Reading and Phonics

At St Aidan's CE Primary School, we aim to develop the full potential of all our pupils as confident, literate readers and writers. If children are to develop as competent readers and writers, it is vitally important that they have a secure understanding of the letter sounds and spelling system of the English language. Phonic skills need to be developed in a systematic way, based on a staged systematic approach. Reading and the love of reading is fostered in English, shared and guided reading, story and throughout the curriculum through the immersion in books, fiction and non fiction, and a knowledge and understanding and application of vocabulary and language. 

Pearson Bug Club Reading and Phonics

Pearson Bug Club Phonics is a systematic synthetic phonics scheme that enables our teachers to teach phonics in a fast and engaging way so that all children develop a love of books and reading,  enabling them to become confident readers.  It is purposefully designed to keep all pupils working together as much as possible fostering a sense of social inclusion, boosting the performance of the children who may need to progress more slowly.

The systematic synthetic phonics scheme teaches children the phonemes (sounds) with the associated graphemes (letters) they see and then to blend them together to form the word. Within the scheme blending for reading comes first using associated phonemes taught  and then segmenting for spelling, both of which are given equal prominence through the scheme. The scheme teaches and models letter formation in line with the schools handwriting policy. 

Bug Club decodable reading books have been written to match the order in which grapheme-phoneme correspondences are introduced in class, giving the children the opportunity to practise their blending skills and to consolidate their knowledge. This enables us to build the children’s confidence and enjoyment of reading at the very start of their reading journey. 

Progression and Delivery

The teaching of phonics occurs daily in a discrete lesson in EYFS and Key Stage 1 and continues into Key Stage 2, where appropriate to the needs of children. Within the phonics lesson children revisit previous learning, are taught new phonemes and grapheme correspondence, are given the time to practise within reading and spelling and then apply their new learning. Phonics is taught through groups of sounds organised into phases and although taught discretely children are given lots of opportunities and exposure across the curriculum to practise and apply their learning. A range of resources, online applications and mnemonic devices are used alongside Pearson Bug Club to allow learners more practise of the phonemes taught in the Pearson Bug Club phonics lesson. 

Early Reading 

Where children are developing their fluency in reading (non-fluent readers) and phonetic knowledge (phases two to five) children take home reading books that are closely matched to their stage of development allowing them to decode and practise blending the sounds they know and learn. This is monitored closely by adults working with the children. These books follow the same Bug Club systematic, synthetic scheme or are supplementary using the same progression (Collins Big Cat decodable books).

Within early reading, children begin to develop their reading fluency and comprehension skills through guided reading sessions. The guided reading allows the children to read stories and extracts with the adult. Within the session children read stories applying their blending, knowledge of tricky words and therefore developing their fluency. Through discussion children develop early retrieval, literal and inference skills as well as knowledge of new vocabulary. 

At year 4 children (when fluent readers) access daily guided reading using the John Murray approach (see reading at Key Stage 2). 

Tracking and Assessment and Interventions

Teachers and practitioners closely observe and monitor the progress of individuals across all phases within the phonics sessions and application of learning across the curriculum. This enables adults within school to make an informed judgement on learning and adjust teaching accordingly. Each half term a formal assessment is made of children's learning and upon analysis children are grouped according to stage they are working at. This also informs teachers and practitioners of early interventions that may be needed. Intervention programmes are used to address gaps in learning across the phases and in Key Stage 2.

Year 1 Screening Check

In the Summer term out year 1 children take a Phonics Screening Check in which they will be expected to read 40 simple, de-codable words including nonsense words. This is a progress check to identify those children who are not at the expected level in their reading. The results will be reported to parents and school governors. Those children who do not reach the expected level in Year 1 will be rechecked in Year 2.  Any child working below the level of the screen check may be dis-applied, with the permission of their parent/carer.  

Phonics Catch-Up in Key Stage 2

If children in Key Stage 2 experience difficulty in reading and/or writing because they have missed or misunderstood a crucial phase of systematic phonics teaching, then provision is made for these children, with daily phonics taught in a small group tailored to their individual needs. This may involve a specific intervention programme to address gaps. 

Reading at Key Stage 2

Non fluent readers can access home reading books that are decodeable and follow or supplement the Bug Club reading scheme. Children also access decodable books that are pitched at older reader interest levels to maintain their enjoyment and engagement in reading. Non fluent readers and fluent readers at year 3 children access guided reading in small groups similar to the guided reading appropach for early readers. Texts are closely matched to the developmental stage of the children. 

Fluent readers from year 4 access daily guided reading through a John Murray approach. This is a consistent structured approach that develops literal, retrieval and inference skills as well as knowledge and understanding of vocabulary and is closely matched to the reading strands (domains). Children have many opportunities to develop their pace, expression and intontaion when reading aloud as well as skills in communication, discussion and explanation. 

Within English lessons reading is an intergral part of learning and children have opportunities to explore, analyse and unpick texts in which they will model writing on. Children develop their reading through free choice of high quality fiction and non-fiction books from class libraries. These books are closely matched to year groups for appropriate pitch, content and reading age. Choices are recorded within class.  

Special Educational Needs

At St. Aidan's we value every child's uniqueness, individuality and strengths. We understand every child develops differently and at their own pace and because of this we monitor children's progress closely to ensure that all children have provision that is appropriate to their stage of development and needs. Interventions and support are put in place so that all children can make progress and have the chance to succeed. 


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