At St Edward’s, we want our Reading Curriculum to not only teach children how to read but also to develop a love of reading. We believe reading is a life skill and it allows children to live life in all its fullness by enabling children to become lifelong readers. The children at St Edward’s not only learn how to read but also learn how to understand what they have read to provide them with new knowledge, ideas and curiosity about the world, whether that is the world we live in or one of fantasy and adventure. By developing reading at the beginning of their education, our children build their confidence of reading aloud, which in turn, allows them to experience the joy of reading to others. As our children become confident and competent readers, they are able to unlock the wide range of opportunities available for them throughout our school curriculum, which in turn, develops their love of learning further. We believe that reading is an invaluable tool which empowers our children to be able to access and explore the world that God has created for us.
We understand that children need to be taught the skills of segmenting and blending during their early education and we teach this through the Read Write Inc Phonics Programme, whilst also encouraging children to read, and hear stories being read to them, for enjoyment. RWI is a proven, consistent and rigorous method of teaching every child to read, regardless of their background, ability or needs. It teaches the children to read accurately and fluently, whilst also developing their comprehension skills, letter formation and spelling strategies.
At St Edward’s, we aim for the majority of our children to have completed the RWI programme by the end of the Autumn Term in Year 2, at which point they should be confident, independent readers.
Phonics is taught daily to all children from the Summer term of Nursery up to the Autumn term of Year 2, with extra provision for those children who need additional phonics support in Year 2 and Year 3, who have not passed the phonics screening check in Year 1. We also teach RWI Phonics with our ‘Sunshine Room’ children. In KS2, there are some children who require further phonic support and therefore receive 1:1 phonics tutoring as part of the ‘keep up programme’, again following the RWI Phonics Tutoring Programme to ensure there is consistency across the whole school.
Children learn the 44 phonemes (speech sounds) and their associated graphemes (how these are written) through a system of synthetic phonics. We also ensure that the children learn to read and spell appropriate high-frequency and exception words for their age group.
Each RWI session, delivered by a trained member of staff, gives the children an opportunity to:
- Learn new sounds
- Review sounds that they have already learnt
- Develop their reading of green words (words that you can decode using your knowledge of phonemes and which build up their sight vocabulary)
- Develop their reading of red words (words that you cannot decode)
- Develop their ability to decode alien words (words that are not real words and uses their ability to apply their phonological skills)
- Apply their phonetic knowledge to read storybooks by blending, whilst also developing their fluency of reading aloud
- Segment the words for spelling
All children are first taught to recognise each letter’s phoneme and grapheme along with a mnemonic of how to form this letter. As the children develop their ability of recognising and saying these individual sounds, the children are then taught how to orally blend through ‘Fred talk’, repetition and continual practice through ‘MTYT’ (My Turn Your Turn). Once the children can orally blend, they are then taught how to transfer these skills into being able to read 2, 3 and 4 letter words. At this point, digraphs (special friends) are introduced to the children, with the explanation of how these two letters together produce one sound (phoneme). Children learn a new digraph each day, which gradually progresses to split digraphs and trigraphs, all whilst developing their ability to read these digraphs in real and alien words.
All RWI reading books progress in accordance to the sounds the children already know. They also take home a RWI book bag book, which continues to support their learning in the classroom. All home reading books are decodable and are linked with each stage of the children’s phonic knowledge.
At St Edward’s, it is important to us that we develop a culture filled with rich vocabulary and therefore story time is an important part of our school routine. From the beginning of Nursery all of the way through to Year 6, stories, nursery rhymes and poems are shared with the children to develop the exploration of language, intonation and love of reading through listening to storytellers. We therefore ensure that the children also take home a library book which allows them to experience the enjoyment of story time with another person at home, and to show the importance of being able to read for pleasure. It also allows them to focus on developing their comprehension of the language they are hearing. In addition to this, each RWI story book includes key comprehension questions which are shared and discussed with the children. It is important for our parents of St Edward’s to share in the love of reading, and therefore, parent workshops and reading cafes are planned to aid them to develop their own storyteller role at home in addition to how they can support their child’s phonological knowledge further at home.
Year 1 Phonics Screening
During the Summer term of Year 1, the children complete the Year 1 Phonics Screening Test, which is a phonics-based check where children will be expected to read 40 simple, decodable words including nonsense words. This progress check is reported to parents and the children will be rechecked in Year 2 if they do not reach the expected level.
As a result of our well-sequenced and progressive RWI sessions, the children at St Edward’s build a secure knowledge of the phonemes and graphemes, which enables them to blend and segment with confidence, in turn, developing confident, independent readers. Children are assessed every 6 weeks to ensure that their progress is monitored and that the children are grouped according to their ability, with children being quickly identified for a ‘keep up tutoring programme’ if necessary. A high percentage of children in Year 1 pass the phonics screening check due to our high-quality phonics teaching.
Our early reading curriculum develops the reader in each child, which enables them to continue to explore different genres and authors of books in KS2 and beyond.
Our Early Reading curriculum helps achieve our vision of Life in all its fullness by…
- Mind: being motivated and challenged to continue to progress their reading skills, whilst being able to explore their imagination.
- Body: learning their blending and segmenting skills to be able to read words, building up to reading sentences and story books. They learn how to retell stories through role play and the use of props and they can bring stories to life, with creativity and enthusiasm.
- Heart: engaging the children in stories and developing a love of reading whereby they can explore different narratives and get lost in adventures from around the world.
- Spirit: developing a joy for words and igniting the awe and wonder of the stories that these words can create.