Phonics and Reading

At Petteril Bank Community School, we believe that reading sets children up to be successful learners in all aspects of the curriculum and life. It is crucial in developing imagination, creativity, language and thinking. We are committed to providing a positive, stimulating and exciting environment that promotes reading for pleasure, which in turn can develop a love of reading.

Early Years Foundation Stage and KS1 Phonics & Reading Provision

Early reading is vital for young children and it sets them up to succeed. Developing a love of reading is a top priority at Petteril Bank Community School and we place a great importance on spending time together sharing stories, poems and rhymes.

To enable children to become successful readers and writers, Phonics is used to give children an understanding of the letters and sounds within the English language. During our phonic sessions children are taught:

  • To recognise phonemes, graphemes, digraphs and trigraphs
  • To segment and blend words for reading and spelling
  • To recognise, read and spell high frequency words

At Petteril Bank Community School, we teach phonics in the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. Phonics begins in Nursery and is taught right through until Year 2. We follow the Letters and Sounds programme for our phonics teaching, which is structured into different phases – starting at Phase 1 all the way through to Phase 6. We group children within the phases for phonics to make sure that the phonic sessions are tailored to the children’s specific needs and offer appropriate support and challenge. Phonic sessions are delivered daily in a multi-sensory, fun and practical way to promote high engagement and enjoyment in the children’s learning. We assess the children’s understanding of phonics each half term. Regular use of assessments ensures that children are challenged daily and allows teachers to plan timely intervention groups- for any children who require extra support.

In Year 1 all children sit the Phonics Screening Check in the summer term. During the check, children read aloud 40 words. These words are all phonetically decodable and are a mix of real and nonsense words. This allows teachers to identify any children who have not yet reached the expected phonological level by the end of Year 1. Those children then receive additional small group intervention and are re-assed in Year 2.

Our aim is to ensure that the children experience a smooth transition from the Early Years Foundation Stage to Key Stage 1. The Key Stage 1 curriculum builds upon and extends the experiences that children have had in Reception. Reading begins in the Early Years Foundation Stage where our reading scheme (Big Cat) is made up of phonetically rich texts. These enable the children to practise and enhance their segmenting and blending skills. In EYFS and Key Stage 1 children receive a reading book at a level which is appropriate for their developing fluency and confidence. Reading books are changed the same day that the child brings their book back into school. This gives families opportunity to keep the book for a few days to re-read and work on it or they can change it more regularly to suit the child’s needs. Adults regularly listen to children read in school too.

When children reach Year 1 and Year 2, they receive weekly whole class Guided Reading lessons (occasionally more frequently than weekly). This continues for targeted groups of children across KS2. The VIPERS approach is used for whole class reading from Y3 to Y6. VIPERS sessions give children the opportunity to improve key reading skills – Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explain, Retrieve, Sequence.

Through developing a love of reading and our teaching of reading we strive to ensure that all children achieve their full potential, and by the end of Key Stage 1 - are fluent and confident readers with a strong understanding of phonics to support and build upon their knowledge of spelling.

Key Stage 2 Reading Provision

In Key Stage 2, we continue to strive to develop a passion for reading and promote children reading for pleasure. We promote the fact that reading can enhance a child’s literacy skills in all areas of the curriculum and set them up to succeed in their future lives too.

We believe that exposing children to a wide range of high quality texts (both fiction and non-fiction) contributes to every child’s achievement. This is because it broadens their experiences and exposes them to new vocabulary and understanding.

We aim for our pupils to become lifelong readers for purpose and pleasure. We enhance both the child’s fluency and comprehension ability across all genres of texts. This is achieved through:

  • Independent reading for pleasure. The children choose their own book from our school library
  • Whole-class VIPERS reading sessions. These sessions give children the opportunity to improve key reading skills – Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explain, Retrieve, Summarise
  • Exposing children to a wealth of high quality texts across the curriculum areas
  • Targeted guided reading groups to support the ongoing development of reading
  • One-to-one priority readers to promote a love of books for those that struggle to engage with reading for pleasure
  • Reading Fluency programme (Herts for Learning - introduced in March 2021) to enhance fluency and therefore understanding of a broader range of texts

The reading provision in Key Stage 2 at Petteril Bank Community School consists of the following main elements:

  • Having a high quality book list across the Key Stage from Years 3 to 6
  • Enjoying daily class novels for pleasure through the VIPERS approach
  • Having an effective home reading system
  • Promoting whole-school reading challenges and competitions to stimulate a love of reading
  • Regular one-to-one, group guided & whole class reading experiences

All of our staff in Key Stage 2 act as reading role models. The sharing and discussion about books and other reading materials is frequent and regular.

All pupils have access to a wide range of fiction, poetry and non-fiction in different formats.

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