It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in word reading and comprehension; different kinds of teaching are needed for each. Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners when they start school.
Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher and parents, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction.
All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and 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.
At Clifton, we follow a systematic and synthetic method of teaching phonics. We follow the Letters and Sounds Scheme of Work and use resources from LCP to support us in our planning and teaching. We also use resources from Nelson to reinforce our phonics through our spellings.
Pupils from Reception and Year 1 have a minimum of one 30 minute phonics lesson everyday, these pupils may also have additional phonics support before, during or after school through small group interventions.
Some pupils in KS2 who are developing their phonological awareness are targeted before, during or after school through small group interventions.
In some year groups, the pupils are streamed according to their phonics ability in order to provide targeted support.
Reading is fundamental to children’s ability to learn therefore at Clifton, children participate in daily guided reading sessions. These sessions are used to support children and give them the opportunity to improve their ability to read, participate in discussions and explore different types of text.
In Reception and Key Stage 1, we are currently following the Rigby Star Guided Reading Scheme. It includes a range of rich, multi-layered stories and non-fiction texts by top quality authors and illustrators which are guaranteed to captivate children and facilitate discussion.