Learning to read is one of the most important things your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, therefore we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.
We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we work hard to make sure children develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.
We start by teaching phonics in Reception following the Little Wandle for Letters and Sounds Revised scheme. This is delivered through discreet daily phonics lessons. Continuous provision, and the outdoor learning environment in EYFS, is carefully planned to support and consolidate the children’s phonic knowledge.
Once children can blend sounds together to read words, through guided reading sessions 3 times per week, children practise reading books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ that they know. During this stage in their development, children start to believe that they can read and this does wonders for their confidence.
Children in Year 1 and some children in Year 2 also have access to high quality daily phonics sessions which last for between 20-30 minutes (again, using the Little Wandle for Letters and Sounds Revised scheme). Children are taught in their class groups with careful assessment and monitoring, to ensure that all children reach their full potential. All children who need additional practice, have daily 'keep-up' support, taught by a fully-trained adult.
In whole class reading sessions, your child will experience a range of text types, carefully chosen for their challenging vocabulary. The teacher will model a range of teaching strategies and give the opportunity for plenty of talk about books.
In addition to this whole class work, every class has a 30 minute daily guided reading session, with children grouped at the same reading level. This is so that the teaching can be focused on their needs. Some older children will continue to access phonics groups if they need further consolidation and development of their reading skills. We check children’s reading skills regularly with a twice-yearly reading and comprehension age assessment, and use ongoing teacher assessment, so we that we can ensure that children are placed in the right group. Children will move to a different group if they are making faster progress or may have one-to-one, or small group, adult-led support if we think they need some extra help.
At Holy Trinity, we recognise that not all children learn to read using phonics and for some children other approaches are used. We ensure our teaching of reading includes lots of opportunities to discuss characters, settings and events.
As the children move into Key Stage 2, we begin to explore how the writer has used language to keep the reader’s interest. We look at the features of a range of different fiction and non-fiction texts, discussing the use of different layouts, sentence structures as well as the use of figurative language.
As part of our assessment of children's reading, we take into account levels of fluency, their ability to decode and discuss and understand the texts that they read including fiction, poetry and non-fiction. As part of statutory assessment, in the Summer Term, the government requires all schools to do a phonics check of all the Year 1 children. Parents are informed as to how their children has performed. In the Summer Term, Year 2 and Year 6 have statutory tests where they are tested on their comprehension skills across a variety of texts.
At Holy Trinity, teachers throughout the school regularly read to the children so that the children get to know and love all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. This helps to extend children’s vocabulary and comprehension, as well as supporting their writing. To enable this, we actively encourage children to take home ‘real books’ from the class collection or the library that may be of a higher level than those which they can read on their own. We want children to experience books about all sorts of topics as well as having the opportunity to share these with parents and families at home. To help with reading at home and to ensure children are encouraged to read widely and to challenge themselves, we have put together a 'Recommended Reads' list for each year group in the school. This list is compiled by the teachers based on their experience and knowledge of children's literature alongside national recommendations. These lists are available at the bottom of this page and are shared with parents at the start of the academic year. As a further incentive to motivate the children to gain enjoyment from reading age-appropriate texts, as well as to introduce them to new authors, each class has a 'Book Bingo' challenge which is a list of modern as well as classic texts which children are encouraged to read during the course of the academic year. For children who require further support with their reading, an individual 'Book Bingo' sheet may be provided. Additionally, all children visit the school library at least once a fortnight and have the opportunity to borrow a book to read at home to develop and foster their enjoyment of reading.
As part of our homework policy at Holy Trinity, all parents/carers are asked to hear their child read at least 3 times a week at home. Each child has a reading record book in which parents and teachers can record the child's reading.