Reading at William MacGregor

“Pupils should be taught to read fluently, understand extended prose (both fiction and non-fiction) and be encouraged to read for pleasure. Schools should do everything to promote wider reading. They should provide library facilities and set ambitious expectations for reading at home.”  

National Curriculum framework

At William MacGregor we hold reading at the heart of all learning and consequently reading has the highest priority in our school. In September 2015 we re-structured our staff to develop a ‘Reading Team’. The Reading Team and the classroom teacher read with our reception class, Year 1 and Year 2 every day for 30 minutes.

Our aim for this re-structure was to ensure all of our children left KS1 being confident, fluent readers. 

In school, to develop the love of reading and reading skills we use Big Cat Phonics for Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised fully decodable books. As well as other fiction and non-fiction books, including classics and poetry.

The National Curriculum says: Schools should set ambitious expectations for reading at home.

We have designed our own personal planners/diaries to enhance communication between home and school. We expect our children to read at least five times a week at home and for an adult to sign their planner to acknowledge that this has been achieved. We do not expect detailed notes from home about how their child has read, the purpose of reading at home is for enjoyment and practising the skills they have developed in school.

The national curriculum also says; Schools should provide library facilities.

Along with weekly visits to our own school library, each year group visits Tamworth Library once a month to hear stories read by librarians and choose books for pleasure. This monthly visit offers the opportunity for our children to choose from a far broader range of books as well as developing relationships with the librarians and developing a love for visiting a public library.

Phonics and Early Reading

We start teaching phonics in Ladybirds and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through the school. 

As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read.  We also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum.  We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects. 

Ladybirds and Year 1

Phonics is taught daily for 30 minutes.  In Ladybirds, we begin teaching in week 2 and we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible.  Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.  Children are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy. Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy. 

Daily keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read.  Any child who needs additional practise has daily keep-up support, taught by a trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller groups with more repetition.

Year 2

During the Autumn term, phonics is taught daily to review Phase 5.  Any child who is not fully fluent or has not passed the Phonics Screening Check will continue to receive daily phonics lessons.

Reading Practice

Children are taught to read through reading practice sessions four times each week.  These are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children.  We use books that are matched closely to the children’s secure phonics knowledge. 

Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory.  The reading practice sessions focus on three key reading skills:

·       Decoding

·       Prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression

·       Comprehension: teaching children to understand the text

In Ladybirds, reading practice sessions start in week 4.  Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.  We continue to teach reading in this way with children  who still need to practise reading with decodable books. 

Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any children needing additional support as soon as they need it.  Assessment for learning is used daily within class to identify children needing keep-up support.  Weekly review lesson is used to assess gaps, so that these can be addressed immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spelling.   Summative assessment is used every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identity any children needing additional support and to plan the Keep-up support that they need. The Reading Lead and SLT will scrutinise  the Little Wandle Letters and Sound Revised assessment tracker to narrow the attainment gaps between different groups of children and so that any additional support for teachers can be put into place. 

Y1 Phonics Screening Check

In the summer term, Y1 children will take a Phonics Screening Check in which children will be expected to read 40 decodable ‘words’. This progress check identifies those children not at the expected level in reading and these children will be re-checked in Y2. 

Guided Reading – Years 3 – 6

This is taught daily throughout the school for 30 minutes.  

Sessions are developed around a whole class guided reading approach.  Everybody reads the same text, which is generally the same text as the class novel. On rare occasions there will be some exceptions who may require a different text, for example children with SEND needs.  Lessons are developed to deepen understanding of the text studied through focusing on key vocabulary, book talk, and completion of a focused task linked to the reading VIPERS https://www.literacyshedplus.com/en-gb/browse/reading-vipers/general-vipers-resources-. During each lesson one key word from the text will be taught explicitly using the Isabel Beck approach.  The children will have opportunity to talk about the word and make links in their knowledge including spelling, etymology, synonyms and antonyms.  To develop oracy skills and deepen understanding, book talk questions are provided for children to discuss in pairs, groups or as a class.  To end the lesson, a focused response question will be completed independently, in pairs or as a class. 

Prosody is taught weekly in Years 3 and 4 and fortnightly in Years 5 and 6. 

Class Novel

Every class will have daily class novel time to promote Reading for Pleasure and reading stamina.  Books are carefully chosen to include a range of authors – contemporary and classic.  Books are also chosen to develop the children’s understanding of the world.  Where possible texts will be selected to compliment the class theme.  In Foundation and Key Stage 1, teachers will use class novel time to develop the children’s visualising skill.  Teachers will actively teach children how to visualise aspects of the text, encouraging the children to close their eyes and discussing what they are visualising.  In Ladybirds and Year 1 class novel time is also used to develop reading skills, such as retrieval, inference and prediction.

Home Reading

Children are encouraged to read at home regularly – 5 times each week which is recorded in their planner.  During the week, time is provided for children to select a book from the library.  Children have their reading book and planner on their desk throughout the day and are encouraged to read whenever there is an opportunity.  In foundation and Year 1, children take home graphemes and words linked to the their reading practice book. Once a week they take the book home to share progress, this is alongside a RfP book from the library.  

Reading for Pleasure

Throughout the year we celebrate World Book Day, hold termly book swaps, Scholastic book fairs and plan trips to the library to foster a love of books and reading.  In school we promote it through ‘Author of the term’ displays, copies of the the covers of the books read around the door.  To show that everybody is a reader, staff have a sign showing what they are currently reading for pleasure which is updated regularly.  We also hold a book swap each term. Each term a reading champion is chosen from each class – this person may have shown great motivation, enthusiasm for reading, or increased contribution in class or progress.   Children are actively encouraged to pick up a book whenever possible and read for pleasure in the dedicated reading zones around the school.  To promote RfP at home each class has a ‘Red Reading Rucksack’ which is taken home by two children each week.  Each rucksack contains a variety of reading material to appeal to all children.  To encourage children to read a wide range of authors and genres, we display and promote our ‘70 books to read before you leave’ selection which is on view in the library and the children record the books they have read in their individual passports. 

Reading Plus

This intervention programme is for children in Years 4, 5 and 6. Three, twenty minute sessions are built into the timetable in addition to the daily reading lessons. Every child accesses this unless they are unable to because of their additional needs. 

Long term English Plans

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6