Reading and Phonics
At Forestdale Primary School early reading is taught using synthetic phonics as the main approach to reading. Pupils are systematically taught the phonemes (sounds), how to blend each sound within each word for reading and how to segment the sounds in order to write words. Children are taught to use their phonic skills and knowledge as their first approach to reading, but are also taught high frequency words which do not completely follow the phonic rules.
The school follows the government published programme 'Letters and Sounds'.
How we teach reading
After the phonics stage, children in KS1 have daily guided reading lessons. These lessons have a range of books and texts that are linked and match to the children’s levels and understanding from our Project X scheme. Within these lessons, the children are able to have a range of activities including reading to and with an adult, independent comprehension activities and other activities to deepen children’s reading skills. We also encourage of love of reading within these lessons by enabling the children to have their own independent time to read or share books with other children. The guided reading lessons involve small groups whereby the teacher models decoding strategies that build on fluency and also questioning to develop comprehension skills. Children also have the opportunity to build on their phonic skills.
Within KS2, we have taken the whole class reading approach. The books and texts chosen are there to deepen and challenge children’s fluency, comprehension and vocabulary skills. Teachers model how to read and also ask and answer questions; the children can then build on these skills independently and in groups. When questioning, teachers look carefully at the different types of questions and model how to answer these effectively. These questions involve fact retrieval, inference, summarising, authorial language and more. Our aim of whole class reading is to prepare children for the end of KS2 but also widening their reading adventure. Texts and books are chosen for specific year groups that are stimulating and include a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. These reading lessons also feed into all areas of the curriculum and skills learnt are used in these lessons. One important aspect of this reading, by having a broad range of books and texts, is to show how different authors write and for the children be able to use these ideas in their own writing.
At Forestdale Primary School all our early reading books are colour banded. Your child will be given a colour band to choose their home reading book from, which will help to ensure that the book they select is at the right reading level for them. Every colour band includes books from a range of reading schemes so that they will experience a wide range of stories, text types and illustrations. The majority of books within the early book bands can be decoded using phonic skills and knowledge. A range of published schemes are used including Story World, Lighthouse, Oxford Reading Tree, All Aboard and Project X.
The love of reading.
With the importance of reading, we at Forestdale encourage reading for pleasure as much as possible. We have books and texts that are linked to our curriculum subject whether this be in the library or classroom that can enhance the children’s learning and knowledge with their chosen topic in class.
With a fantastic library, we encourage children to borrow books to enjoy with their families at home. Again, our library has an extensive source of books from poetry to non-fiction. Our English Lead is on hand to help children to pick books they will enjoy and to advise children. Forestdale also promote independent reading as much as possible.
We also have our Forestdale Reading Karate competition which is ongoing throughout the year to encourage reading at home. This competition is based on home reading and children can earn coloured wristbands for the amount of times they read at home. Children are placed on a display board corresponding to the amount they have read. Reading is recorded in children’s reading journals that are sent home and signed by parents.
White wristband Read at home 10 times
Yellow wristband Read at home 20 times
Orange wristband Read at home 35 times
Green wristband Read at home 50 times
Blue wristband Read at home 65 times
Purple wristband Read at home 80 times
Brown wristband Read at home 95 times
Red wristband Read at home 110 times
Black wristband Read at home 120 times
Termly, a reading newsletter is handed to parents and children giving book recommendations and reading updates. All staff at Forestdale are part of this process of reading a book and giving a book review.
We also hold other competitions throughout the year including activities on world book day and we try to get guest authors to speak to the children. This year Forestdale took part in the extreme reading project over summer and we had a fantastic response from children reading in strange and unusual places. The staff at Forestdale also took part as inspiration. You can see the excellent entries we had under our news and events page.
At Forestdale, we also have a class buddy reading project. This is where each class is paired with a different year group and they read to each other weekly. At the moment, we have year one and year five paired together and year 3 and year 4. We also encourage the older children to read to our foundation stage children.
Each class is read to by the teacher daily at the end of the day. This is an important part of our school day as it not only models to the children how to read but they get to enjoy being read to. A range of authors are used throughout the school including magazines and news articles.
Awards we have received so far.