Learning to read at Springfield
The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of reading. Our curriculum is designed to ensure children to become fluent communicators, avid readers and confident writers. Our children are empowered by a high-quality English curriculum that teaches our children to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them.
Teaching children to read and write independently, as quickly as possible, is one of the core purposes of a primary school. These key skills not only unlock the rest of the curriculum but also have a huge impact on children’s self-confidence and future life chances.
The National Curriculum programmes of study for reading are based on the simple view of reading. This model shows that reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading. In all our classrooms, from Nursery to Year 6, we prioritise reading to our children because we know that listening to and talking about stories develops children’s vocabulary. The Reading Framework 2021
To ensure that our children are able to read and write successfully, we use the programme Read Write Inc to teach phonics. Phonics teaches children that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. Children’s knowledge of the English alphabetic code – how letters or groups of letters represent the sounds of the language – supports their reading and spelling.
In Read Write Inc. Phonics children:
- Decode letter-sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly, using their phonic knowledge and skills
- Read common exception words on sight
- Understand what they read
- Read aloud with fluency and expression
- Write confidently, with a strong focus on vocabulary and grammar
- Spell quickly and easily by segmenting the sounds in words
Watch this short introduction to RWI phonics for more information: What is RWI Phonics?
Reading in Nursery
Reading is one of the most important lifelong skills that children will begin to develop while they are in our nursery. We actively teach the skills needed for children to become good readers using a range of activities, strategies and resources. First and foremost, we aim to instil a love of reading in our children. We do this by sharing carefully selected stories with the children every day. As well as reading to the children, we encourage them to share books with their friends. Our Nursery classroom has an inviting book corner where children can choose their own books to look at or share.
Before children begin matching letters to sounds in phonics sessions, we teach our children about sounds around them so that they can spot the differences and differentiate between many sounds. In these sessions we also teach children about the rhythm in words, about rhyme and alliteration. Children will learn and join in with many songs, jingles and rhymes while they are with us. They will develop their own repertoire of Nursery rhymes and Maths rhymes to help them learn skills to help them read. When the children are ready, we start the next stage of our phonics programme by teaching the children the letters of the alphabet and their corresponding sound. We use the Read Write Inc. sound cards and mnemonics to support children as they match letters to sounds.
Reading in Reception
In Reception, learning to read becomes an essential part of the children’s daily routine. Within a group, children are taught the initial sounds of the alphabet. Sounds are associated with familiar words, for example a for apple, to help children to grasp the letter-sound correspondences quickly. Children are also taught to read common exception words e.g. the or he.
Following the RWI programme, we start by teaching children to read the first thirty sounds (Set 1 Sounds) and to blend these sounds to read words (i.e. to know that the sounds c/a/t can blend together to read the word cat). We introduce the sounds of letters first rather than their alphabet names as the sounds support them as they learn how to decode texts. Once our children have mastered the skill of sounding out and blending, 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. At the same time, we teach them to write the sounds and use this knowledge to spell, leading to writing short sentences.
Once our children have mastered the Set 1 sounds and have started to build-up a bank of words they can read on sight, they progress to learning the more complex sounds (Set 2 and 3). As their confidence and fluency grows, the children read texts with increasingly more complex sounds and graphemes (different ways of spelling the sounds, e.g. /igh/, /ie/ or /ay/, /ai/). They learn that a sound can be written using 2 or 3 or even 4 letters. We call this a grapheme (e.g. igh represent the /i/ sound in the word night).
During their phonic lessons, children read lively phonics books which are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of sounds so that they experience success in reading. Alongside their phonics lessons, we continue to immerse children in high-quality texts which are read aloud to the children every day. We use story-maps as a way of encouraging children to learn these narratives off by heart so that they can retell them with confidence. Children are encouraged to select their own books to read which are on display in the book corner. All around the Reception classroom, we have text asking children questions, making statements and giving information. These purposeful texts help children to read for meaning and understand that writing has a purpose.
Watch this pronunciation guide to learn how to say all the sounds: How to say the sounds.
Reading in Year 1
As the children progress into Key Stage 1, they continue to develop and consolidate their growing knowledge of sounds or phonemes and their associated graphemes. Within a group, children are taught sounds in a lively and engaging lesson. They continue to read phonics books which contain the sounds they know so that they can read with increasing fluency. Children’s comprehension or understanding of the story is developed through multiple readings, making predictions, book discussions, retelling events and answering questions.
Supporting ‘fledgling’ readers
Children who are reading below the level expected for their age are identified through assessment and rigorously supported to make rapid progress. Children in KS2 who are new to English attend daily phonics lessons until they are able to decode texts accurately and read fluently. Regular phonics assessments track their progress through the different sets of sounds in RWI.
