Phonics and Reading Curriculum - Amington Heath Primary and Nursery
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Phonics and Reading Curriculum

Phonics and Reading

Intent

At Amington Heath children are taught early reading skills through a systematic synthetic phonics scheme – Read Write Inc. A parent guide to Read Write Inc. can be found here.

The Education Endowment Fund, Reading by 6 and the Teaching and Learning Innovation Fund have published positive independent investigation reviews of Read Write Inc.  Read Write Inc. meets the needs of the children at Amington Heath as it helps all children to learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling as proven by our successful outcomes in both phonics and reading 

When children finish the RWI programme, they move onto our rigorous and robust reading curriculum. Children are taught whole class reading through a variety of high quality fiction, non-fiction, poetry and play scripts. The intention behind our whole class reading process is to provide learners with excellent reading skills. The structure of the sessions provides a focus on spoken language in addition to reading comprehension skills. Learners will acquire strategies to support independent reading and reading aloud.

Implementation

In Nursery 1 and 2, children learn general sound discrimination, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sound and oral blending and segmenting. While there is considerable overlap between these aspects, the overarching aim is for children to experience regular, planned opportunities to listen carefully and talk extensively about what they hear, see and do.

By the time children start reception, participate in high quality Read Write Inc. lessons (RWI).

Read Write Inc. lessons take place daily for 30 minutes. Children are grouped for RWI across reception and key stage one. Every RWI lesson follows the same prescriptive sequence.

Children are assessed within the taught session every 6 weeks. This allows teachers to identify and fill any gaps in learning and regroup children to ensure the teaching is matched to their specific learning requirements.

The reading curriculum:

  • enables pupils to read increasingly complex and whole texts.
  • develop pupils’ reading accuracy, automaticity and prosody.
  • Gives time to pupils reading a lot of text, across the school curriculum, to develop their reading fluency.
  • time-limited and explicit instruction in reading comprehension strategies.
  • Explicit teaching of comprehension knowledge, including vocabulary, knowledge of narrative structure, lexical and syntactical knowledge, as well as knowledge of context and ideas in the text.
  • helps pupils to explore morphology and etymology to support their comprehension and spelling.
  • encourages pupils to read for pleasure while ensuring that they become accomplished readers as soon as possible.

Every lesson follows the same sequence:

  • Rapid recall of grapheme-phoneme correspondence from the RWI speed sound chart
  • Vocabulary development
  • Whole class choral reading – all children read a shared text through choral reading. The focus is on fluency and understanding. Although some children may find some words more challenging, through choral reading every child can access the text at their own level whilst gaining a good understanding.
  • Repeated reading
  • Explicit teaching of the reading content domains
  • Application of reading skills
  • Content domain game

Reading is taught daily with four out of five lessons following the above structure. The fifth lesson starts and end in the same way, however the points 5 and 6 are replaced with a speech & language focus linked to the text.

In each half term, reading lessons focus on two weeks of fiction, two weeks of non-fiction, one week of poetry and one week of play script. Fiction books have been allocated to each year group and have been selected as high quality texts, pitched appropriately and covering a range of genres, cultures, authors and topics.

Every child is heard read aloud at some point every day. In addition, children are prioritised for 1-1 reading.

Red readers – children who do not read regularly at home and are in danger of falling behind. Read daily.

Orange readers – children who do not read regularly at home or are in danger of falling behind. Read 3 times a week.

Green readers – children who are on track and read regularly at home. Read once a week.

Support

Fresh Start reading programme supports children in key stage two who are not yet reading age appropriately; have missed schooling; are new to the UK education system or are learning English as an additional language. Fresh Start is delivered during reading lessons. Every day, pupils learn new letter-sounds and review previous sounds and words. They apply what they have been taught by reading words containing the sounds they know in lively, age-appropriate stories and non-fiction texts closely matched to their phonic knowledge. By the end of the programme, they are able to read these accurately and fluently.

Children for whom the Fresh Start programme is not appropriate, but need additional support, may access Hairy Readers, Nessy or the Stile approach.

Reading at home

Children on the RWI programme bring home phonetically matched home readers from the RWI book bag collection. These books reinforce the phonics teaching that takes place in school. Children have the same book for a week and are encouraged to read it a number of times allowing children to build confidence, fluency and understanding.

When children have completed the RWI programme, they move on to levelled reading books which are matched to their reading ability. They then become free readers and are encouraged to choose challenging texts from the class and school libraries.

Children and parents can also access of range of online books through the Oxford Owl website.

All children will also bring home a reading for pleasure book. This is a book of the child’s choice that they can share with an adult. It may be read to them or they may read some aspects but the focus is on children developing an enjoyment of reading.

Children are rewarded for reading as part of incentive scheme. The challenge is to read 200 times a year.

Throughout the year, there are reading competitions and challenges, which tie into school and national events such as Nursery Rhyme Week, World Book Day etc.

Impact

Children at Amington Heath make great progress in phonics with 77% of year one children passing the 2023 year one phonics screener (compared to 79% nationally).

Children who do not pass the phonics screener in year one, continue following the RWI programme into year 2 with targeted teaching to fill and learning gaps. In 2023, 93% of children at Amington Heath had passed the phonics screener by the end of year 2 (compared to 89% nationally).

At the end of key stage two, 81% of children left Amington Heath working at age related expectations or above  (compared to 73% nationally) 25% achieved the higher standard (compared to 29% nationally).

Further information on performance data can be found here.