The Teaching of Reading at St Michael’s School
Promoting Reading for Pleasure
The National Curriculum emphasises that pupils need to develop pleasure in reading, develop motivation to read and maintain a positive attitude towards reading. Indeed, much research suggests that reading for pleasure not only has educational benefits but also develops general knowledge, a better understanding of other cultures, social skills and decision making. Other research suggests that the benefits of reading are more likely to be felt when reading takes place through free choice. The outcomes of reading will occur more often and more strongly if reading is enjoyable in the first instance. This is why the ‘for pleasure’ element of reading for pleasure is so important. Reading is not just something that children should do in school; it needs to be an everyday part of our lives, something we choose to do at all ages.
From the end of Year 2 children have ‘Drop Everything and Read’ (DEAR) time for at least 20 minutes a day where they have an opportunity to read independently. In this time the class teacher will also check that children are reading an appropriate text and read with any child that requires additional support. Children are expected to take reading books home and will be provided with a reading record. KS2 children will be encouraged to keep a log of their reading and any interesting vocabulary they encounter. Every class has daily story time where their teacher will read aloud to class. We ensure that story time includes listening to the class book, non-fiction texts, picture books and poetry.
In addition to this, the school raises the profile of reading by organising author visits, running reading challenges and holding celebration events related to children’s reading. We also try to encourage adults to read to their children by regularly posting book recommendations and suggestions on our website and on Class Dojo.
Please click on the link below to take you to the 'Reading for Pleasure' page where your child can add a book recommendation.
Early Reading at St Michael’s School
At St Michael’s School we aim to teach children the reading skills so that they become confident, fluent readers with a passion for reading. We use the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme to teach synthetic phonics to aid reading and writing.
Read Write Inc
When using Read Write Inc to read the children will:
- Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple prompts.
- Learn to read words using sound blending (Fred talk).
- Read lively stories featuring words they have learnt to sound out.
- Show that they comprehend the stories by answering 'Find It' and 'Prove It'.
Please click below to take you to the Read Write Inc information page.
Children are assessed regularly to ensure that they have a reading book appropriate to their phonics skills. Our reading scheme is the Read Write Inc Book Bag Books . These books are taken home to share with parents. At the front of each book is guidance on ‘How to help your child read this book’. There is a list of the ‘story green words’ which the children can sound out and ‘red words’ which are the tricky words. In some books there is also a ‘vocabulary check’ which helps children to understand the meaning of different words. At the back of the book there is an ‘Explain/Retell the text’ with a story map to help children retell the story using the pictures. There are also ‘Questions to chat about’ to help their comprehension skills. It is recommended that the children read the book three times which can be either in school or at home.
Hearing a child read their Read Write Inc Book Bag reading book:
- Talk through the front cover. Read title, discuss illustration, ask 'what do you think will happen in the story?'
- Read through the story green words and the red books found in the inside page of the front cover.
- The child reads the story sounding out (decoding) the words as needed. The adult supports as needed.
- Talk through the story from the previous day.
- Read through story again discussing different parts.
- At the end retell the story using the pictures prompts and then discuss the ‘Questions to chat about’.
- Read through the story and focus on fluency and expression.
- Adult to model reading with expression to the child.
In Reception children are taught the RWI Set 1 sounds in terms 1 and 2. These are the alphabet sounds as well as ‘special friends’ ch, qu, ng, nk, sh, th. Children are taught to say, read and write the phonemes. They are also taught to ‘Fred Talk’ (oral) blend words i.e. the adult says the phonemes m-a-n and the children repeat and then say the word. Once children become more secure with oral blending, they learn to blend words using the sound cards or magnetic letters and then ‘green’ word cards. In terms 3 and 4 children are taught RWI Set 2 ‘special friends’ phonemes. When children are secure on these phonemes, they may be taught some of the Set 3 phonemes (alternatives to Set 2).
In Year 1 children are taught a daily RWI speed sounds lesson. They revise the Set 2 phonemes and then they are taught the alternative phonemes in Set 3 e.g. a-e, ea, i-e, oa. Children read regularly to an adult either 1:1 or in a guided reading group using RWI books matched to their phonics ability. Prior to reading the text, children read the green (decodable) and red (non-decodable) words as well as check an understanding of the meaning of the vocabulary.
In Year 2 children continue with the speed sound sessions to recap the Set 2 and Set 3 phonemes as well as being taught the National Curriculum Year 2 spelling rules. Year 2 children also begin to focus on reading comprehension skills through reading tasks. These lessons focus on whole class reading of fiction, non-fiction or poetry texts and children discuss vocabulary and content and then answer a range of styles of questions making some inferences.
