Reading and Phonics

Reading Intent

At Christ Church Primary School, we endeavour to ensure Reading is at the heart of everything that we do.

Our primary intent is to create skilled readers who can reach their full potential in society through their deep understanding of English. By ensuring children are empowered with a wealth of knowledge, we know they will have better chances in future success-for economic gain, opportunities, freedom, and social mobility.

Our Reading curriculum offers ambition and challenge, placing our students’ needs at the heart of it. While phonics and fluency are emphasised in the early teaching of reading, immersive whole-class reading sessions later take precedent. These sessions help to develop fluency but primarily focus on the contextualisation of language and literary devices.

The key driver to our Reading curriculum is high-quality texts. Opportunities have been made to ensure children are able to place themselves within the texts, access a range of genres, authors, and themes.

Ultimately, we aim to infuse a genuine reading culture amongst our community for both pleasure and understanding. With a high proportion of EAL pupils, oracy is a high priority and instrumental in ensuring future social mobility. Reading for pleasure will allow our students to access the curriculum but life beyond the classroom doors as lifelong learner.

Reading Implementation

Throughout Key Stage 1 and 2, Reading and Writing are taught using an interwoven practise. Carefully selected texts are used to allow children to develop as readers and writers interchangeably; contextualisation of texts sits at the heart of our sessions.

To ensure Reading is ambitious and systematic, a whole-class approach is taken. This ensures there is no glass-ceiling and an equal opportunity for all learners. During whole class reading sessions, children are rapidly moving through the mediums of: whole class talk; paired and group talk and individual thinking. The many strands of word recognition and language comprehension are woven together to ensure skilled reading.

See our recommended reading lists for each year group:

Reading Spine

The teaching of reading is central to our English ethos; underpinned by the Reading Spine. The spine has been carefully developed to broaden children’s literature repertoire and encourages them to become wider, more avid and life-long readers. Within the reading spine we have core reading texts which our writing units are derived from.

The texts reflect our heritage and being British. Within each year group, and where possible, cross-curricular links are made and texts are chosen because of their connection with wider learning in areas such as History or Geography. Some texts have been chosen because of the fantastic route they offer into discussing and exploring many social, emotional and cultural issues, thus developing the cultural capital of our children. Overall, there is a variety of literature for children to immerse themselves in.

  • Picture books such as The Arrival and Flotsam
  • Authors of similar backgrounds and experiences
  • Children able to see themselves within the text as the character or author
  • British heritage such as studying Shakespeare plays
  • Children’s interest such as fantasy, sci-fi and adventure
  • Global issues such as poverty and apartheid
  • Female empowerment

Teachers as Readers

Our excellent teaching staff, lead by example at Christ Church where they foster a reading culture and encourage engagement. Teachers ensure there are opportunities to read across the wider curriculum to help contextualise learning.

At Christ Church, our English Coordinator is Mrs Yasmin. All staff champion reading for pleasure and model good reading habits, laying the foundations for reading with enthusiasm. We have been part of a special UKLA research project called 'Building Communities of Readers' and we have adopted lots of the ideas to help us develop a lifelong love of reading.

Each classroom has a library where children can use a range of texts to support their learning or immerse themselves into the latest recommended reads for their age. We also have a delivery every week of First News: a newspaper for all KS2 classrooms so that they are up-to-date with current global news.

Reading for Pleasure

Reading for pleasure

We have a strong ethos around the importance of reading, including reading for pleasure. Across the school, there are dedicated reading for pleasure sessions whereby staff and pupils enjoy reading freely, independently or taking part in activities to promote reading engagement.

Reciting poems and songs helps children build strong emotional connections to language as well as memorise words and phrases. Core poems are selected for each year group and are enjoyed during these sessions.

Reading Room

Reading Room

A special sanctuary within the school is the Reading Room.

The room hosts a selection of reading schemes such as: Phonic Bugs, Project X and Rapid Readers. These have been chosen as they provide complete support for primary reading, supporting our ambition for all children to become fluent readers - through hundreds of high-quality fiction and non-fiction banded books.

Library

Library

To ensure our students grow in confidence, independence, and a natural curiosity, we have two school libraries: KS1 and KS2.

The libraries host fantastic collections of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry books. A range of classical and contemporary texts are readily available. Children explore the work of a range of authors and adapt their style within their own writing.

Every student is able to take home a book of their choice from the class or school library.

We have an online library where children can access books to share with their families. This has been particularly crucial to do as one in eight families in the UK do not own a single book, limiting their potential and widening the vocabulary, knowledge, and social mobility gap.

Parents in Partnership

Working in partnership with families, ensures our children have a supportive network of adults supporting them to become confident role models ready for modern Britain. Parent workshops are held to share practise on how families can best support their child.

A reading diary is used as a record of books children have read and enables communication between teachers, support staff and students. An open-door policy ensures parents are able to receive the support they require immediately.

Reading Impact

The impact of the reading emphasis and teaching at Christ Church Primary will be:

  • Fluent readers
  • Competent and skilled readers empowered by their knowledge
  • High levels of comprehension and vocabulary development
  • A fostering of reading for pleasure
  • Year 1 Phonic Screening Check pass rates
  • High levels of engagement in the books children read
  • The ability to read across a range of subjects

We hope that as children move on from Christ Church Primary to further their education and learning, that their creativity, passion for Reading and high aspirations, travel with them and continue to grow and develop as they do.

E-Books

Guided Reading books can be read online at www.activelearnprimary.co.uk

Students have access to their own usernames and passwords. Here a range of challenges can be completed to encourage independent reading.

See below for a guide on how to access Bug Club reading books at home.

To access some fantastic eBooks visit www.oxfordowl.co.uk. There are over 260 free books for parents to read with their child at home with lots of ideas on how to support children with reading.

Teaching Phonics - Letters and Sounds

At Christ Church School we use ‘Letters and Sounds’ to teach Phonics. Read more below:

In Early Years and KS1 we have a 25 minute daily Phonics session where children learn how to read and write using their phonic knowledge.

In Nursery we teach Phase 1 of Letters and Sounds which encourages them to hear sounds in the environment and they play lots of exciting phonic games. We start to recognise letters of the alphabet and listen carefully for sounds in words.

In Reception we teach Phase 2, 3 and 4 sounds which helps us understand which sound each letter makes and how to blend them together to make words. We use the Interactive Whiteboard to play games and learn new phonemes and graphemes.

We teach the children that some words need to be learnt and are difficult to sound out. We call these Tricky Words. Children need to be able to read and spell these words. Can you practise at home?

In Year 1 we teach Phase 5 sounds and make sure the children understand that some sounds can be written more than one way. At the end of Year 1 they take the Phonics Screening Test which ensures they can decode a mixture of real and nonsense. Read more: Parent Guide to the Phonics Screening Test

Why not visit PhonicsPlay and Family Learning to play some games and see for yourself!

In Year 2 we teach Phase 6 sounds which has more of a grammatical focus and complements our SPaG lessons.

In KS2, children continue to develop their phonic skills within spelling, punctuation and grammar lessons (SPaG). Extra support is available to children who may need a bespoke Phonics session to support their learning.

At Christ Church we use a cursive script for Handwriting from Year One upwards. An example of our cursive script can be found below. In Nursery and Reception we do not teach children to write using leading flicks. An example of how children learn to form letters in Nursery and Reception can be found below:


A daily phonics session.
 
Playing a phonics game.

Learning 'tricky words'.
 
More games to help with phonics.