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Monkshouse Primary Academy

Together Everybody Achieves More

The 7 Aspects of Reading

How Do We Prioritise Reading?

  • At Monkshouse Primary School, all staff are familiar with research around the strong correlation between children’s early reading abilities and their future life chances. For this reason, reading is a key priority at our school.
  • The school employs an additional teacher to support early reading across KS1. This valuable resource supports the most vulnerable children to ensure no child is left behind.
  • Parent workshops are run every year specific to Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 phonics and early reading teaching and further workshops in supporting reading for parents of children in KS2. All parents are encouraged to attend these workshops. Parents are supported to develop their own skills and knowledge through online courses and staff are always willing to give further support if required.
  • Reading is the homework focus for all children in Reception and KS1, with an expectation that children read at least 5 times a week at home. All Reception and KS1 children will be listened to read on a 1:1 basis at school every week and children will have daily opportunities to read in their phonics lessons and in English reading lessons. In KS2 we have a whole-class reading approach with daily whole-class reading opportunities and regular 1:1 reading with all children.
  • Governors are aware of the vision around reading development at the school and support the school with this through the approval of resourcing budgets for the move to a new phonics scheme in September 2023 and the significant investment in new reading scheme books and class-based reading for pleasure books.


How Do We Promote a Love of Reading?

  • At the heart of the school is a read and relax area which is used by classes during lesson times and groups of children during break times. Children can select a book from a vast range of texts including traditional and modern classics, contemporary and popular reading material and books that are linked to real life events as well as non-fiction, comic books, magazines, picture books and books about diversity. We listen to the voice of our pupils and the genres of text that they enjoy reading, as well as promote a wider range of literature that inspire and spark imaginations.
  • Every classroom from Y2 upwards has a class ‘library’ area where books are displayed and promoted, talked about and reviewed as part of the love of reading culture we promote. In Reception and Y1, book baskets can be found throughout the provision. Children in KS1 select a book each week from their classrooms to take home, as a reading for pleasure book, in addition to their reading book. The reading for pleasure books may be books to enjoy listening to rather than read independently.
  • Our staff have all had training on the principles of the DfE Reading Framework 2023 and are encouraged to use the audits to self-evaluate their practice to ensure they are consistently excellent role models for reading.
  • Staff organise first hand experiences to engage children in a dynamic curriculum and foster a love of literature by inviting in poets, authors and storytellers to run workshops with the children.
  • The school have innovative and engaging schemes to promote reading and support reading development in school, including but not limited to, Reading Champions, Reading Influencers and the proposed Mystery Readers - an initiative where parents in KS1 sign up to come in to class on a rota basis once a week to read a story to the children.
  • Reading incentives including certificates for regular reading at home and progress awards earning a token that can be spent in our school’s book vending machine.
  • The local library service is promoted in school and to all parents to encourage families to visit the library with their children and borrow books on a regular basis. The Book Fair visit the school annually giving further opportunities for parents to acquire books for their children.


How Do We Make Sure Pupils Make Progress?

  • Children begin phonics lessons from the very first day they start school. The phonics programme Sounds-Write is structured and progressive enabling all children to acquire the skills and knowledge they need to become fluent readers. Lessons are delivered daily to all children in EYFS and KS1. The lessons are structured to teach, practise, revise and apply. 
  • Sounds-Write works on the fundamental approach that errors and misconceptions are a prime area for teaching and as such, assessment of progress is continuous. Teachers use the script to support children to ensure that those most at risk at falling behind are supported in the moment to narrow the gap.
  • Summative assessments are done every half term (at the end of a unit) to monitor grapheme recognition in Reception and Year 1 and that word reading skills in Y1 and Y2 are strong. 
  • Attainment is recorded by teachers and monitored by the Phonics and Early Reading Lead to ensure progress. Children that are identified as working towards the expected level of development will be monitored more regularly.
  • Some children will find acquiring phonetic knowledge and skills more challenging. They will receive additional support through pre-teach or re-teach interventions. Some of those children may be working in a smaller group, where delivery of the scheme is pitched at an appropriate starting point to them.
  • Children in KS2 who are not yet at the expected level of attainment for end of KS1 will continue to receive specific phonic teaching each day. This is in addition to the spelling programme they would be having with their peers.
  • Children in KS2 have shared-reading lessons. They are assessed through NFER reading assessments every large term and have speed of reading assessments to check their automaticity of reading. Mini quizzes in KS2 assess children’s understanding of their learning every two weeks.


