriculum.
Developing children’s spoken language and use of vocabulary.
We also see the ability to read fluently as a fundamental component to our children’s future success and as a way of developing the vocabulary they need to effectively express themselves.
Enriching children’s learning experiences- developing and enhancing their knowledge of themselves and the world in which we live
We have a desire to enrich children’s learning experiences as we believe that the teaching of reading is integral to our children’s understanding and appreciation of the world around them.
We aim to do this through carefully designed teaching activities that utilise imaginative stories and thought-provoking texts which offer them a platform to see beyond what they know and to share in cultural differences.
We want the carefully selected books that we’ve chosen to allow our children to experience people and places they might not otherwise encounter as well as to tackle social issues and stereotypes that need confronting from an early age.
Expanding and deepening knowledge across the curriculum
By the time children leave Beaumont Lodge Primary School, they are competent readers who can recommend books to their peers, have a thirst for reading a range of genres and who participate in discussions about books including evaluating an author’s use of language and the impact this can have on the reader. They can also read books to enhance their knowledge and understanding of all subjects across the curriculum, and communicate what they know to a wider audience.
Early Reading and Phonics
Our systematic synthetic phonics programme is the first formal method of teaching reading that we use as it provides the foundations required to become a fluent reader. We understand that once children are able to decode fluently, the teaching of comprehension is quicker and more effective as the children are able to focus all of their attention on understanding what they read. As a result of this, we prioritise the teaching of phonics which is fast paced, interactive and taught daily through discrete lessons to ensure effective learning and progress.
At Beaumont Lodge Primary School, we use the Little Wandle Letters & Sounds Revised phonics programme to teach decoding and graphic knowledge (with sound cards and phrases to support this). It is followed with rigor and fidelity by all teachers and teaching assistants, through EYFS and Year 1, who use a shared planning format and language script. We believe all children should progress through the phonics phases with fluency and confidence and therefore place a high importance on quality first teaching and excellent resources to reinforce learning.
Our children are taught the graphemes and their corresponding phonemes in the order set out by Little Wandle Letters & Sounds Revised. We teach as a whole class with lower ability groups supported by an adult within the classroom. These lower ability groups later receive targeted group and/or 1:1 Keep-Up Intervention from the class teacher or a teaching assistant to support them in not falling behind. We begin teaching single letter sounds first and progress systematically through to the most complex combination of letters to ensure the gradual development and acquisition of knowledge.
In each session, there is a review of prior learning through the quick recognition of previously learned graphemes and corresponding phonemes and a review of previously learnt words. Oral blending and segmenting skills are modelled by the practitioner and practised by the children to ensure they are secure with this key skill. Next, a new GPC is introduced and the skill of blending and segmenting is applied to reading and writing a set of words containing the focus grapheme/phoneme for the session. In addition tricky words are also taught within this section of the lesson. Each session is finished with an application section where the children read and/or write a sentence containing previously and newly learnt GPCs and tricky words.
Our phonics teaching is also linked to books to ensure that learning is embedded by reading phonetically decodable texts. This ensures that the children understand the purpose of their phonics learning as they are able to apply their learning in a meaningful manner. These phonically levelled books are organised according to the sequence of graphemes and their corresponding phonemes taught in Little Wandle Letters & Sounds Revised.
In our Foundation Stage, we work with the children to secure them to the end of Phase 4 so they know one representation for each of the 44 graphemes and corresponding phonemes and are able to read and write some longer words containing adjacent consonants (e.g. CVCC and CCVC words). Crucially, we do not progress beyond this but instead we identify and secure any graphemes that they are finding difficult or are not as confident with in terms of fluency. This is in line with the new expectations for the Early Years where children need to be secure with the initial 26 alphabet sounds and at least 10 digraphs/trigraphs. We believe that it is this consolidation that ensures that our children’s foundations are firm and will allow them to make good progress through Key Stage 1.
In Year One, we work with the children to secure them to the end of Phase 5 and ensure they can read fluently. Children who are identified as not being on track to pass the phonics screening check or who are struggling to keep-up, receive additional phonics support (1:1 or group Keep-Up Intervention) to fill any gaps in their knowledge and understanding. This gives them the best possible chance of achieving age related expectations.
In the Autumn term of year 2, we work with the children to consolidate learning to the end of Phase 5 for any children who may have struggled to keep-up. Children who did not pass the phonics screening check (plus those who are not yet fluent readers) continue to receive a phonic provision at their level and one-to-one phonics coaching during BRWP lite sessions.
In Year 3, there is still a small number of children who require phonics teaching because they are not secure with all graphemes and corresponding phonemes up to the end of Phase 5 and/or they are reading below a benchmark level 17 (Turquoise Colour Band). We provide these children with 1:1 or group catch-up sessions which are taught by a teaching assistant as well as providing them with phonically levelled texts to read.
