Reading at Chambersbury
At Chambersbury School we want to enable our children to read in order to unlock their learning and encourage a lifelong love of reading. We aim to give our children a meaningful purpose to reading; through exciting contexts, enrichment opportunities, chances to apply their skills creatively across the curriculum and modelling by adults across the school.
At Chambersbury School we recognise and understand the importance of both word recognition and language comprehension, and how these work together to enable confident and fluent readers.
From Spring 2022, in EYFS and Year 1 our phonics teaching follows the Essential Letters and Sounds scheme of learning (ELS), which is followed in Year 2 and KS2 by a Chambersbury spelling progression plan, based on ‘Letter and Sounds’ and the National Curriculum, to consolidate this early learning and support spelling. These schemes support our aim to build both children's speaking and listening skills alongside their phonic knowledge and skills. ELS sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.
Across the school we use guided reading sessions, alongside reading within English lessons and other curriculum areas, to embed the necessary skills and build vocabulary. This allows us to teach children a range of strategies to help them unpick unfamiliar words and increase their overall understanding of sentences and whole texts.
Reading for Pleasure
At Chambersbury we work hard to promote reading for pleasure and the development of a life-long love of reading. We work to do this through a number of means:
Within each classroom, high levels of English should be promoted across all displays and modelled correctly. We want our classrooms to be bright and engaging, to help children be exciting about their learning. Classrooms should be language rich, to help teach children new words, as well as apply them in context. There should also be age appropriate displays modelling key learning, relevant to the phonics stage they are studying, along with other reading strategies they have been taught.
All classrooms will have an engaging reading corner/class library to encourage reading for pleasure, and children should be given regular opportunities to use these areas. In YR-2 classrooms will also have role play areas, supplemented with relevant books, to help develop children’s speaking and listening skills, whilst again promoting reading in a different context, often linked to topics being studied in class.
Around the school we also aim to showcase and draw attention to reading and writing across the curriculum. This may take the form of class displays of current work and learning, cross-year group work on a particular theme to show progression through the school, or other displays sharing exciting information to engage children in reading and writing.
Within school we promote the winter and summer reading challenges, through assemblies and letters home. This is followed up by assemblies celebrating the children’s successes and providing them with opportunities to share books they have read.
Each year we also take part in World Book Day celebrations, planning in activities across the week based around a particular theme. Many of these activities involve working with different teachers and year groups to enable the children to work with different adults and peers.
We work hard to bring in visitors to promote reading, from author visits to exciting experience days which then then be capitalised to encourage curiosity and the application of reading skills.
To help model a love of learning, every class has 15 minutes of story time where the teacher reads a class text, which should be at an appropriate level above that which could be read independently. This time is very relaxed and enables the children to enjoy time spent around books. Teachers should use this time to model good use of expression and help communicate to children the power of reading; with its ability to transport you to new worlds and make new friends in the characters you meet. This time should be cherished within the class, and promote excitement and enjoyment.
Phonics – Word Recognition and Decoding
From Reception to Year 2, phonics is taught as a discreet daily 20 minute session.
At Chambersbury, Year 1 and Reception use the ELS phonics scheme (which is based on Letters and Sounds). These sessions are supplemented with resources from Espresso, Phonics Play and other phonics games/activities to consolidate the learning at different points throughout the day.
In Year 2 the phonics planning is based on the DfE ‘Letters and Sounds’ adapted to meet the needs of our children. This planning follows a Revisit/ Review – Teach – Practise – Apply format. It includes the teaching of high frequency words as well as phonics, informed from ‘Letters and Sounds’, The National Curriculum and class based assessments such as spelling tests and reading and writing assessments.
Through our phonics teaching we hope that all children will develop the necessary decoding skills to support fluent reading. The majority of children will follow the scheme as set out in the handbook. We do however appreciate that not all children can learn at this pace, so meet their needs and help fill any gaps in their phonological awareness and knowledge, some children receive extra support and more targeted teaching. This may be having phonics sessions at a level different to that which is set out for their year, extra support in whole class sessions in a small group with a TA, small group work or personalised interventions in addition to the daily phonics sessions. Opportunities are also built in for all children throughout the school year to consolidate previous learning, especially after school breaks.
Children in R, Year 1 and Year 2 are assessed using Phonics tracker termly, according to the phases of phonics they are working within. This is used to enable the identification of gaps and areas of weakness and group the children accordingly to address these and best meet the children’s needs. Some children within KS2 may also benefit from additional phonics lessons which can be arranged as interventions with a TA, or some children may join the KS1 sessions at the discretion of the teachers.
In Year 1 there is also a statutory phonics screening check in June. Any children who do not pass will retake in Year 2. The phonics screening is designed to give teachers and parents’ information about children’s progress in phonics and help identify children who need extra support.
*AMENDMENT – due to the impact of COVID this assessment is carried out in the Autumn term of Year 2, according to guidance from the DfE. (School Years 2020-2021 & 2021-2022)
Guided Reading – Fluency and Language Comprehension
Guided Reading takes place alongside English lessons as discrete 20-30 minute sessions four times a week. The sessions will be mainly whole class, with the children working in mixed ability pairs and groups, to enable high quality discussions for all children. The focus of these sessions is to develop children fluency and use of expression, alongside improving their comprehension. A text should be chosen that is at an appropriate level for most children, with elements that challenge. This should be copied for at least one between two to ensure all children can see the text. A basic weekly structure should look something like this:
Vocab building or Build general knowledge
Reading skill lesson: eg. close read, visualising, comprehension, predicting
Reading skill lesson: eg. close read, visualising, comprehension, predicting
(this session can come at any point in the sequence, as appropriate)
Activities in guided reading might take a number of forms including, but not limited to:
Teachers will make notes as appropriate on plans based on skills covered and how children got on with certain activities. These are supplemented by the work in books with should be self/peer marked or quick marked in lessons.
