Phonics and Early Reading

In EYFS and Key Stage 1, an understanding of phonics is taught through multisensory, engaging, discrete sessions of 30 minutes per day.  Phonics sessions are well matched to children’s needs and are taught using systematic synthetic phonics based on the progression of sounds outlined in the Red Rose Letters and Sounds scheme.

Our pupils benefit from:

  • A daily phonics session, based on a model of review, introduction of new learning, practice and applying;
  • Focused directed teaching involving oral and written practice of letters and sounds;
  • A variety of teaching methods, including demonstration, modelling, games, singing and other practical activities.
  • Repetition and teaching of ‘tricky’ words.

As our children move through the different phonic phases, they will be matched to a phonically decodable book at the appropriate level for the phase they are learning to take home and share with parents.  This will give them further opportunities to practice the skills they are learning in school and reinforce their learning.  Our phonically decodable books come from a wide variety of publishers and each book has been matched to the most appropriate phase.  Children will also access the school library at least once a week, where they will have the opportunity to choose their own books to take home and read for pleasure with their families, helping them to develop a love for reading.

As the children move onto Phase 6 in phonics they broaden their reading with a range of animal banded books.  These books have all been assessed by our staff and grouped into appropriate sets that creates a progression from the decodable phonics books right through to free choice reading.  We have designed the system to help pupils develop their skills of blending sounds into words for reading and to help them establish the habit of applying this skill whenever they encounter new words.  The animal book banding system supports this practice, providing pupils with reading books that are consistent with their developing phonic knowledge and skill, and their knowledge of common exception words.

Children who find reading more difficult receive additional support targeted to their identified needs.  This may be daily 1:1 reading with an adult, small group phonic interventions or a structured intervention such as Toe by Toe or Words First.  This may continue into Key Stage 2 where they also have access to a selection of Project X books; these are high interest/lower reading level books. 

Reading for Pleasure

Reading for pleasure is a central part of our culture at Garstang Community Primary School and we work hard to develop a love of reading amongst our pupils. Children have the opportunity to take part in engaging and enjoyable shared, group and independent reading activities through the daily English lesson and through Reading Workshop sessions. During these sessions, which are led by well trained teachers and TAs, our pupils are always encouraged to read for pleasure.

We share a wide variety of diverse novels, picture books and poetry in our classes on a daily basis.  Our pupils have access to a wide range of diverse, exciting, and inspiring texts through our well stocked library and class reading corners.

Our pupils are given the opportunity to develop decoding and literal comprehension skills before working on high order reading skills. During reading lessons, our skilled teachers nurture a love of reading while making rigorous and ongoing assessments of our pupils’ progress. Our staff are skilled at the early identification of at-risk children who struggle to develop early reading skills. At such times, additional support is put in place. Our pupils are made aware of their own progress and development as a reader.

We work closely with parents and offer support and guidance to help them work with their children at home. We aim to develop reading outside the classroom through theatre visits, book week activities, visiting storytellers and through extra-curricular activities such as our Bedtime Story Night for EYFS and KS1 pupils and through our Campfire Story Night for KS2 pupils. We work closely with our PTA who share our vision and fully support us in our desire to provide our pupils with exciting, quality texts.

Parents are asked to read with their children daily and record their observations and comments in their child’s Reading Diary, provided by the school. This is monitored carefully by class teachers.  Each class has its own system of changing books that will be set out at the beginning of each year.  All our pupils will go home with at least one reading book each week and all children will have access to the school library at least once a week.  This system ensures that our pupils are given regular practice and make rapid progress through the reading stages as well as developing a life-long love for reading.

Once pupils have progressed through the animal book bands they are able to move onto free choice.  Teachers in year groups where this is happening, explicitly teach children how to choose engaging, age appropriate books and then pupils can choose to read books in the classroom, the school or local library, or from home.