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Early Reading and Phonics

Reading statement of intent:

At Emmanuel, reading is the essential component of our broad and balanced curriculum as we aspire for all children to have ‘life in all its fullness’.

We intend for our pupils to:

  • Read fluently with expression, clarity and confidence from an early stage.
  • Develop a love of reading by giving them early success in reading through the use of our SSP.  Throughout our school, we share both classic and contemporary texts with our pupils so they can enjoy a wealth of children’s literature and become readers for life.
  • Read books that reflect and celebrate the diversity of our school community by introducing texts about different experiences; empowering our children to discuss what makes all of us unique, valued and respected in terms of culture, race, ethnicity, gender, education, disability, identity, religion and sexuality.

Introduction to reading

Reading has a high-profile at Emmanuel; children love to read, spend time in their ‘book nook’ and they regularly share book suggestions with one another.

We understand reading is the essential skill that enables children to develop their learning across the wider curriculum; laying the foundations for future success in studies and employment. Our reading provision aims to develop children into fluent readers who love to read and read to learn.

Reading for pleasure is developed through celebrating ‘World Book Day’, visits to our local book shop ‘West End Lane Books’ and a weekly ‘book club’ is held in certain year groups.

Reading skills in EYFS and Key Stage 1

Using the SSP, ‘Essential Letters and Sounds’, phonics is taught daily and systematically in EYFS and Key Stage 1.

Our phonics teaching starts as soon as the children begin in Reception and it follows a specific sequence that allows children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies. As a result, our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover. 

Each lesson has a 4-part structure (review, teach, practise and apply) and we use 100% decodable books so that children can apply their new knowledge and phonic skills and gain a sense of achievement immediately.

Teachers and leaders carefully track children’s progress in phonics and ‘keep up’ support is provided each day so all children make good progress.

We understand just how important regular practise is so children take home at least one decodable book each week. The decodable books are re-read at home at least four times in this period.  Children also have the opportunity to choose a quality picture book to share with an adult at home.

We ensure parents and carers understand how to best support their child when reading books at home by holding a phonics workshops in the Autumn term.

Reading skills in Key Stage 2

Phonics teaching and learning does not stop at the end of Key Stage 1.  As children move onwards through the school, we continue to encourage them to use their knowledge of phonics as they tackle more complex books and learn to spell more sophisticated words.

Through whole-class reading lessons, children are taught a range of reading strategies to develop their comprehension skills whilst exploring challenging texts across a wide range of genres including poetry.

During whole class reading, vocabulary linked to the text is a real focus.  Pupils look at root words to gather understanding and meaning; synonyms to build and expand their vocabulary; and word class to ensure accurate grammatical structures.  Key vocabulary in context is reinforced across appropriate curriculum areas to ensure it becomes embedded and children gain the ability to use within spoken or written language as appropriate.

All pupils have opportunities to develop their reading skills daily, and are also encouraged to read at home with an adult. Children choose carefully selected, age-appropriate books from their classroom and from the school library.  We work closely with local book shops and authors to ensure our pupils are exposed to high quality reading materials, including classic literature and new releases.  Support is given to parents to enable them to feel confident and understand the importance of sharing books at home.