Reading is the gateway skill that makes all other learning possible
- Barack Obama
At Perry Hall, we consider reading to be the most important life skill that we can teach. In learning how to read, the importance of reading and a love of reading, children will be supported in developing skills and understanding in all other curriculum areas, expanding their potential to succeed in life exponentially.
We believe that the teaching of reading is integral to a child’s understanding and appreciation of the world around them; a platform that allows our children to see beyond what they know, share in cultural experiences and develop the vocabulary they need to effectively express themselves. Our reading curriculum strives to foster a lifelong love of reading. We cultivate the behaviours that they will need to be discerning readers as they read frequently and widely.
In the first instance, we aim to ensure children develop phonics skills and how to apply them to decode and gain fluency in reading. This is delivered through the full systematic synthetic phonics programme, Little Wandle. Vocabulary development is prioritised throughout English and the wider curriculum. The larger the reader’s vocabulary, the easier it is to make sense of the text. Children develop their vocabulary both incidentally through reading and listening to others read as well as through direct vocabulary instruction.
Increasingly, children will need to be given skills to comprehend what they are reading, interpret texts and find information, developing an awareness of authorial intent, genre purpose and literary devices used for effect. Comprehension is a complex cognitive process which readers use to understand what they have read. We explicitly teach the skills of reading (outlined in the National Curriculum and the KS1 and KS2 test domains) through the use of VIPERS which were created by Rob Smith (The Literacy Shed).
Prosody, reading with.intonaton, fluency and expression, is also incorporated within our reading curriculum and explicitly taught through Echo Reading. Prosody gives the reader insight into what reading for meaning should sound like, and more importantly,shows children how books can speak through readers, and how words on the page can come to life.
Alongside these skills in reading fluency, prosody and comprehension, children, most importantly, should be given desire and the passion to read. At the heart of our curriculum is Reading for Pleasure, which is key to educational outcomes for all pupils. We are committed to promoting a love for reading and not only giving children opportunities to read in English lessons, but in the wider curriculum too. However, we know that although academic attainment is of vital importance, the benefits of reading for pleasure go beyond this and stretch throughout a person’s life journey.
The research finds that reading for pleasure can result in:
- understanding responsibility
- helping us to learn
- helping us feel comforted and loved
- building confidence
- expressing our ideas and ourselves
- improving understanding of ourselves, others and the world
- increasing empathy
- improving relationships with others
- improving well-being
It is important that children are motivated to read at home regularly; when their reading opportunities increase, so does their fluency and stamina which in turn increases their enjoyment of reading. Therefore, the link between children’s motivation to read and reading for pleasure is reciprocal. Furthermore, we know that reading for pleasure is beneficial not only for reading outcomes, but for wider learning enjoyment and mental wellbeing.
Our ultimate aim is that all Perry Hall children will:
- gain a lifelong enjoyment of reading and books
- read accurately, fluently and with understanding
- apply a knowledge of structured synthetic phonics in order to decode unfamiliar words with increasing accuracy and speed;
- be able to read with expression, clarity and confidence
- develop a good linguistic knowledge of vocabulary and grammar
- read and respond to a wide range of different types of texts
- develop a deeper level of emotional intelligence and empathy
- read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education
Phonics is taught using the structure of our systematic synthetic programme: ‘Little Wandle Letters & Sounds’. This comprehensive programme provides a multI-sensory approach, using letter frames, flash cards, phonic games and listening activities.
Using the Little Wandle Letters & Sounds lesson structure, each session will follow the same format ofintroduce, revisit and review, teach, practise and apply. This ensures that children learn new sounds whilst applying taught sounds to their reading of new words. Children work on decoding, segmenting and blending in every lesson. Children are exposed and use the correct subject specific technical vocabulary (such as phoneme, digraph, trigraph). Our lessons are designed to meet the children’s needs based on our on-going phonic assessments. This informs planning and streaming within year groups.
During daily direct teaching sessions, the teacher will provide clear model and pronunciation of sounds, observing and assessing children to ensure those who have a secure understanding are able to move on as well as be aware of those children who need to revisit certain sounds. They will also be addressing misconceptions during the lesson. Children will be active participants in every lesson.
Phonics resources are consistent throughout the school, allowing children to apply their phonic knowledge in all areas of the curriculum. Phonics and word mats support spelling and writing across the curriculum and having access to Phonics displays enables children to apply taught knowledge and skills to decode unfamiliar words in the classroom.
Reading scheme books provide decodable reading material to ensure that, as children move through the early stages of acquiring phonic knowledge and skills, they can practice by reading texts closely matched to their level of phonic attainment. Texts from a range of genres and publishers are matched by phonics phases and colour reading band to ensure children are reading at 90% fluency.
At Perry Hall Primary School, we believe that writing is a key skill for life both inside and out of education and that is why it features across all the subjects taught across our school. Our aim is to provide children with key transferrable writing skills to build on year on year, that can be used throughout each phase of their education and prepare them for secondary school.
Teaching children to write for a range of purposes and audiences can be very exciting, especially here at Perry Hall, where we provide children with a range of engaging hooks to capture their imagination! We believe that all children should be able to confidently communicate their knowledge, ideas and emotions through their writing. Our progressive writing curriculum teaches the skills require to plan, draft and refine their written work over time. Children are encouraged to develop independence in being able identify their own areas for improvement.
We want children to be able to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time in primary school. We want them to write clearly, accurately, coherently and creatively, adapting their language and style for a range of meaningful context, purposes and audiences. Oracy is prioritised in our writing curriculum in order to build vocabulary for all learners and increase understanding of trickier texts used across our curriculum. Discussion, questioning and learning texts, all increase understanding and prepare our children with the tools they need in order to be successful in their writing.
Handwriting, spelling and grammar will be explicitly taught to ensure that children are able to understand the conventions of writing. We believe that all children should be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their work.
By the end of key stage 2 children will have developed a writer’s craft, where they enjoy sustained writing and can manipulate language, grammar and punctuation to create effect. Our aim is for ALL learners to achieve their full potential in writing and we are committed to providing them with a text-rich curriculum to achieve this.