At St George’s we believe in developing a reading culture throughout the school by creating welcoming book areas in classrooms, a school library hosting a variety of books, and raising the profile of reading through a print rich environment, attractive book displays and promoting the written word at all times.
In the Early Years and Key Stage One the children are taught to read using the Read, Write Inc. Phonics programme.
Read, Write Inc. Phonics is a programme created by Ruth Miskin. Through discrete phonics lessons, children learn to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension. They learn to form each letter, spell correctly and compose their ideas step-by-step.
Throughout the programme, children learn the English alphabet code: the 150+ graphemes that represent 44 speech sounds. They rapidly learn sounds and the letter, or groups of letters, they need to represent them, in three sets of Speed Sounds Lessons. Simple and enjoyable mnemonics help all children to grasp the letter-sound correspondences quickly, especially those who are at risk of making slower progress or those who are new to learning English. This knowledge is taught and consolidated every day. High frequency words that are not phonetically regular are taught as ‘tricky’ words (we call them Red Words) and are practised frequently.
Lively phonic books are closely matched to children’s increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words so that, early on, they experience plenty of success. Repeated readings of the texts support their increasingly fluent decoding.
Phonics is taught daily in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. The children receive a 30 minute discreet phonics lesson, and are often placed in ability groups across their year group for this lesson. Assessments are made termly and pupils are moved group depending on their scores.
In year 1 pupils take part in the statutory phonics assessment in June. This assesses their knowledge of phonics by reading words, either real of made up. Typically children need to score 32 out of 40 in order to pass the test. Any pupil who does not receive the pass grade will have further ‘catch-up’ lessons in Year 2 and resit the test again at the end of year 2. Parent information sessions are held throughout Year 1 to help you support your child with phonics at home.
As children become more fluent in their reading and progress throughout the school they then are able to join our Accelerated Reader programme. Accelerated Reader monitors and tracks the progress of pupils reading. It helps us to assess pupils reading level, suggest titles of books at that level, and then assess the pupils’ comprehension of the book by asking a series of quiz questions. Pupils take the quizzes using IPad’s in the classrooms and enjoy sharing the feedback they receive. Each week we celebrate they class who have passed the most quizzes and the class who have earned the most points, points are earned by taking quizzes even if you don’t pass them.
We encourage parents to use AR Bookfinder to help pupils identify which book they would like to read next. AR Bookfinder is an online tool which checks if ANY published book is on the Accelerated Reader scheme and, if it is, what level the book is. It is a very useful tool to help parents select the most appropriate books for their child if going to the library or book shop.