Whole-class reading in Years 2-6
At Springfield, we teach reading whole-class from the point in Year 2 when the majority of children have successfully mastered the phonics programme. Once children can securely, confidently and fluently apply their phonic knowledge, whole-class reading lessons are designed to provide children with both breadth and depth in their reading experience and to ensure children are taught to comprehend a diverse range of appropriately and aspirationally pitched fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts written for a range of purposes.
From Year 2 to Year 6, each class has carefully chosen quality core texts: Springfield Reading Texts Year 2-6. This selection includes a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books. Our text-based approach focuses on further developing the pupils’ competencies and confidence in word reading and comprehension. Building on their early reading learning, we continue to teach our children to decode unfamiliar words and increase the number of words they can read on sight. We focus on comprehension and teach our children skills such as summarising, posing questions about what they have read and making inferences.
Having engaging and challenging core texts is one of the ways we encourage our pupils to develop a love of literature and to read for enjoyment. Evidence from research shows that ensuring our children develop all the skills of language is essential to unlocking access to the rest of the curriculum. Therefore, opportunities to read and write are embedded across the curriculum. This approach also expands our children’s knowledge of the world in which we live. When children encounter words in their reading that they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech, we can systematically teach our children new vocabulary. Therefore, rich and lively vocabulary instruction is an essential component of all our reading lessons using strategies contained in Bringing Words to Life by Beck et al. We know that by explicitly teaching vocabulary, we will encourage students to become interested and enthusiastic about words, keen to explore relationships among words and use them in a way that they come to ‘own’ the words.
Across our fiction texts, we have identified six key themes: struggles and successes, freedom and captivity, exclusion and acceptance, good and evil, fear and courage and bonds and separation. These themes are discussed and explored so that children make connections between the books they read at school, as well as those they choose to read for pleasure.
Reading Themes Roadmap
Year 2 Reading Roadmap
Year 3 Fiction Roadmap Year 3 Non-Fiction Roadmap
Year 4 Fiction Roadmap Year 4 Non-Fiction Roadmap
Year 5 Fiction Roadmap Year 5 Non-Fiction Roadmap
Year 6 Fiction Roadmap Year 6 Non-Fiction Roadmap
Our Reading Spine
Our Springfield Reading Spine comprises a carefully-selected collection of set texts which we commit to reading aloud to children in each year group. We believe that all children have an entitlement to hearing adults read engaging and challenging texts – often beyond the reach of independent reading for children in that year group. Each half term, our classes enjoy books that belong to one of the following categories: classic fiction, contemporary fiction, poetry, picture books and biographies. Woven through these texts are works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry so that children develop a love of hearing writing that goes beyond narratives.
Our selection of classic texts exposes children to some well-loved texts that belong to a respected canon of literature. A knowledge and appreciation of some of these key works provides our children with valuable cultural capital and important reference points for their enjoyment of other works of art. Our selection of contemporary fiction is, necessarily, regularly reviewed to ensure our offer reflects the very best of current children’s literature. Our aim here is to show our children the rich range of texts on offer to them in shops and libraries that may reflect current interests and issues and feel relevant and meaningful to them. Both classic and contemporary picture books are selected to meet these aims whilst also exposing the children to rich illustrations which enhance meaning.
The poems we have selected are ones we share with our children many times with the goal of challenging children to learn them by heart. Repeated revisiting of the same poems supports retention and allows opportunities to explore patterns and language as well as internalising the rhythm and metre of the poems. We aim for these to be poems they carry with them in the long term.
In each year, our classes hear a biography or autobiography of a key figure read aloud to them. Our selection of individuals is based on achievements and values which cohere with our school Commitments such as ‘reaching high’ and ‘respecting each other’. Through these texts, we seek to provide our children with a diverse range of role models from past and present.
In all parts of our reading spine, we have selected texts that are representative and diverse in both their characters and their author backgrounds so that the books can act as both a mirror in which the children see themselves reflected and a window to the wider world.
How can parents and carers help at home?
There is much you can do to support your child at home.
- Talk to your children! The most important thing you can do is to talk to your child and listen to them when they are talking to you. Try to extend their vocabulary range and their skill at talking in increasingly more complex sentences. For example, try to teach them alternative words for ideas, or nouns they already know.
- Read to them and always discuss the story you are reading to try to build your child’s comprehension skills and understanding.
- Practise the sounds they know at home. The sounds the children know are in the front of their home reading books.
- Listen to your child read every night. Find a quiet time to hear your child read and use lots and lots of praise to encourage them.
Look out for our Reading Workshops for parents and carers, where you can find out more details of how to help at home. Click here for some further ideas.
If you need further advice or help with how best to help, please do ask your child’s class teacher who will be really happy to meet with you.
For further information about Read Write Inc. Phonics and how you can support your child, please click here: http://www.ruthmiskin.com/en/parents/