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Berewood Primary School

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Reading and Phonics

At Berewood Primary School, we value reading as a key life skill. By the time children leave Berewood Primary School, they should be confident selecting and reading a wide range of material and enjoy regularly reading for pleasure.

Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary and material. They are able to recommend books to their peers and enjoy reading a wide range of genres, including non-fiction. Children enjoy participating in book talk, including evaluating an author’s use of language and how this can affect the reader. We encourage our pupils to see themselves as discerning readers and to be confident in discussing not only whether they enjoy a text but also the extent to which they agree with it. We ensure the books we read as part of our reading curriculum and in our books corners are representative of our wider school community and reflect the diversity of our childrens’ lived experiences. 

How we teach Reading

We teach reading comprehension through daily reading lessons. Each half term, children will read and analyse a fiction, a non-fiction or a poetry text. Reading lessons include:

  • An element of prosody (reading with feeling)
  • A close look at key vocabulary that children may be unfamiliar with
  • Unpicking the key skill focus for that lesson (retrieval, inference, prediction, summarising, vocabulary, making links)
  • Modelled answering of questions
  • Opportunities to apply the day's reading skills independently
  • A weekly reading for pleasure session

In addition to our reading lessons in Year R-6, we also provide children with:

  • Opportunities to read for pleasure
  • Phonics in small groups or interventions 
  • Regular, open ended discussions about stories and books.
  • Opportunities to read and discuss a wide read of genres including poetry and non-fiction (including weekly newspapers to ensure children are aware of local, national and global issues).

In addition, 1:1 reading is put in place for children that need extra practise. Books that the children take home are carefully chosen to match the children’s interests and their level of fluency.  

Types of reading

Reading for phonics - Explicit mention and use of reading books that link to phonics sounds are shared with pupils and their families too and are referenced when they appear elsewhere across the curriculum.

Reading for comprehension and accuracy - As children move into Key Stage 2, they can pick from the book banded books in the library.  Children are also introduced to new and engaging texts through topics across the school and more formally through separately taught guided reading sessions in school from years 3 to 6.

Reading for pleasure - In addition, we encourage pupils to choose books from the school library or from classroom libraries that they enjoy and want to read (sometimes again and again if it’s a favourite).  Children are also read to daily in lessons and at other times too.

Access reading books from home using  SORA                  

Reading for pleasure at Berewood Primary School

Every child at Berewood Primary School will have...

Reading Communities:

  • Opportunities to participate in local reading competitions including the summer reading challenge.
  • Regular visits to the school library
  • Book fairs - children are timetabled in for browsing sessions.
  • Participation in World Book Day dress up and enrichment events based on the national theme.
  • Reading rewards for children that have been reading regularly at home.
  • Reading buddies- teaming up older and younger classes to share favourite books together.

Reading Environments and Choice:

  • An engaging, clearly labelled, tidy book corner with a range of classic and new, high-quality fiction and non-fiction texts.
  • Advice on how to choose a book that they will like and exposure to new authors and genres.  
  • Time every week to choose a book and read for pleasure.
  • Dedicated time each day where an adult will read to them.
  • Time each week to read to an adult and other children in the classroom.
  • Daily opportunities to engage in quality book talk.
  • Some children even have sessions with our reading volunteers.

Teacher Commitment:

  • Teachers who have regular training sessions and are kept up to date with pedagogical developments.
  • Enthusiastic teachers with good knowledge of children’s books and enjoy participating in book talk.
  • Teachers who are motivated and participate wholeheartedly in reading enrichment activities such as World Book Day.
  • Teachers who model the love of reading!


Letters and Sounds

This year, we are beginning to use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to plan and provide daily engaging phonics lessons. In phonics, we teach children that the letters of the alphabet represent a different sound, that these can be used in a variety of combinations and are put together to make words. The children learn to recognise all of the different sounds and combinations that they might see when they are reading or writing.

Although we have always taught phonics and children right at the beginning of their journey at Berewood, we have recently started following the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. It has a very specific sequence that allows our children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies as they move through school. As a result, all our children will be able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover. At Berewood we also model these strategies in shared reading and writing both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on the development of language skills for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.

How we teach phonics

  • In reception and Y1, children follow the progression within Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme. Phonics is taught daily and there is a review session on a Friday
  • Phonics starts within the first few weeks of children beginning in reception to ensure the children make a strong start
  • By the end of reception, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 4
  • By the end of year 1, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 5
  • Reception lessons start at 10 minutes, with daily additional oral blending – increasing to 30 minutes as soon as possible
  • Y1 lessons are 30 minutes long
  • In Y2-Y3, phonic lessons are taught daily to children where appropriate –plugging specific gaps identified through assessment

Reading practice sessions

  • With Little Wandle, children across reception, year 1 (and year 2 where appropriate) apply their phonics knowledge by using a fully matched decodable reader in a small group reading practice session
  • These sessions are 10 minutes long and happen three times a week. There are approximately 6 children in a group
  • The sessions follow the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised
  • The children then take the same book home the following week to ensure success is shared with the family

How do we assess phonic knowledge?

  • In reception and year 1, at the end of each week there is a review session which recaps the learning. There are also whole review weeks (pre-planned and bespoke review weeks to address gaps identified by the class teacher’s ongoing formative assessment)
  • Children identified in reception and Y1 as in danger of falling behind are immediately identified and daily ‘keep up’ sessions are put in place – sessions follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme
  • In reception and year 1, the children are assessed at the end of every half term using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker
  • The children in Y1 sit the Phonics Screening Check in the summer term
  • Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Y1, will re-sit this in Y2

If you are a parent and would like more information about how to support your child with phonics at home, please follow this link to find the Reception and Year 1 overview as well as videos of the sound pronunciations, letter formation sheets and other helpful resources.