At the Annunciation we strive to create a reading culture where reading is prioritised, valued and celebrated and to ensure that every child develops a passion for reading. We foster and nurture children’s early reading experiences and build on these foundations in order for them to enjoy and access their learning and the wider world around them.
Our aim is that every child learns to read skilfully with increased fluency and speed, enabling automaticity and an enjoyment of books. Through immersion in the wonders of quality texts, we establish an appreciation and love of reading, enabling knowledge acquisition across the curriculum and develop higher order reading skills.
At the Annunciation we are committed to all pupils developing confidence in phonics, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. Our phonics teaching starts in nursery and follows a very specific sequence that allows our children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies as they move through school. In the nursery, children follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised ‘Foundations for Phonics’ guidance. The focus is on daily oral blending and language development through high quality stories and rhymes. In reception and year 1, children follow the progression within Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme. Phonics is taught daily and there is a review session on a Friday. In year 2, phonic lessons are taught daily to children where appropriate – following the model of Little Wandle but plugging specific gaps identified through assessment.
The structure and pace of the lessons allow participation of every child, develops their decoding skills, as well as their comprehension and love of reading. Pupils are exposed to a wide variety of texts throughout their reading journey and have the opportunity to complete a variety of activities which not only develop their ability to read words and sentences when they start to read, but also to understand and analyse what they have read. Pupils at the early stages of reading are supported by decodable reading books, that are closely matched to meet individual needs.
As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At the Annunciation, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.
We value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, they read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose. Because we believe teaching every child to read is so important, we have a Reading Leader who drives the early reading programme in our school. This person is highly skilled at teaching phonics and reading, and they monitor and support our reading team, so everyone teaches with fidelity to the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme. Alongside the phonics programme, pupils who start in Reception and KS1 are exposed to a wide variety of stories and texts in class, linked to different areas of learning.
As pupils progress through the Reading Curriculum, explicit links and connections are made to support pupils to continually build upon the knowledge and skills they have accumulated in previous year groups. Pupils use many genres of text to develop their skills and are taught the different features of fiction and non-fiction, poetry and a variety of text types to encourage the reader within them to become a secure writer.
As pupils develop a secure understanding and ability to independently apply their reading skills, they are further encouraged to read across the Key Stage 2 curriculum applying what they have learned to further enrich their knowledge and understanding. Pupils enjoy engaging in story time and reading conversations throughout the school week, actively engaging in discussions centred around authors, genres, preferences and opinions. They have access to the library where they are able to read in comfort, in a relaxed environment to enable that love of reading to develop.
As a school, we enrich our pupil’s love of reading in many different ways. We introduce every new book with a WOW moment where children are hooked into their new book. These moments are created to excite the children and provide an irresistible introduction into their new text. Wow moments so far have included chocolate making to introduce ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and digging to find treasure to introduce the book ‘Holes’. Children are encouraged to read in a variety of ways such as listening to audio books and each class has a warm, welcoming reading corner which ensures there is a wide range of literature for the children to explore – from newspapers to comics and the rich texts of Shakespeare.
The library is open to pupils at lunchtimes and class library sessions are timetabled throughout the week. Library monitors are appointed and monitor the loaning of books to ensure that all pupils have access to high quality texts and are reading regularly. Each year we have a book fair that allows pupils to explore even more books. We also celebrate ‘World Book Day’ so that pupils get an opportunity to read to others or be read to no matter what age in order to simply enjoy reading. We also hold Parent Reading events where parents can come in and read traditional stories from their childhoods to our pupils. We host annual Reading Workshops to further support children’s reading at home.
In Key Stage Two, pupils continue their reading journey applying the reading skills learned in KS1. They become increasingly familiar with a range of texts including poetry, fiction and non- fiction. They develop their comprehension skills drawing on their linguistic knowledge (vocabulary and grammar) and their knowledge of the world. Pupils continue to take part in ‘Whole Class Reading’ and Guided Reading lessons linked to the core text where explanations, modelling, questioning and feedback skills are practised.