The power of reading is transformative and opens up the world to children. We believe that equipping children with a strong literate foundation fosters a sense of meaning, curiosity and understanding of the world.
We approach 3 pillars of reading at Southfield, all of which we believe are fundamental in our aim to ensure all children achieve the best they can be:
- Early Literacy: Phonics and Decoding
- Reading Comprehension
- Reading for Pleasure
Early Literacy and Phonics
As a school we follow the highly successful DfE validated Read Write Inc systematic synthetic phonics scheme as used by nearly a quarter of all English primary schools. Ensuring children can access the world through reading is a prime tenet of our focus in Reception and Year 1 classes.
Our phonics teaching is fast paced and sleekly delivered with much energy and gusto so that children thrive. RWI is a synthetic phonic scheme which means that children synthesise or blend phonemes (units of sound) to make a word and thus enable them to read. Unlike analytical phonics which involves children analysing a word, taking clues or looking at the initial sounds. Synthetic phonics is systematic in teaching children all the phonemes they need to be able to tackle words when reading and leads to accelerated understanding and enhanced fluent reading. Our pupils in Reception and Year 1 receive 1 hour of phonics teaching each day and a grouped accordingly to the knowledge of sounds they know. Our Reading teacher assess all children each half term on the sounds they know and to ensure no reader is left behind.
Children learn the English alphabetical code, firstly they learn one way to read the 40+ sounds and to blend these sounds into words. They then progress to learn to read the same sounds with alternative graphemes (small units of sound such ‘ai’ in the word ‘air’). As a result, children experience success very quickly from the beginning.
The fast and lively teaching hour incorporates linked books which are closely matched to the sounds children are working on. These books guide children’s increasing knowledge to tackle tricky words as they read the stories. Along with a thought-provoking introduction, prompts for thinking out loud and discussion, children are helped to read with a storyteller’s voice and thus beginning to engage in the central and core part of our story-based curriculum.
Please click to find the parents meeting presentation on Early Reading and Phonics.
Reading Comprehension is a core tenet of the English National Curriculum where children develop a range of skills to understand a text. Pupils across all year groups will develop sophisticated skills in drawing inferences, predicting, deducting. We do this through whole class text teaching, our comprehension scheme ‘Cracking Comprehension’ and individual reading sessions.
Reading for Pleasure
Whilst we place great emphasis on the mechanics of reading through phonics and comprehension we never lose sight that these are only conduits to become immersed in reading and therefore reading for pleasure is a habit we hope to instil in all children. We seek to:
- Foster a love of reading for pleasure in children across the school
- Exploit opportunities for reading across the school day
- Be part of a reading festival week exploring books and authors
- Children will explore being an author
- Building successful reading habits
- Reading across the curriculum to enhance foundation subjects
Core Fundamentals of Reading at Southfield
Individual Reading Book: All children will be heard to read on an individual basis each week and children struggling to read more than once. Parents will be expected to listen to children read every night and both teacher/adult/parent will record pages and progress in Reading Records. Class teachers will record this in the Green Reading Folder.
Class English Texts: Children in Nursery, Reception and Year 1 will have class texts, usually high quality picture books which will form part of the English curriculum and around which writing will be stimulated. From Year 2 to Year 6 children will read three whole class novels linked to writing. Exposure to such classic texts will ensure acquisition of rich and high quality vocabulary, and allow all to enjoy an age-appropriate story regardless of reading ability.
Reading Partners: To promote and ensure children see reading as a pleasurable and enjoyable practice, all classes across the school partner up to form reading partners with older children sharing books and supporting less fluent readers. This takes place each week.
This is what 5 Schubert and 2 Ravel had to say:
We have teamed up to become reading partners this year! We will read with each other every Wednesday for 20 mins. We love our reading time together as it helps us to develop our confidence as readers and listeners, whilst also developing friendships.
Read Aloud: All research indicates that reading aloud to children is powerful in fostering a love of story and encouraging creativity and imagination. Class teachers read to children aloud at the end of every day for at least 10 minutes. Teachers select interesting texts to ignite imagination and enthusiasm.
Class Environments: Classrooms should be stimulating and teeming with opportunities to be exposed to writing and reading with a book area to entice children to read.
Reading Festival: Our exciting curriculum comes further alive each year when we celebrate our annual Reading Festival during World Book Day. We invite authors and workshops into school, pupils have opportunities to become aspiring authors. Parents are invited in to share stories and read with children.
Library Sessions: Children have access to a library session each week where they can borrow a book or look at particular books pertaining to topics being studied in class.