The aspiration for each of our children is based upon the need for them to enter the world of work as articulate and literate individuals with a strong love of reading. Competence in reading is the key to independent learning and has a direct effect on progress in all other areas of the curriculum. We want our children to be ‘readers’, not just children who can read.
Teaching pupils to read is arguably the most important aspect of primary education, enabling children to gain insight into the powerful world of imagination and access to the full National Curriculum. Success in reading has a direct effect on the progress made in most areas of the curriculum, therefore it is crucial that we help children to develop their independence, self-confidence and motivation in reading.
We aim to create “readers for life” – children who develop a love of books, who enjoy reading and read for pleasure. Reading for Pleasure is paramount at Forty Hill, and we have whole school and class reading challenges, opportunities for children to read themselves, with partners and with other children across the school on a regular basis.
We all play an important role in helping children to develop into confident readers. We believe that parents play an essential role in helping their child learn to read. In addition to teaching the skills and knowledge needed to read, every class is taught literacy through high quality, challenging texts which are linked to their half termly topic, thus increasing their exposure to a range of engaging and motivating texts throughout the school year.
As part of our Little Wandle Scheme we teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. Children are taught in small groups and use books matched to their secure phonic knowledge. Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:
- prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
- comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.
In Reception these sessions begin with wordless picture books until children are blending and can begin to read books. In Year 2 we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books. Those who are fluent readers move on to whole class Guided Reading sessions involving text-led discussions and comprehension using the VIPERS approach (Vocabulary, Infer, Predict, Explain, Retrieve, Sequence or Summarise).
We expect our children to be fluent readers by the time they move into Key Stage 2, and therefore our approach to teaching reading evolves into development of expression, comprehension and exposure to a greater range of texts. Children are still given opportunities to read aloud and develop their fluency and expression further, not just in reading sessions but in drama and poetry recital opportunities through literacy or topic lessons.
In Key Stage 2, there are whole class guided reading sessions every morning at the start of the day. As a class the children are introduced to text, and through a carefully planned set of lessons, they will identify and discuss new vocabulary, be explicitly taught a comprehension skill, such as retrieval or inference, then have this modelled in the ‘teacher talk’ lesson then have the opportunity to apply the new skill in the ‘pupil talk’ lesson. This whole class approach enables all children, whatever their reading ability, to have exposure to new challenging vocabulary and texts, be taught explicitly the comprehension skills required in the curriculum and ensure all children are actively involved through lots of talk and modelling.
In September 2019 we launched the Forty Hill Reading Challenge, where children are encouraged to read as many books as possible and share them with their peers to encourage a life-long love of reading. Although we are happy for children to simply enjoy reading and read anything that interests them, we have also compiled a list of '50 Recommended Reads' for each year group. These lists are displayed in the classrooms and at the bottom of this page.
At Forty Hill CE School, we believe learning to write is one of the most important things that a child at primary school will learn. Not only do children use their writing in almost all other subjects of the curriculum, but good writing also gives children a voice to share their ideas, opinions and imagination with the world. We use a variety of learning and teaching styles in our daily Literacy lessons in order to meet the needs of all our pupils. All year groups will teach the relevant objectives for Literacy through a key high quality text, which will often relate to their history or geography topic as well, creating cross curricular links and a fluency within all learning each half-term.
Texts may be fiction or non-fiction books, picture books or chapter books, poetry or newspaper articles, and these will be the basis for learning and writing content, and may be adapted to suit the particular needs of the class.
Literacy lessons will use a range of creative approaches to support the pupil’s understanding and exploration of the text, such as drama, hot-seating, story maps, speaking and listening tasks, visits to settings, illustration, debates or research.
In addition to these creative approaches, there is consistent teaching of the structure and features of different text types with a link to the grammar and punctuation needed to making their independent writing successful. This will involve looking at good examples of the text type, identifying the key features, creating tool kits for writing, teacher modelling and time to draft, edit and publish where appropriate.
Most recently, we have adopted the ‘Talk for Writing’ model, which aims to enhance children’s ability to write high-quality, engaging and imaginative texts through following a carefully planned sequence of lessons. At Forty Hill, we plan to teach a ‘Talk for Writing’ unit every half term, or whenever deemed appropriate, alongside our more formally structured lessons. Talk for Writing makes explicit the links between reading and writing, and is underpinned by the notion that children who read well will become children who write well. Typically, a unit will last three weeks and can be linked to the class text, or topic. It will focus on one specific element or genre of writing, for example, creating suspense, writing a setting description, or using dialogue to advance a story. Children will begin by ‘talking a text’: learning a model that is recited to them by their teacher. They will orally rehearse, draw and story map this model, adding actions to help them internalise the structure and language features used. They will then go on to deepen their understanding of the model text through drama and reading activities, before practising re-writing elements of it in ‘short bursts’, focusing on particular writing skills. Then, classes will produce shared and guided writes to practice applying these skills before finally writing pieces independently, where they can apply all the skills and techniques that they have learned throughout the unit.
Literacy across the curriculum is encouraged including extended writing in R.E., Science and Topic. ICT is used where it enhances, extends and compliments Literacy teaching and learning, both by teachers and pupils.
Building on their phonics skills, children will be taught spelling rules and patterns using the suggested scheme from the Local Authority which covers the key objectives from the National Curriculum. There are spelling lists for each year group and these will be incorporated into spelling lessons and used for cursive handwriting practice to reinforce letter order, patterns and rules. This may be a discrete lesson which teaches the rules, which is then referred to in Literacy lessons and as a homework challenge in the same week.
At Forty Hill School we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. Every teacher in our school has been trained to teach reading with fidelity to the Little Wandle scheme, so we have the same expectations of progress. We all use the same language, routines and resources to teach children to read so that we lower children’s cognitive load.
We value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, they read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.
Foundation for Phonics begins in Nursery where we provide a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for ‘Communication and language’ and ‘Literacy’. Language development and a love of books is nurtured and developed through
• sharing high-quality stories and poems with children
• learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes
• activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending
• attention to high-quality language with children
We ensure Nursery children are well-prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception as they participate in engaging games to teach oral blending and phonemic awareness.
Phonics teaching continues in Reception and Year 1 to ensure children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. As a result, our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. We also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.
Children in Year 1 sit a statutory assessment, the Phonics Screening Check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.
Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1
- We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.
- Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins within their first three weeks of being in full-time.
- We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Overview:
- Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
- Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught t read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.
Teaching reading: Reading practise sessions three times a week
- We teach children to read through reading practise sessions three times a week. These:
- are taught by a fully trained adult t small groups of approximately six children
- use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grid
- are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.
- Each reading practise session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:
- Prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
- Comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.
- In Reception these sessions start within the first half-term. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practise in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.
- In Year 2 and 3, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books.
- The decodable reading practise book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family.
- Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children.
- We share the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision, both online and through workshops.
Additional reading support for vulnerable children
- Children in Reception and Year 1 who are receiving additional phonics Keep-up sessions read their reading practise book to an adult daily.
Promoting Literacy at Forty Hill
Throughout our school year, we nurture our children’s love of literacy and provide further opportunities to build reading and writing confidence and its important role in our history and the wider world. This includes our annual World Book Day celebrations, where we focus on a particular author or genre, and children produce a range of work relating to a text. Extra opportunities are given to ‘drop everything and read’ and everyone takes great pride in dressing up as book characters for the day. Other focus weeks and events throughout the year include relevant texts to study, including stories or books of the Bible and tales from other cultures.
Fulfilled: There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favourite book. —Marcel Proust
Healthy: Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his needs, is good for him. —Maya Angelou
Successful: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” ― Dr. Seuss