In October, staff chose one child in each class to become a Reading Ambassador. The children had their first (socially distanced) meeting where they were given their special badges and told about some of their duties. These include encouraging others in the class to love reading as much as they do by giving book recommendations, ensuring children keep the book shelves tidy when choosing a new book and attending half termly meetings to discuss reading in their class. The children were all very enthusiastic and I look forward to our next meeting!
Phonics at Abacus
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At Abacus Primary School, we believe that good reading and spelling is an essential skill that allows children to communicate their understanding in all curriculum subjects. Good quality phonic teaching secures the skills of word recognition and decoding which allow children to read fluently. This will result in children being able to read for pleasure and develop comprehension skills. These phonic skills need to be taught systematically following the format:
Review and Revisit – Children revisit the previous taught learning via interactive and engaging games and activities in a whole class environment.
Teach – Children are taught a new phoneme/grapheme, a new skill or spelling rule.
Practise – Children practise using the rule in context
Apply - Children are encouraged to apply new learning independently in their writing.
We follow this systematic approach laid out in Letters and Sounds (DfE 2007) which has been adapted to meet the requirements of the new National Curriculum. Staff plan phonics to ensure progression and effective, high quality teaching. A range of interactive resources are available for teaching staff and staff are encouraged to use whiteboards, in addition to recording in phonic books, so that children can write quickly during the sessions and ‘show me’ to provide effective and regular assessment for learning.
Phonics is taught throughout EYFS and KS1 and KS2 where appropriate. In FS and Year 1, children follow the Letters and Sounds structure. Jolly Phonics actions and rhymes might be used at the beginning of Foundation to aid retention of phonemes/graphemes alongside Letters and Sounds. From Year 2, interventions are planned for those children who have not passed the Year 1 Phonics Screening Test, either continuing to follow Letters and Sounds or adopt other approaches, taking individual needs into account.
The expectation is that children are taught all of Phases 2 and 3. Phase 4 can begin in the summer term, as no new grapheme-phonemes are taught, children focus on blending and segmenting longer words with adjacent consonants e.g. swim, clap, jump.
Learn letter names and use this when discussing phonemes e.g. ‘the letter b sometimes makes a /b/ sound’
Hear, use and begin to understand the terms: letter, phoneme, grapheme, digraph, split digraph, trigraph, blend and segment.
Have one session of phonics a day.
Develop and practise their phonic skills throughout the day during adult supported writing, guided and/or 1:1 reading and child-initiated activities.
The expectation is that children are taught all of Phase 5 Letters and Sounds. Children will:
· Complete Phase 5 of Letters and Sounds by the end of Year One.
· Complete additional phonic and spelling objectives from the National Curriculum.
· Hear, use and understand the terms: letter, phoneme, grapheme, digraph, split digraph, trigraph, blend and segment.
· Have one session of phonics a day: with a mix of reading and spelling in each session.
· Develop and practise their phonic skills throughout the day during writing, guided reading and in cross curricular activities.
The expectation is that children complete Phase 6 of Letters and Sounds which focuses on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc. Year 2 onwards use the Rising Stars spelling scheme.
Assessment and Monitoring
Teachers make on-going assessments of children to ensure that planning targets individual and class needs. Phonic knowledge is also assessed alongside children’s progress in reading. The expectation that
· At the end of Foundation Stage, children are on Yellow Band reading books.
· At the end of Year 1, children are on Turquoise Band reading books.
· At the end of Year 2, children are on White Band reading books or the Accelerated Reader scheme.
Within class, LSAs are used to target specific groups of children. Small intervention groups are planned for pupil premium children, children with SEN and those identified as not having made expected progress and decided on a termly basis through Pupil Progress meetings.
Phonics lessons, activities, interventions and assessments are monitored by the Phonics Leader and/or English Leader.
National Phonic Screening
At the end of Year One, children are assessed under the statutory Year 1 Phonics Screening Check, which takes place in June of each year. This test contains a combination of real and pseudo words to test a child’s phonetic awareness and ability to blend. In Year 2, children who did not reach the required standard for the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check will need to be re-assessed. These children will then be required to retake the test in Y2 during the following June testing period.
Reading at Abacus
Reading is at the core of the curriculum and our aim is for children to read fluently and with confidence in order to acquire new knowledge to inform their learning. We prioritise developing a love of reading for pleasure and encourage children to read widely and critically.
Organisation – KS1
Children in EYFS and Year 1 have daily, whole class Guided Reading sessions focused on high quality texts, often taken from Pie Corbett’s Reading Spine.
Children in EYFS read 1:1 with an adult every week and every two weeks in Year 1 and 2. We use Collins Big Cat books as home readers and staff use this reading opportunity to assess whether children should be moved on to the next colour band. Children are encouraged to choose their own reading books, selected from the appropriate box related to their phonic understanding.
In EYFS and KS1, a five-day structure is followed: vocabulary development; fluency and expression; two comprehension lessons; and inference and prediction.
Teachers monitor KS2 students’ regular reading practice through Accelerated Reader. This program gives teachers the information they need to ensure that students are habitually reading and understanding the books that will best develop their reading skills. Accelerated Reader is aimed mostly at year 2 upwards (Year 2 begin to use Accelerated Reader in the spring term) but children in Year 1 are able to access the program if their teachers deem it suitable.
Children in KS2 have weekly or bi-weekly comprehension lessons linked to their learning, focused on the content domains from the national curriculum. These lessons are linked to the class text or focus in English and are planned to coincide with the rest of the English planning.
Assessment and Monitoring
Work will be assessed in line with the Assessment policy. Verbal and written feedback provides next steps to support children in progressing with their learning.
Target tracker updated termly
Pira assessments – Autumn, Spring and Summer for Year1-5 (no summer assessment for Year 2)
SATs Year 2 and 6
Year 1 children Phonic Screening Check
Star Reading Tests completed half termly– KS2, Year 2 (from Spring term) and appropriate children in Year 1
Accelerated Reader Quizzes completed after each book read – KS2, Year 2 (from Spring term) and appropriate children in Year 1