How we Teach Reading at Wheatlands
Teaching our children not only to become proficient readers, but to develop a love of reading is of vital importance at Wheatlands Primary School. Evidence suggests that children who read for enjoyment every day not only perform better in reading tests than those who don’t, but also develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that reading for pleasure is more likely to determine whether a child does well at school than their social or economic background.
Phonics at Wheatlands
We teach our children to read using a systematic synthetic phonics approach. Synthetic phonics refers to an approach to the teaching of reading in which the phonemes [sounds] associated with particular graphemes [letters] are pronounced in isolation and blended together (synthesised). For example, children are taught to take a single-syllable word such as cat apart into its three letters, pronounce a phoneme for each letter in turn, and blend the phonemes together to form a word. Synthetic phonics for writing reverses the sequence: children are taught to say the word they wish to write, segment it into its phonemes and say them in turn, for example d-o-g, and write a grapheme for each phoneme in turn to produce the written word, dog.’
We follow the Read, Write, Inc. Phonics scheme, which the children begin upon arrival in Reception or sooner if children are ready. The children in Reception and Key Stage One actively take part in a daily phonics session. The children are grouped according to their ability. Reading is assessed termly and analysed by the Reading Leader. This data informs future planning and groupings.
More information on RWI can be found in the parent leaflets below.
Guided Reading takes place in all year groups. Guided Reading is a quiet time across the school where children have the opportunity to read twice a week in a guided group with their teacher and their Teaching Assistant. Guided Reading sessions last around 20 to 30 minutes. During this time there are a range of reading strategies that are formally taught in KS1:
1. Blending sounds to read
2. Using picture clues
3. Checking for sense and using letter names as well as letter sounds
4. Chunking, looking for words or blends within words
5. Missing out the word
6. Reading on and rereading to give clues
Teachers in KS2 are aware of these strategies to consolidate previous learning and continue to promote and teach any strategies children are not yet using. Children are taught comprehension skills to enable them to find the answers to questions about a text.
Teaching staff note in children’s Reading Records when they have read with them in a Guided Reading session, and maintain ongoing assessment records of the children’s reading progress.
To assess reading levels in terms of the National Curriculum, we use a range of assessment tools. All pupils’ reading books are regularly assessed to ensure they are reading a book with appropriate challenge.
Home Reading Books
When the children begin school in Reception, they begin by “reading” picture books, and then progress on to books with words at their teacher’s discretion. Teachers assess when children are ready to move on to the next reading level and so this continues through the rest of the school. Once children are able to read fluently they are encouraged to pick a book of their own choice, we hope this approach promotes a love of reading.
Rewarding Reading at Home and School
At Wheatlands Primary school, we celebrate independent reading by rewarding children who read to an adult. They have the opportunity to place their name on our honours board in the school library. Children should aim to read to an adult 200 times over the course of a school year.
At Wheatlands, we use a range of writing stimulus, such as novels, short stories, images, films and short clips. We teach writing through a range of different methods:
The writing process:
Familiarisation and Talk for Writing. (Exposure to many samples of a writing genre).
The writing process begins by looking at examples with a focus on a model text or paragraph. The children work with talking partners to become familiar with the language and structure of the text. Drama, text mapping or story boarding may be used to further familiarize the children.
Modelled writing (Writing for the children).
This is usually a whole class session where the teacher is demonstrating how to write by ‘thinking aloud’ as he/she composes and interacts with the text in front of the pupils. This allows the children to hear the thinking process that is going on during the writing process. Modelled writing is not an interactive writing time between teacher and pupils.
Shared writing (Writing with the children).
This is a joint construction of the text between the teacher and the children. The teacher is acting as the scribe but the children have ownership of the text. As they are not directly engaged in the physical demand of the writing, they are better able to concentrate on the compositional aspects of the work and contribute a wide range of ideas.
Before the children are able to write independently they are supported to plan their writing.
Independent writing (Writing by the children).
Before the children are able to write independently they are supported to plan their writing. Children need many opportunities for independent writing in a variety of forms, based upon both teacher guidance and their own choice of topic. The purpose of independent writing is to put into practice the ideas, structures and skills that they have seen demonstrated in modelled and shared writing. During independent writing children are given opportunities to and encouraged to edit and improve their writing.