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Sneyd Academy

Our Approach to Reading

Aims: (taken from our Reading Curriculum Intent Implementation and Impact Document)

  • To promote a community of lifelong readers who enjoy reading;
  • To ensure a consistent approach in teaching children how to read, ensuring that the strategies and expectations are widely understood by governors, parents, staff and children;
  • To ensure children understand what they read and to develop their reading in all subjects to support their acquisition of knowledge;
  • To encourage the involvement of parents and carers in developing children’s love of reading;
  • To design a reading curriculum and scheme of work with appropriate subject knowledge, skills and understanding as set out in the EYFS and National Curriculum English Programmes of study. 
  • To fulfil the duties of the National Curriculum whereby schools must provide a balanced and broadly-based curriculum which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and prepares them for the opportunities and responsibilities and experiences for later life.

Early reading and phonics:

Within our early years setting at Sneyd Academy, we really do encourage a love for reading. The Early Years Foundation Stage provides a language-rich and stimulating environment that promotes our love of language and literacy. Each classroom offers a cosy reading area which children love to spend time in. These areas have a variety of books such as stories, topic related/themed books and books at the children’s own level of reading. Through bright and vibrant role-play areas, which all children enjoy accessing, we ensure that the classrooms offer a language-rich environment, allowing the children to be inquisitive about text. Our teaching topics are always linked to a story, again really encouraging the love for stories.

Shared story time, where the text is sometimes chosen by the staff and sometimes by the children, is an important part of each day and we also provide opportunities for the parents to join their children for story time sessions. Quality stories and nursery rhymes are celebrated in school, and the children quickly develop a love of reading and books. Our reading sessions are taught through quality texts that motivate, inspire and challenge the children. Each child also visits the school library once per week where we share a story and the children choose a book to take home and read for pleasure by sharing them with their families. We also develop links with the local library service and support for parents through use of The Little Library Van and the Book Start initiative. By using a range of these approaches, we develop the children’s attention and listening skills through shared group time and activities such as listening to stories or listening for sounds in the environment. Opportunities for speaking and the development of the children’s vocabulary is also at the heart of our curriculum and parents are encouraged to be fully on board at the very start of the children’s education.

Within our Nursery class, we study our ‘Word of the Week’ on a daily basis. This new vocabulary is always linked to the topic story. An example of this is when our focus text was Owl Babies and our Word of the Week was ‘swooped’. We practised saying the word in different voices, we googled birds swooping and we used the outdoor area to role play a bird swooping for its food. We also have a topic activity linked to the book such as, the children acting out the story, or story mapping, or making the characters from the story.

In Nursery and Reception, the children all have a reading book to take home to read which is matched to their phonic ability. The children start off with a non-word book then, once they know some letter sounds, we introduce some words to read. These are sent home so that we foster a love of reading and engage parents with reading right from the off-set. Once children are confident with this, we introduce a word book. Our reading books are organised in such a way that they reflect the children’s phonic ability through our reading scheme called ‘Bug Club’. Through Bug Club, we also use online reading books to our children, engaging the parents with it on a regular basis and thus providing children with an online, interactive text to motivate them to read in another format.

Early reading is explicitly taught in both English and Phonics sessions. The school follows a systematic synthetic phonics program, underpinned by the Letters and Sounds Programme, that enables and supports the children to begin to blend sounds to read. Because Phonics is one of our main priorities in the early years, both Nursery and Reception carry out two phonic sessions per day. The children start off carrying out fun stimulating activities linked to Phase 1 and then once secure move onto Phase 2 with aim that children are secure Phase 3 by the end of Reception. In order to ensure that our parents are engaged and well supported, we provide a phonics workshop for our parents that explains what phonics is and how to support their children with their phonics learning and early reading.

Our Reading Learning Journeys:

Our Reading Curriculum Pathway ensures that all staff understand the need for quality first teaching of reading into writing. From Nursery to Y6, reading is a priority across the academy, therefore, high quality texts have been carefully selected to ensure engagement of all pupils. Where applicable, these texts are linked directly to the foundation subjects and ensure that pupils are exposed to an increasingly wide variety of texts, with an appropriate level of challenge. Using texts which link to our topics ensures our children are fully immersed within it and this in turn moves children towards a deeper level of understanding where they use and apply skills and knowledge in different areas. We carefully choose texts throughout the course of the year which cover a range of genres: our long-term Reading Learning Journeys for EYFS and KS1 as well as KS2 ensure that every genre is covered and that writing outcomes are broad and balanced throughout a child’s school journey. As an academy, we also place picture books in high regard and these are books which are treasured right through our academy, as seen in our children’s Reading Learning Journeys.

Whole class guided reading:

As reading is a priority, we deliver further reading sessions outside of the English lesson. Whole class guided reading takes place three to four times per week. Our guided reading sessions are planned so that pupils read a more challenging text than they would normally access and reading is modelled by the staff. A range of genres are covered throughout the year – our Reading Learning Journeys showcase the texts we use each term. To ensure that children are equipped with a variety of skills to become able readers, who not only read fluently but also understand what they are reading, we use VIPERS to plan our guided reading questions.

VIPERS skills include:

VIPERS questions are differentiated to challenge our more able children and scaffolded to support our less able pupils. Regarding our children with SEND, we provide reading material which is suitable to meeting their immediate needs. During guided reading, the following sequence is adhered to in each cohort.

  • Becoming familiar with the text – reading together with teacher modelling first, then children reading aloud, paired reading and individual reading.
  • The teaching of new vocabulary through Word of the Day – children working out in context and also using dictionaries to support.
  • Questions – guided/independent (based on a range of reading skills from across the reading curriculum and mainly through the use of VIPERS as well as past National Test materials in Year 2 and Year 6).

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