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Our Approach to Phonics and Reading



In the EYFS children’s reading is taught through the phonics activities mentioned above.  Children will only be able to take books home when they have enough phonic knowledge to tackle the words in the book independently.  When it is the right time to send reading books home with the children often varies from child to child.  All the children experience a variety of text types in class and are encouraged to understand the elements of a story.  Children sequence parts of a shared story and discuss what they know about the characters.

During the EYFS and Year 1 the children are actively encouraged to form an interest in and take pleasure in reading, and will come across a wide variety of different text types.  They are taught a range of strategies to decode words, with an emphasis on phonological knowledge and word building skills.  During discussions about books, either in whole class, group or one-to-one situations, children are always encouraged to express their opinions about the books they read and to give reasons for their answers. 

Later on in the EYFS (when the children are ready) and in Year 1, children are allowed to choose a book to take home and share with their parents/carers.  We use Book Bands to help us organise the books we have in order of difficulty.  Children are teacher assessed and this assessment then corresponds to a ‘book band’ colour.  The children will then independently choose a book from that coloured section to take home.

Accelerated Reader

Once the children move up to Year 2, they will start to move onto Accelerated Reader (AR). 

AR is a powerful computer programme for monitoring and managing independent reading practice. With AR, children’s teachers can create a reading programme to meet the needs of every pupil.

Using information generated by the software, teachers can help pupils select books that are difficult enough to keep them challenged, but not too difficult to cause frustration. Following a ‘STAR Reading’ test, children are given a ZPD range, e.g. 3.4 – 5.1.  Children are then able to choose books from within this range.  Our AR reading books are kept in two well stocked libraries, where the children can independently go and choose a book from their ZPD range.

Once the children have read a book, they take a fun motivational quiz on the computer to test their comprehension of the book they have read, aiming for benchmarks and targets set by their teachers through AR’s extensive reporting capabilities.  As all the data generated by the quizzes the children do is collected and managed by the computer programme, the teacher can effectively monitor the children’s progress in reading at the touch of a button.

The data generated by AR covers reading comprehension, vocabulary development, literacy skills development, and more. AR provides teachers with immediate information, helping them monitor the reading level and comprehension skills of each student and inform further instruction or intervention.

Children and parents get instant feedback to help motivate success with the use of TOPS reports and Renaissance Home Connect™, which allows parents to view their children’s progress from home.

Throughout Key Stage 2, children will continue to use Accelerated Reader, and will be encouraged to read independently and for the intrinsic enjoyment of reading.  They are expected to read a range of texts and materials and use their knowledge of words, sentences and texts to form an understanding and make appropriate responses.  They have opportunities through whole class reading, guided reading and independent reading to read a variety of text types, varying in length, genre and complexity, to provide them with sufficient challenge.

Children have opportunities to read with an adult regularly throughout KS2.  This varies depending upon the age and ability of the child.  The types of reading include group reading, guided reading and independent reading, as appropriate, depending upon the child, text and learning objectives.

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