Reading at Belmont
At Belmont School we aim to provide all pupils with a high-quality education in English that will:
- Teach pupils to speak, read and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others effectively.
- Secure pupils' knowledge of phonics in the early teaching of reading until they have reached a standard that allows them to access texts independently and confidently.
- Embed Reading as a central part of all curricula areas supporting the learning that pupils undertake.
It is our belief that reading is an enabler to unlock life-long learning. All pupils will read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, to gain knowledge across the curriculum and develop their comprehension skills. It is our intention to ensure that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.
At Belmont School we follow the synthetic phonics programme Rocket phonics. This is supported by a comprehensive range of Reading Planet reading books which have been organised and levelled according to the phonics sounds contained within the book. The teaching of phonics begins from the start of EYFS and progresses through KS1 and is implemented in the form of daily phonics lessons. Each phoneme/grapheme is continuously recapped and reinforced in all reading and writing across the curriculum.
Across the school, pupils experience a wide breadth of reading opportunities across different genres. Books are levelled according to the progression of the order of phonics being taught. In EYFS and KS1, Reading Planet levelled books and e-books are used for home-reading to ensure that pupils have books that match the phonics level they are at. In KS2, pupils continue to use the Reading Planet e-books on the online libraries. When they are have completed Supernova level they become ‘independent readers’. All classrooms have book areas to promote independence, choice and reading for pleasure. Recommending books to each other is very much encouraged for all pupils (and adults). Pupils work through the wide variety of books at their own pace. Teachers monitor their progress and determine when best for pupils to move onto the next series, ensuring that a range of titles and genres have been explored and understood.
A range of reading opportunities are provided across the curriculum, exposing pupils to a wide range of quality texts whilst providing context to learning and encouraging reading for pleasure. We follow the Literary Curriculum for Whole Class reading, and English. High quality texts and passages are chosen, appropriate to the expectations of the year group or ability of pupils, and teachers use this to model the application of the agreed reading skills. Pupils are taught to notice breakdown in reading - identifying words/phrases they don’t understand and strategies to fix breakdown in meaning. Pupils are taught to relate the text to themselves, previous reading experiences and the world around them. Further to modelled sessions, pupils have the opportunity to read texts with greater independence and apply their skills when responding to the wide range of domain questions. More complex questions are evaluated between wider groups and teachers model how to refine answers to a high standard.
As we believe that reading is key to all learning, the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the result of statutory assessments. Children have the opportunity to enter the wide and varied magical worlds that reading opens up to them. As they develop their own interest in books, a deep love of literature across a range of genres cultures and styles is enhanced. Through the teaching of systematic phonics and reading enquiry, our aim is for children to become fluent and confident readers who can apply their knowledge and experience to a range of texts through the Key Stage 2 curriculum.
As a Year 6 reader, transitioning into secondary school, we aspire that children are fluent, confident and able readers, who can access a range of texts for pleasure and enjoyment, as well as use their reading skills to unlock learning and all areas of the curriculum. We firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments.
In addition to this:
- Parents and carers will have a good understanding of how they can support reading at home, and contribute regularly to home-school records.
- The % of pupils working at age related expectations and above age related expectations within each year group will be at least in line with national averages and will match the ambitious targets of individual children.
- There will be no significant gaps in the progress of different groups of pupils (e.g. disadvantaged vs non-disadvantaged)
Phonics and Reading Schemes Used In EYFS and Key Stage 1
What is phonics?
Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:
- Recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
- Identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make - such as 'ch' or 'ng'; and
- Blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.
Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.
Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7.
Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment. Children who have been taught phonics also tend to read more accurately than those taught using other methods, such as ‘look and say’. This includes children who find learning to read difficult, for example those who have dyslexia.
How do we teach phonics?
At Belmont, we follow a fully resourced Systematic Synthetic Phonics Programme called 'Rocket Phonics', which enables children to learn how to read and write. Teachers use a combination of digital and printed resources, along with a fully matched series of decodable reading books. There is also an online platform, meaning that books and resources can be assigned digitally, to be used at home.
The Rocket Phonics lessons follow a Review, Teach, Practice and Apply format. Lessons last 30 mins and are taught daily. By the end of Reception, children who are working at Age Related Expectations will have been taught all the sounds and Common Exception Words in Set 1, and they will have completed Practice Books 1, 2 and 3, and they should be reading a yellow or yellow plus coloured book.
By the end of Year 1, children who are working at Age Related Expectations will have been taught all the sounds and Common Exception Words in Set 2, and they will have completed Practice Books 4, 5 and 6, and they should be reading an Orange coloured book.
In Year 2, children working at Age Related Expectations should now know all of alphabetic code, so no new sounds are introduced, but decoding strategies are still revised and referred to frequently, as a means to decode new and unknown words.
This short video for parents, carers and families explains what the English alphabetic code is and how we teach it through the Rocket Phonics SSP programme.
Rocket Phonics Parent Guide
Please click on the link below to view the Rocket Phonics Parent Guide. This useful document contains lots of advice about how to support your child with their reading at home.
How we teach Reading at Belmont School
In KS1 and KS2, children will have opportunities to read frequently during whole class English lessons. This may involve reading together as a class from the board or reading/sharing a range of texts.
In Reception, towards the end of the school year, children participate in shared/group reading activities to prepare them for guided reading in KS1.
Whole class Reading – Year 1 to Year6
The intention of this is to expand pupils' vocabulary and deepen their understanding of the texts they are reading. We do this through re-reading sections looking closely at the elements which require further understanding, keeping in mind that children must learn to retrieve information (R), interpret meaning (I) and comment on the author's choice of vocabulary or style (C). Questions check pupils' understanding of previous extracts as well as the current text in order to enhance their memory.
In EYFS and KS1 children read independently (often with an adult) on a frequent basis. In key stage 2, children who need more individual support will receive help on a one to one or small group basis.
In Key Stage One and EYFS, children access banded reading books, which includes a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts.
At the start of the school year, your child’s class teacher and the Learning and Achievement Leader will have informed you about classroom routines for each class in regards to reading books/reading home learning activities.
We emphasise the need for parents to take an active role in their child’s education, supporting the developing reader and encouraging open lines of communication through reading logs that must be completed online using the Microsoft My Teams portal.
The Literacy Tree for Parents/Carers
Throughout the school, from Reception to Year 6, we use Literacy Tree for our teaching of English. Literacy Tree is used across the UK and globally and is an award-winning educational platform. All the Literacy Tree resources use high-quality children’s books and for Writing, we follow their Teach Through a Text approach to ensure there is consistency throughout the school.
It also supports to create high levels of engagement as it immerses children in the text whilst covering the objectives fully in the curriculum. The text choices are an important part of this as well - many link to aspects of History and/or encourage deep discussions. We pride ourselves on our diverse choices.