Reading and Phonics
At Ashbourne Primary School, Reading is an integral part of the school curriculum. We aim to install a love of reading in all children. Our aim is to equip all children with the necessary skills needed to become to fluent and confident readers. We understand the fundamental importance that reading has on a child’s ability to access the wider curriculum, make progress and ultimately succeed in life.
How is Reading taught at Ashbourne Primary School?
At Ashbourne Primary School, we follow the ‘Totally Pawsome Reading Gang’. These key reading skills encourage deeper thinking and understanding as well as helping the children to understand the questions that we are asking them and the skills that they are using. Sessions are designed to be fun and interactive and children’s achievement is carefully and frequently tracked to ensure progress is rapid. In our Reading Scheme above, you will find how reading is taught in EYFS, KS1 and KS2 and the ‘Totally Pawsome Reading Gang’ skills that are used to support our reading lessons in each year group.
How is Phonics taught at Ashbourne Primary School?
Early reading is taught using synthetic phonics, whereby pupils are systematically taught the phonemes (sounds), how to blend the sounds and how to segment the sounds in order to write words. They are taught to use their phonic skills and knowledge as their first approach to reading, but are also taught ‘tricky words’ and common exception words which do not completely follow the phonic rules. Our progressive approach to teaching phonics at Ashbourne Primary School follows ‘Unlocking Letters and Sounds’. This scheme was validated by the DfE in December 2021. This approach is a fast paced, clearly progressive approach to teaching phonics. We begin teaching phonics in the first few weeks of term 1 in Reception and children make rapid progress in their reading journey. Children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4.
In Year 1, children progress through Phase 5a, b and c, they learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words. By the end of Year 1 children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the national Phonics Screening Check.
In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support to close identified gaps.
To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to keep up through bespoke 1-1 interventions. These include GPC recognition and blending and segmenting interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have an impact.
Take a look at what we have been up to in our Phonics sessions!
Reading for Pleasure
At Ashbourne Primary School, we believe reading for pleasure is incredibly important. All classes have a dedicated ‘Class Storytime’ at the end of every day, this is a non-negotiable timetabled slot. During this time, staff read aloud to the children uninterrupted. The focus for these Reading for Pleasure sessions is the children’s enjoyment of reading. We want to ensure that our story times foster excitement about books with the children.
We feel that the children should be involved with selecting our class storytime books. In each classroom, there is a ‘Voting Area’, where each day the children are able to choose either the story that is read that day or how the story is read that day (E.g. In front of the fire, in the reading area, in the outdoor environment etc). This also promotes one of our British Values, Democracy.
We hold many whole-school reading events over the school, year to celebrate reading! Each year we celebrate World Book Day and run events such as a ‘Vocabulary Parade’ and ‘Buddy Reading’ to promote and celebrate a love of books and to expose children to new vocabulary. We also hold ‘Ashbourne Primary School’s Poetry Festival’ during our whole-school Communication Topic in Autumn 2. For this event, each class learn a poem off by heart and perform this to the rest of the school. We welcome the Scholastic Book Fair each year. This is always a great success! Alongside the Book Fair, we run competitions to win book vouchers to spend, these included designing a new book cover and writing a short story. We also try to make links with authors to help us promote the love of reading!
World Book Day
Each year, we celebrate World Book Day by taking part in a Vocabulary Parade! Each child dressed up as a ‘word’. This is a great opportunity to celebrate and learn a wide range of new words and their definitions. In the afternoon, classes come together for their Vocabulary Parade where they get a chance to look at words other children have dressed up as. A great effort is always made by all!
Reading Rewards and Incentives
At Ashbourne Primary School, all children are encouraged to read at home at least five times a week.
If the children read at home at least 5 times a week and a comment is made in the reading diary, they will receive a reading voucher. This will then go into a prize draw in our ‘Golden Box’! During our Celebration Assembly on a Friday, one token will be picked out at random of the golden box and the child on the winning voucher will win a BRAND NEW BOOK to keep! We have a huge selection of books for all ages and interests for the children themselves to choose from and this is selection is updated regularly.
Reading Corners and Displays
In classes and around school, we have many areas dedicated to promoting reading. Each class has an inviting reading corner where a small selection of carefully chosen books are available for the children to browse and choose from. The Pawsome Gang members will be displayed in all classrooms for children and teachers to refer to. All classes have a reading display to track our reading over the school year, this is called ‘Our Reading Journey’. Book covers are displayed, showing which texts have been read and are being read in each class. This includes books shared during reading session, literacy lessons and class story times.