Guided Reading sessions should also be supplemented throughout the week with 1:1 reading to support decoding skills. Lower attainers/PPG children should be the main focus, but all children should be heard at least once a week by teacher or TA. (The fifth guided reading session of the week should be used for this, with children reading for pleasure independently when not with an adult).
Reading at Home
It is our expectation that children read at home out loud to an adult daily for 10 minutes, discussing what they have read to ensure understanding. Parents/carers are expected to sign their child’s reading record each time and make any relevant notes, which is then checked by a TA or class teacher in school daily to identity any children not reading, as well as communicate with home as necessary. In UKS2, as well as the time reading aloud with an adult, children are encouraged to read for longer independently (at least 20 minutes), which they can then record what they have read in their diaries.
As part of the ELS phonics scheme, children in KS1 take home 2 books each week. The first is a phonics reader, which has been carefully matched to the phonics that has been taught in school. These decodable texts only use the sounds the children have been taught and aim to build fluency and help completely secure what has been taught in lessons. This is especially important as they begin to learn that the sounds within our language can be spelled in different ways. The intention is that these books are read repeatedly as many times as possible across the week as re-reading words and sentences that they can decode (sound out) until they are fluent (read with ease and precision) is a key part of learning to read. By reading the same text several times, children have the greatest opportunity to achieve this fluency.
The second book is a sharing book that the children are able to choose, to help promote reading for pleasure. These books are sent home for adults to read with the children, helping to instil a love of reading from the very beginning of their reading journey. These could be read together with children reading the words they are able to decode or could be read to the child.
Towards the end of Year 1 or the start of Year 2, your child’s phonics reader may be replaced with the colour banded readers. This is to allow the children to consolidate all the sounds that have been taught and enable them to explore a wider range of texts. Each colour band consists of a range of books consolidating previously taught sounds, as well as alternative spellings studied. Children will be able to choose from this selection, enabling them to read for pleasure whilst still at a decodable level. This system will help to boost confidence and enable children to make progress in their reading independently.
Each child’s colour band will be determined through teacher assessment; based predominantly on phonics assessments (both summative, and formative from within phonics sessions), to ensure each child is reading at a level which matches the phonics they are currently studying. However, summative and formative comprehension assessments (guided reading, 1:1 reading) will also be taken in to account to ensure children are reading for meaning and developing their use of expression. Children should be able to decode 95% of their book and talk about it and answer a range of questions before being moved up a level.
Children will continue to bring home a sharing book as well. Some children may need to continue to secure their phonic knowledge from the previous years, and will carry on reading the decodable phonics texts as before, until these sounds are secure.
In KS2, children will begin to move onto the ‘Accelerated Reader’ programme. This judgement will be made starting in Year 3, where they will start the programme if ready, and if not continue through the colour band system the same as Key Stage 1.
The Accelerated Reader programme (by Renaissance) is designed to continue developing children’s reading skills at an appropriate level, alongside engaging quizzes that the children complete to check their comprehension. The quizzes enable teacher to monitor and set goals for children based on how they have done with regard to their comprehension, reading speed, and reading level to enable good progress. This programme helps promote and celebrate reading, as well enables accurate tracking. Several of the secondary schools our Year 6 children move on to also use this system, helping provide consistency across their learning.
If towards the end of Year 4/once in UKS2, children are still working significantly below age related expectation and cannot access accelerated reader, they may be moved the ‘Engaging Reading KS2’ Levels of the book band system. Level 2 is for children still reading at a Year 1/2 level, and Level 3 is for children reading at a Year 2/3 level. These bands are made up of books from the main reading scheme, but have more appropriate and engaging contexts and stories to continue promoting an interest and love of reading. This will be continually monitored and assessed by the class teacher to see when they children are move on.
In addition to accelerated reader, and to help promote reading for pleasure further, children have access to the school library to choose books from to read at school. Teachers also have access to this to update and refresh class room libraries as well as select relevant topic books to have displays and easily accessible to children.
The primary desired impact for our children is that they enjoy and are engaged with their learning across the curriculum, translating their English skills as appropriate for reading and writing. We aim to encourage reading for pleasure, not just as a life skills or because it is an English lesson.
With regard to impact on attainment and progress, formative assessment is a key feature of every lesson and evidence on yellow A3 plans for main English lessons. Within guided reading lessons teachers will annotate plans and make notes as appropriate. When reading 1:1 with an adult, notes might be made in individuals reading records regarding particular difficulties or strengths to enable a running commentary and help work with parents to improve learning.
Summative assessments will take place half termly, where the children will be assessed against the criteria of emerging, developing or securing for their year group, or lower year groups where appropriate. This will translate into Herts Assessment levels at the end of each term.
Where areas of weakness are identified, teachers should raise concerns regarding learning needs with the SEN Co, who can suggest possible strategies and interventions that can be put in place to support children in achieving their full potential. These will be detailed on individual learning plans as appropriate or whole class provision maps.