St Mary’s Farm
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Reading and Phonics

Reading at St Mary’s

At St Mary’s we want our children to be passionate readers and our role is to instil and nurture this love of reading for all our pupils. We have an extensive and exciting range of school guided and home reading books for the children to read and a well stocked school library. Our aim is to provide books that are both stimulating and challenging. We meet this aim by stocking books by the following publishers; Oxford Reading Tree, Active Phonics, Pearson, Collins and Dandelion. We choose not to follow a set reading scheme because we feel our children benefit from a wide coverage of texts within each reading stage. These books are regularly restocked and are banded in coloured stages. Children are then given the stage book they are currently working at to read at home and our expectation is that children must read three times a week and have their planners signed to show this.

In Guided Reading, during English lessons and in stand alone daily half hour sessions, children will read a more challenging text as they will be reading their target level, a band above the one they are secure at. Reading a target level book enables the teacher and support assistant to challenge the child’s comprehension and reading ability so that they are always working on achieving their targets.

At St Mary’s, our primary approach to teaching early reading is for children to apply their phonic knowledge to decode words. Children are also taught to comprehend the texts they read and it is an expectation that they must fully understand and be able to discuss what they read before they move on to a new stage in their reading.

Once children are reading confidently and fluently, our reading lessons are based around the four main skills in reading; to retrieve information, explore texts and authors, analyse texts and read a text showing inference. Children in Key Stage 1 read each week with a support assistant in school and in Key Stage 2 class teachers monitor the progress of children’s home reading through Key Skills sessions where again books are changed weekly. Extra adults are deployed to work with pupils who require more support with their reading in both Key Stages. We have very close links with the charity Beanstalk who help to support groups of children with their reading across the school.

We assess half termly against the Assertive Mentoring guidance and assessment.


Phonics at St Mary’s

The approach we use to teaching Phonics at St Mary’s is by following the ‘Letters and Sounds’ planning guidance. Phonics is taught daily in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 (where needed).  Children are expected to achieve Phase 6 by the end of Year 1. In Year 1, pupils will complete a Phonics Screening Check and are expected to read real and nonsense words to show that they are able to read Phase 5 sounds accurately. Teachers plan using the same school planning template and the teaching of Phonics is monitored by our Phonics Co-Ordinator. Children are assessed half termly against the expectations of the phase that has been delivered to them and teachers will then target their needs to the next phase of phonics teaching they will receive. Children will receive phonics reading books to support their learning of the phase they are currently working within and staff provide further support where required for children not meeting their expected targets. Our phonics lessons provide an exciting, challenging and fun environment to learn reading and spelling patterns essential to English development.