Reading and Phonics
At Ark Oval Primary we use the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme to get children off to a flying start with their reading and writing. RWI is a method of learning based on letter sounds, and we use it to aid children in their early reading and writing.
Using RWI, children learn to read quickly and accurately. It also allows them to spell effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into composing what they write.
When using RWI to read the children will:
- learn that sounds are represented by written letters
- learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts
- learn how to blend sounds
- learn to read words using ‘Fred’ Talk – a frog who can only speak in sounds!
- read lively stories and non-fiction books featuring words they have learned to 'Fred talk'
- learn to read fluently using their 'talking voice.'
- show that they are beginning to understand the stories by answering questions
When using RWI to write the children will:
- learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent 44 sounds.
- learn to write words by saying the sounds in ‘Fred Talk’
- write simple sentences
Most children will complete the phonics programme by the end of Autumn term in Year 2, and will begin a new programme called 'Speedy Readers.' The focus of this programme is to develop fluency for reading through fast-paced activities, allowing their mind to be free to focus on understanding what they read (see 'Reading' section below).
Children across the school who need phonic support continue to receive this daily until they have completed the RWI programme and are confident in decoding.
Click on this link to watch a video on how to pronounce the sounds: https://youtu.be/TkXcabDUg7Q
Online phonics lessons
Click on this link to watch phonics lessons on our YouTube channel: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLk1TAPJ2DJXxxpIirHqgnQ3ZOMxBMtm0M
Useful resources for parents and carers
Phonics Screening Check Parent Meeting 2023.ppt
Phonics terminology explained.docx
Reception Parents Workshop Oct 2022.pptx
RWI guidance for YR parents updated.docx
What the phonics reading book colours mean.docx
Websites for further phonics learning
“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or a duty. It should be presented as a gift.”
Our Reading Offer
Reading opens the door to learning. A child who reads a lot will become a good reader. A good reader will be able to read more challenging material. A child who reads challenging material is a child who will learn.
Our vision is that every child at Ark Oval becomes a lifelong reader, not only for academic success, but for enjoyment. We balance teaching daily reading lessons with weekly library visits for every class and daily 'Drop Everything and Read' time, so that pupils have the opportunity to feel the joy that can be gained from choosing their own books to read.
Our aim is for Ark Oval Pupils to leave school with the skills and behaviours needed to be an independent, mature and critical reader:
- Enjoy reading extended and more challenging texts across a variety of genres (modern fiction, poetry, classics, non-fiction, newspapers, etc)
- Use reading to access the wider curriculum as well as further their knowledge of local and global issues
- Think critically and question what they read
- Develop preferences and opinions on what they read, and be able to speak knowledgably about what they have read
Once pupils have completed the phonics programme, they follow the English Mastery programme in Y3-6 to develop key reading skills and knowledge with a core text at the heart of learning, which changes each half term. Pupils in Reception focus on 1 core book per week, and Y1 pupils study 2 books in a half term. We carefully select books which contain challenging vocabulary, are narrativel engaging and represent a diverse range of characters and authors. Please click on the link below to see our full list of core books in each year group by term.
The skills pupils learn in English Mastery are:
- Learning challenging vocabulary from the book and how to use it across a range of contexts
- Fluency skills, and how this aids understanding
- Comprehension skills (predicting, retrieving, summarising, making inferences)
- Higher order thinking skills: pupils are posed a philosophical question at the beginning of every unit of work, which they gather evidence to answer using the book and their own experiences. For example, ‘Is it ever OK to steal?
We adopt a 3 step'laddered' approach to learning the above skills:
Practice - Pupils complete a basic task based on the fundamental skill being learnt
Apply - Pupils apply the new skill in context
Challenge - Stretches pupils to think more deeply about the skill they have learnt, for example by answering an open ended question
Using this approach, all pupils can access the learning and feel successful, regardless of their reading abilities. We have high expectations for all of our pupils and believe that no child's learning should be capped. As such, everyone has the opportunity to complete all 3 stages of the learning, every lesson.
Library and Home Reading
"Children will not learn to love to read on a diet of prescribed books."
Reading for enjoyment is a high priority in our school. Every class visits the library once a week in which they have the opportunity to browse and select a book from our well-stocked selection, and sit in our cosy seating area with a soft toy if they wish! Pupils are encouraged to select books that match their current reading stage of development whilst also allowing plenty of choice. We listen to pupils when they tell us what books they enjoy and want more of, and regularly re-stock to reflect childrens' interests. We have a wide range of modern and classic fiction, non-fiction books, newspapers & magazines, and poetry. We also have many stories from around the world and dual language books to reflect our diverse community.
Banded books and bookbags
All pupils have a clear plastic bookbag to keep all of their reading materials in:
- Library Book
- Reading level book (a Read Write Inc Phonics book which matches their current phonics level, or a Collins Big Cat book which matches their reading age)
Read Write Inc Phonics book colour bands can be found here: What the phonics reading book colours mean.docx
Collins Big Cat books and corresponding reading ages can be found here: Collins Big Cat Book Bands.pdf
The above books should be read by your child daily, to build reading confidence and fluency. Repeated reading is encouraged too!
-'Read the Rainbow' bookmark
Pupils are encouraged to record their reading on their 'Read the Rainbow' bookmark. Once they read 20 times, they receive a 'Superstar Reader' sticker and move on to the next colour bookmark. Completed bookmarks are displayed and celebrated within our classrooms. Once pupils complete their violet bookmark, they receive a prize for their efforts.
Every Friday night is 'Library Night' in which children and their families are invited to attend the library and share books together. School staff are on hand to offer advice about reading and developing good reading habits at home, as well as a storytime session at the end led by one of our enthusiastic teachers! Every child who attends their year group's library night will also be entered into a free raffle. At the end of the session there will be one lucky winner who can choose a high quality book from a selection to take home.
Please check the school calendar to see when your child's next Library Night is.
Each class in the school is represented by 2 Junior Librarians. These pupils are role models for reading in their class. Their duties include:
- Acting as a role model to promote reading in their class
- Supporting their classmates to choose a book during their weekly library visit
- Helping to keep the library tidy and well-organised
- Feeding back to school staff about what books they and their friends would like to see in the library
- Helping at weekly Library Nights after school
Donations to our library are very welcome. If you have any children's books in good condition that are no longer needed, please bring them to the school office.
Parent workshops and support
We have delivered several workshops dedicated to supporting parents with their child’s reading at home. Please click on the documents below to view them.
Reading and phonics workshop for parents Jan 2023.pptx
Early Reading Workshop January 2020.pptx
Recommended books for story time YR-Y2.docx
Building Fluency with your child.docx
Building Comprehension Skills with your child.docx
IOB - How to work out meanings of new words.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVraNWFZ0XO_BsszfyqNYXQ - Our YouTube channel, which features lots of books read aloud by our teachers!
https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/ - Log in using your child's login and password for access to assigned decodable RWI phonics books (for pupils on our phonics programme) and 500+ free ebooks for pupils who have mastered phonics. Please speak to your child's teacher if you do not have a login.
https://home.oxfordowl.co.uk/books/free-ebooks/ - Free online books for children aged 3-11
https://www.booktrust.org.uk/books-and-reading/have-some-fun/storybooks-... Interactive online books and videos - well-known and well-loved titles
https://www.croydon.gov.uk/libraries-leisure-and-culture/libraries - Find your nearest Croydon library and become a member for free