The teaching of reading in Key Stage 2
Once children are able to sufficiently decode tricky words and read fluently, they will focus on reading comprehension skills. In Key Stage two, we use the VIPERS skills alongside the National Curriculum objectives to structure our reading curriculum.
Underpinning all reading comprehension lessons is the premise of ‘read loud, think aloud’ where teachers model the metacognition process of understanding what is being read. Over the course of a week:
- Children will have at least three thirty-minute whole class reading comprehension lessons based around one extract from a text.
- Each lesson will focus on one or two of the national curriculum skills relevant to that year group.
- Lesson one will focus mainly on vocabulary and the understanding of a text, whilst lessons two and three will focus on one or two of the VIPERS skills / curriculum objectives.
- Throughout a short term, children will cover all of the VIPERS (Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explain, Retrieve and Summarise) skills, with vocabulary and inference covered weekly.
- Each term, texts will be carefully selected to cover the following: classic children’s text, non-fiction, longer modern narrative extract, shorter modern narrative extract (from the class book), poetry and a picture book.
Please click on the documents below:
Useful websites for home learning
The Teaching of Writing at St Michael's School
In Reception and KS1, the Read Write Inc. (RWI) programme is used to teach synthetic phonics and to support reading and writing. The daily ‘speed sounds’ lesson teaches children to not only read the phonemes but also to write them. Children are taught to use their ‘Fred fingers’ to hear the sounds in phonically regular words and then spell them.
As children progress with their writing, they are taught to write phrases and simple sentences using a capital letter at the start of a new sentence, a full stop at the end and a finger space between words. They are also encouraged to read back their sentence to check it makes sense. Children will write dictated sentences as well compose their own sentences.
Vocabulary rich texts are used as a stimulus to teach writing. Through the use of class books, children will write a variety of types of texts including retelling or creating a story, descriptions of a setting or a character, factual writing (e.g. instruction writing, recount or a non-fiction report) as well as create their own poems. Children are taught grammar as outlined in the National Curriculum for English for their year group. This includes learning different word types (e.g. nouns, adjectives, verbs) and sentences types (statements, questions, commands and exclamations). They are also taught a range of punctuation including capital letters, full stops, questions marks, exclamation marks and commas in lists all of which they are expected to use in their writing by the end of Year 2.
Teaching Writing across the School
Most units of work are linked to the class book or are informed by a direct experience e.g. a report of a school trip, and will typically last for one-two weeks. A range of genres are taught across the year. Writing is assessed used the Writing Milestones documents in KS1 and KS2 and these are used to inform planning. Editing and revising is valued as one of the most important part of the writing process.
- Editing: proofreading and correcting spelling, punctuating and grammar errors.
- Revising/redrafting: improving writing by altering vocabulary, sentence structure and punctuation.
From Year 2 children will use a purple pen to indicate where edits and revisions have been made.
In Reception and KS1 children use sound and word mats to aid their spelling when they are writing across the curriculum. In KS1 children have a weekly spelling test to help spell words with the RWI Set 2 and 3 phonemes as well as the other National Curriculum KS1 spelling rules. They are also checked regularly on spelling the Year 1 and Year 2 common exception words.
In KS2, children will be taught spelling rules in discreet sessions in class. Phonetical knowledge should continue to underpin spelling after Key Stage 1; teachers should still draw pupils’ attention to GPCs (Grapheme Phoneme correspondences) that do and do not follow what has been taught so far. Increasingly, however, pupils also need to understand the role of morphology and etymology. Although particular GPCs in root words simply have to be learnt, teachers can help pupils to understand relationships between meaning and spelling where these are relevant. Children will have weekly spelling lists sent home that will be tested each week.
In Reception and KS1 the Read, Write Inc handwriting rhymes are used to teach the letter formation of the alphabet sounds. Children are taught how to join the ‘special friends’ in Reception and then learn cursive handwriting from Year 1. From this time, it is expected that children will join their writing. Handwriting is taught in short, discreet sessions and modelled by teachers whenever they write. Children will always write with pencil throughout KS1 & KS2.
Spoken Language (Speaking and Listening)
Opportunities for speaking and listening are included in most English lessons, as well as across the wider curriculum. We are currently in our second year of a two year long whole school oracy project with the organisation Voice 21.
Children should be given the opportunity to listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers as well as ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge. Teachers should model and give opportunities to articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions and give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes, including expressing feelings. Children should talk audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English. They should also be given the opportunity to participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play, improvisations and debates.