At Richard Lee, we understand the pivotal role that we play in ensuring that all children learn to read. We believe that all children can learn to read, regardless of their background, needs or abilities and we are determined to make this happen through our ambitious curriculum underpinned by high expectations. Reading at Richard Lee is based on the use of carefully planned and sequenced high-quality texts, ensuring that all learners know more and learn more over time and are challenged through a broad and balanced curriculum.
We are relentless in our aim to ensure that children become engaged with reading from the very beginning of their school life and that, by the end of their primary education, they are able to read fluently with confidence in order to access their forthcoming secondary education. At the heart of our strategy, is our drive to cultivate a love of reading, enriching learning with imaginative and thought-provoking texts across the curriculum.
• Whilst teaching reading at Richard Lee, we prioritise the two key strands: word reading/decoding and language comprehension. Reading fluency strategies are employed throughout school to build the bridge between the two key strands and reading for pleasure is prioritised to foster a love of books. Approaches are developed with evidence-based strategies in mind to ensure that high quality teaching and learning takes places.
• Systematic, synthetic phonics is taught using the Read, Write, Inc. programme. Throughout Reception and Key Stage One, pupils take part in phonics lessons at least once a day until they have completed the programme. Phonics intervention is provided for any pupils who are struggling with their word reading – this may be continued into Key Stage Two.
• In Key Stage One and Key Stage Two, language comprehension is mainly taught through daily whole-class reading lessons. These sessions are based on age-appropriate, high-quality texts chosen to cover a rich and diverse variety of text types, authors, characters, settings, themes and vocabulary. Where possible, these texts link to the wider curriculum. Pupils are taught the skills and strategies found within Richard Lee’s ‘Reader’s Toolkit’ through the use of discussion and written work.
• Reading fluency strategies (such as ‘echo reading’ and ‘jumping in’) are built into reading sessions as well as lessons across the curriculum.
• A typical whole class reading lesson follows the structure of: a starter activity, which activates background knowledge or prior learning; a shared learning objective, linked to the reader’s toolkit where appropriate; the sharing of key vocabulary; reading fluency; ‘I do’ and ‘we do’ modelling of the reading skill, using think alouds; ‘you do’ independent practice of the reading skill, with appropriate challenge (Take it Further activities) and scaffolds followed by reflection at the end of the lesson.
• Spoken language is a focus throughout Richard Lee and particularly for pupils in the early stages of learning to read. A language-rich environment in our Early Years classrooms, including using WellComm assessment and resources, ensures that opportunities for vocabulary and language development are optimised.
• Stories, poems and rhymes form an essential part of our Early Years curriculum, particularly through story times and continuous provision, so that children are exposed to a wide range of vocabulary and language structures.
• Story time has a protected slot in the timetable for each year group. Texts are carefully selected to allow children to inhabit the lives of those who are like them as well to learn about the lives of those whose experiences and perspectives differ from their own. Each classroom also has a book corner, which celebrates and promotes reading. Opportunities for pupils to read their ‘reading for pleasure’ book are also built timetables.
• Regular reading at home is a vital aspect of building reading skills. All pupils take home a banded reading book and a reading for pleasure book, as well a book that is matched to phonics ability for those still taking part in Read, Write, Inc. Levelled books are part of the Collins Big Cat scheme and pupils are expected to read at least three times a week at home, recording this in their home reading record. All pupils take part in a reading passport reward scheme for home reading.
• Reading is assessed through continuous formative assessment within lessons, as well as termly summative assessments. Children taking part in the Read, Write, Inc scheme are frequently assessed and regrouped to ensure that provision matches gaps in sound knowledge.
• Pupils who are struggling with reading are assessed to identify specific gaps in decoding, fluency or comprehension and rapid intervention linking to the three areas is put in place and carefully tracked.
Our ultimate aim for reading is to create fluent, confident and able readers, who can access a range of texts for pleasure and enjoyment, as well as use their reading skills to unlock learning in all areas of the curriculum. We firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so ultimately our curriculum can have a wider impact on pupils’ life chances.
Early Reading and Phonics
At Richard Lee, we strive to teach children to read effectively and quickly using the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme (RWI) which includes teaching synthetic phonics, sight vocabulary, decoding and encoding words as well as spelling and accurate letter formation.
We passionately believe that teaching children to read and write independently, as quickly as possible, is one of the core purposes of a primary school. These fundamental skills not only hold the keys to the rest of the curriculum but also have a huge impact on children’s self-esteem and future life chances. Using the RWI phonics program we teach children to:
In practice, children learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and are taught how to blend these sounds to decode (read) words. We start by teaching children to read and blend the first thirty Set 1 sounds. Once they have conquered this skill, they start reading stories and texts that have words made up of the sounds they know. This means that they can embed and apply their phonic knowledge and start to build their reading fluency. Once secure, children learn Set 2 and Set 3 sounds and then read texts with increasingly more complex sounds and graphemes. Throughout this process, there is a focus on comprehension, reading with expression and reading for enjoyment.
Children are taught in small groups which reflect their phonic knowledge and reading fluency. We regularly assess children so that they are taught in a RWI group which matches their phonic knowledge. We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ability to read ‘tricky words’ so they experience early reading success and gain confidence that they are readers.
During the Summer term in Year 1, children nationwide are tested on their phonic knowledge. This test helps us to identify children who have gaps in their phonic knowledge and may need further support in Year 2. The test is low-key and we endeavour to make it stress-free for the children. Essentially, the children are asked to read 40 words from a list, using their phonics to ‘sound out’ the word and then blend it if they need to. Parents are informed as to whether their child has achieved the national expectation within the child’s end-of-year report.
How to help at home
There are many quick and easy ways to help your child with their reading learning at home. Talking to your child about books and reading is one of the most important things that you can do to support their progress in reading.
Take a look at the links here to find more specific ideas, depending on what reading stage your child is at.
At the end of KS2, in Year 6, pupils will sit national SATs tests to measure their progress at primary school. One of these SATs tests will be in reading. You can find examples KS2 SATs papers here.
Helping your child with Early Reading: Phonics!
Practice makes perfect! Encourage your child to notice the letters and words all around them - this could be in books, on shopping list or street signs. Talk to your child about which sounds they have been learning in Read, Write, Inc. lessons at school.
Watch the video below to understand more about phonics.
Helping your child with Wider Reading!
Practice makes perfect! Encourage your child to read as often as possible - it could be to you, to a relative or even to their toys! Words are all around us - look out for new words in shops, in recipes or in instructions to make reading relevant to real life. Enjoy reading time and all the adventures that books can take you on!
Try to read to your child as well as hearing them read. Here are some handy hints and tips:
Please be aware that although all of these links have been checked at the time of publishing, the internet is constantly changing. If you find any problems with the links, then please let the school know.