Reading, SPaG & Phonics

Reading and Phonics at Whaddon CofE First School

Reading is taught as a basic skill in its own right and is practiced throughout all areas of the curriculum. In the early stages of reading, reading is taught as a discrete subject and is later practiced and enhanced as a lifelong strategy and for pleasure.

Phonics is taught following Letters and Sounds, a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. 

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.

Children read or are read to daily in school. In Foundation and Key Stage One they read books using the phonics they have learnt as part of their discrete phonic teaching. In addition, teachers hear children read individually and in groups in all classes. The group reading books are carefully matched to the children’s reading ability to develop fluency, comprehension and enjoyment of books. Children read widely across different subjects.

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. 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 open to all families at the end of the school day to borrow books from.