All children in Foundation Stage and Year 1 receive guided reading (also known as reading practice) 3 times a week. In addition they receive one-to-one reading with an adult (the frequency of this is determined by their needs). For reading practice sessions children read books matched to their phonic level to ensure they develop confidence and fluency in reading. Each week, Session 1 focuses on decoding; session 2 focuses on prosody; and session 3 focuses on comprehension. The same book is used across the week before being taken home to read with parents. In year 2 the Hooked on Books approach (see KS2 below) is used with children using books matched to their reading benchmark level. In one-to-one sessions children read with a skilled adult who carefully supports the application of phonics as the children learn to blend unfamiliar words and develop fluency and comprehension.
In EYFS and KS1 daily story time and daily singing further supports the children’s development of language and their love of stories, rhymes and songs.
Key Stage 2
Reading in Key Stage 2 builds upon the foundations developed during EYFS and Key Stage 1, which focusses on a synthetic phonics programme as the first step in becoming a fluent reader.
It is our intention to ensure that by the end of their Key Stage 2 education at Beaumont Lodge Primary School, all pupils are confident, fluent readers, who are able to develop knowledge, unpick meaning and draw out connections.
In Key Stage 2, Reading is focussed upon 3 areas:
Beaumont Lodge Primary School has accessed Local Authority CPD on advocated approaches to the teaching of Reading. Whilst this was somewhat effective, the school felt the need to actively seek for alternative approaches that would support the school in its aspirational target of excellent reading outcomes for all.
Consequently, The Hooked On Books approach was investigated and trialled in specific classes to evaluate its impact.
One of the reasons for adopting this method of teaching, has been the use of schemas (a cognitive structure that is powerful and enables information to be organised and stored in long term memory) which Bloom (1994) identifies could have a substantial effect on student’s learning. The Hooked-on Books approach contains many schemas (such as the Reading Rainbow and Shade O’Meter) that support our pupil’s learning. The importance and impact of imagery / visual representations used to support thinking have been highlighted by the DFE (Early Career Framework, 2019) and the Reading Rainbow acts as a concrete representation of reading content.
Shared reading takes place for 10 minutes, where children are exposed to an enthusiastic role model who supports pupils by:
During this 10-minute shared reading session of a text (which could be of varying types such as stories, poetry, non-fiction texts), teachers engage in a short period of ‘demonstration reading’ during which the teacher focusses on logical meaning making – verbalising the process (see my thinking, brain goes everywhere). Some Shared Reading sessions are ‘Responsive Read’ sessions, where children engage in choral repetition, allowing children to hear and replicate, listen to and mimic language patterns. Such systems offer more able pupils who have the ability to decode more complex words the opportunity to develop their understanding of pronunciation.
Guided Reading sessions are underpinned by a culture of book talk so that conversations about reading are at the heart of what pupils and teachers read. The Reading Rainbow provides a visual, progressive structural frame for all Guided Reading teaching which compromises of a weekly cycle consisting of book talk, demonstration comprehension and independent comprehension.
Through focussing on a lens from each layer of the hierarchical framework, pupils develop their awareness, understanding and confidence of the Fantastics (the ideas of reading), Stylistics (the tools that support understanding) and the Analytics (which develop the competencies of an effective reader).
Demonstration comprehension allows for effective modelling; “carefully sequenced and explicit modelling of tasks is more effective” (Kirschner and Hendrick, 2020). During demonstration comprehension and independent comprehension sessions, pupils develop their understanding of how to structure their responses to reading, using progressive sentence stems to focus their attention on key aspects.
Pupils at risk of not attaining ARE in reading receive 1:1 reading session in addition to shared and guided reading sessions. These sessions are based on the BRWP approach albeit a lighter version.
Our Best Book & Our Best Picture Book Reading Club
In Year 2 and UKS2, teachers utilise the Our Best Book initiative (WiT) to develop reading for enjoyment and to ensure pupils develop their knowledge of and access to authors. Pupils read and vote on a range of books, appealing to many different reading tastes. They have the opportunity to offer feedback to authors and watch interviews with authors.
The school recognises the need to ensure all pupils develop strong reading skills. Consequently, in addition to BRWP Lite sessions (mentioned in 1:1 Reading), pupils access interventions such as Inference Training or Dyslexia Gold to further support closing the gap and securing ARE. Where pupils have not passed their Phonics screening or have significant difficulties in phonics, additional phonics sessions are delivered in Year 3.
The school recognises the importance of developing levels of reading for pleasure (DFE Research evidence on reading for pleasure, 2012). To support this, great investment has been made into developing reading corners in each classroom, where pupils have access to a wide range of high-quality texts to engage with. Classroom reading corners promote a love of reading through recommendations, reviews and celebrations of reading achievements.