Reading and Phonics at Whaddon Cof E School
Reading is taught as an essential life skill, in its own right and is practiced throughout all areas of the curriculum. In the early stages of our pupils' reading journey, reading is taught as a discrete subject and is later practiced and refined, as a lifelong strategy and promoting reading for pleasure.
Phonics is taught using Little Wandle Letters and Sounds, a phonics scheme published in conjunction with Big Cat books.
Little Wandle letters and Sounds aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It 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.
In Year 1 the children have to complete the statutory Year 1 phonics screening check. This is a short, light-touch assessment to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard. It will identify the children who need extra help so they are given support by the school to improve their reading skills. They will then be able to retake the check so that we can track pupils until they are able to decode and blend fluently.
Children read or are read to daily in school. In Foundation and Key Stage One they read books that match their level of phonic awareness, which is assessed every 6 weeks. In addition, teachers hear children read individually and in groups in all classes. The group reading books are also carefully matched to the children’s reading ability to develop fluency, comprehension and enjoyment of books. Children read widely across different subjects.
We are grateful to Mrs Pitt our reader volunteer who helps with the year 1 and 2 readers every Wednesday morning.
Parents are encouraged to support reading at home and children are expected to read at least 4 times a week. The school has a wide range of high quality books for the children to read. We prefer to use ‘real’ books by respected authors rather than scheme books from Year 1 upwards in order to develop a love of books that will stay with our children throughout their lives. There is also a variety of Big Cat phonic books available on e-books, so as to reflect the range of reading 21st Century readers encounter.
Each child progresses at their own pace. The all have an individual diary where reading is recorded and tracked and is a means of communicating development to the child, parent and teacher. The library is currently undergoing renovation and replenishment, thanks to the work of The Friends of Whaddon School team who have been raising funds to ensure a wide range of exciting and engaging fiction, non-fiction and poetry books are available from Reception to upper Key Stage 2.