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Reading & Phonics at Wyre Forest School

Reading & Phonics at Wyre Forest School

Reading will be predominantly taught through the Read, Write Inc synthetic programme. However where this is not supporting progress for a pupil another approach will be used e.g. whole word approach.

Early Years Foundation Stage

In the EYFS, reading is a multi sensory experience with opportunities for reading daily. There are reading areas and sensory books & stories shared with the pupils. Pupils are encouraged to become readers when they are assessed at being 22-36 months and/or are showing that they have developed their listening and attention skills to a point that they are able to engage in rhymes and songs.  At this point, books will have an interest and a motivation for the pupil, however this is very much child dependant and despite some pupils reaching the 22-36 months milestone, their other areas of development mean they are not ready to become reading individuals.

When a child is engaged by books, they will initially be given books without text so they can develop their story telling skills and respond to questions about the pictures. Through assessment, when the child is ready, this will move on to Oxford Reading Tree book banded books or Read Write Inc books, which the child will take home to share with parents and carers, along with a book of their choice- a reading for pleasure book.

Phonics is the first step on our reading journey. Staff notice that a pupil may be ready to begin phonics when they engage with their favourite stories and nursery rhymes and show good listening and attention skills. Before graphemes, pupils are introduced to oral blending/environmental sounds and shown that marks on a page have meaning. When assessed as ready, a child will begin learning to hear the individual sounds within one syllable words and talk about pictures using descriptive words. When a pupil demonstrates that they can hear sounds in words, they will begin the synthetic phonic approach, Read Write Inc and have short daily sessions. Due to the approach of the Read Write Inc programme, pupils will learn sounds through multi sensory experiences. If a child is not making their expected progress, staff will talk through strategies and barriers at pupil progress meetings and a child may need further Listening and Attention learning before readdressing phonics.

Lower Phase

In Lower Phase, there is devoted reading time every day. During this time, pupils are heard read by class teams and access the reading areas in their classrooms, looking at books of their choice, books for enjoyment. The texts come from the Oxford Reading Tree scheme and are book banded to suit every child’s level. All pupils have a reading diary which is recorded in by staff and parents. Recording in the reading diary note the pupil’s reading strengths and areas for development. In Lower Phase, reading is part of homework and pupils are expected to read every night.

Pupils continue to develop their phonetic knowledge through Read Write Inc and discrete phonics sessions are taught. They are differentiated so that every child makes progress and develops their working phonetic knowledge. In Lower Phase, phonics may be delivered in a more formal style or depending on the class need, may be more of a ‘Play and Pull’ approach. Pre phonics pupils are continually assessed for their ‘readiness for phonics’. The determiners that staff are looking for are pupil recognition that marks have meaning, they can communicate their needs and wants and they are able to use speech sounds.

Middle Phase

In Middle Phase, there is daily reading time. Pupils will be heard to read by the class team and strengths and targets will be written into the pupil’s reading diary.  Books come from a range that have been book banded. Pupils know their book band colour and can independently choose their reading book from their colour range.  Reading is part of the Middle Phase homework expectation and pupils are expected to read at home and for parents and carers to record any progress made.

Phonics continues to be taught in Middle Phase. Where pupils rate of progress has slowed, the intervention 'That Reading Thing’, may be offered, to close the progress gap for the pupil.

For pupils who are demonstrating a reliable  decoding knowledge, these pupils will further develop their comprehension skills during phonics sessions. ‘Black Sheep Press’ resources are used as they introduce pupils to real life scenarios and ask questions that require deduction and inference skills. 

Upper Phase

In Upper Phase there is daily reading time. Pupils may read their book banded book and they also have access to First News newspapers. Class teams will continue to hear pupils read and will record strengths and targets in the pupils’ reading log. Pupils are also expected to record their own reading progress in their reading log. In Upper Phase, pupils are encouraged to recognise other reading opportunities and real life situations when they have used their reading skills and record these in their reading log. 

For pupils who continue to need phonics, interventions take place at the beginning of some English lessons. Interventions are tailored to suit the pupil need and may be a whole word real life approach or synthetic phonics approach.

Pupils are encouraged to choose reading material that interests them- magazines, newspapers, instruction manuals etc.

Sixth Form

In Sixth Form, students access their own reading material, choosing texts that they have an interest in. Reading and social times are each morning and reading time is also given at the beginning of English lessons once per week.  Students are encouraged to use their decoding skills for real life reading- television guides, letters, utility bills, timetables etc.