How Do We Match Books to Children’s Reading Ability?

  • Children in Reception begin their reading journey with a wordless book. From the very beginning of starting school, sending home a book gives parents the opportunity to establish a positive routine for reading. Children learn how to care for and handle a book, including turning the pages from right to left. Wordless books are an incredible resource for developing oracy skills and supporting a literature and language rich culture at home, rapidly expanding children’s vocabulary bank. Orally narrating the story in a wordless book, with a beginning, middle and end structure encourages discussion about what is happening and why. This will have a positive impact on the child’s future comprehension skills when they come to read books independently.
  • Children’s reading books are very closely matched to their phonics ability. Children will progress through the Sounds-Write units and will be given a reading book that has been matched to the Sounds-Write scheme. The reading and re-reading of a book allows the child to embed their decoding skills, develop fluency, prosody and comprehension.
  • Once children have finished the phonics scheme and have reached a competent level of independent reading, they will be guided to choose books up to Level 20 and then they become complete ‘free readers’.


How Do We Teach Phonics Right From the Start?

  • Phonics lessons begin on the very first day of school. In the Nursery this begins with developing attention and engagement skills to ensure children are ready to listen. This rapidly progresses to planned games and activities that focus on early phonics skills.
  • In Reception children begin phonics lessons on their very first day by developing attention and engagement skills with their class teacher and working on activities that support the development of oral segmenting and blending. Phonics lessons through Sounds-Write with formal teaching of phoneme-grapheme representation begin on the second week of term, or before if a cohort have demonstrated that they are ready.  
  • Children in Reception will begin learning the Initial Code in the Sounds-Write programme. Over at least 20 weeks, children will learn all the single grapheme phoneme representations and to read and write words with adjacent consonants. They will then learn the beginning of two-spelling sounds -  ff, ss, ll, zz, ch, sh, th, ng, wh, qu – this is good preparation for Year 1.
  • Children in Year 1 learn the Sounds-Write Extended Code. The programme is planned to teach children the various common grapheme representations for one phoneme during a Unit. Children will begin with Unit 1 which is the /ae/ phoneme. Children will learn to identify, read and write the most common representations of that sound: /ay, /a_e/, /ea/, /ai/. Children will work through the Extended Code to the end of Unit 26 in Year 1.
  • Children in Year 2 revisit the sounds in Year 1, and look at further spelling patterns for those sounds, e.g. for the sound /ae/:   ‘ey’ as in they and 'eigh' as in weigh. They will also be taught more polysyllabic words which will support their transition into KS2.


How Do We Support Children To Catch Up?

  • Some children will find acquiring phonics skills and knowledge more challenging than their peers. They will be identified by the class teacher during daily lessons and tracked by the Phonics Lead and class teacher to observe their rate of progress. Verbal feedback will be instant and staff will correct errors and misconceptions as they arise, maximising the chances of accurate knowledge being secured and embedded before bad habits set in.
  • In every year group, the lowest 20% of readers are given further support to narrow the gap in reading attainment. Those children are listened to read  1:1 more regularly. We have pre-teach and or re-teach support groups to ensure that all children meet their full potential and become confident, fluent readers. These groups are fluid and are informed from formative and summative assessments.
  • Our reading teacher and specific reading support TAs, alongside Reading Champions, work closely with all children not yet meeting their year group expectations or who are in Year 2 or above and are not reaching the end of year 1 phonics expectations (of the statutory Phonics Screening Check). We aim for no child to be left behind and are investing heavily in supporting all our children to become fluent and confident readers.


How Do We Train Staff to Become Reading Experts?

  • All staff have received training sessions on phonics teaching and early reading. This training covered theory on how children learn best, cognitive load and exploring all of the skills and knowledge needed to read and write. Staff completed various activities to enable them to become confident reading experts.
  • All staff have received training on the Reading Framework 2023 and how to promote a culture of reading for pleasure in school. This also included guidance on story-telling and reading.
  • All staff received training on how to support early readers with decoding, fluency, prosody and comprehension.
  • Staff are supported to become reading experts by being given the opportunity to observe other reading experts teach and through coaching style support.
  • Reading is a key priority at Monkshouse Primary School and the subject is closely monitored to ensure depth and breadth of reading material as well as high quality teaching in every class.