At Wheatley, we see reading as a key enabler for learning. Research evidence shows that children who learn to read fluently and with understanding are at an advantage when it comes to future learning. Therefore, our reading curriculum is based on the following intent and principles:
Starting with sharing books at every opportunity, Early Years begin teaching phonic skills through Rocket Phonics, which continues into KS1. Reading Planet Rocket Phonics is a DfE validated SSP programme aligned to Letters and Sounds 2007. Its value is to help every child to keep up and not catch-up. It is a programme that has a steady pace and progression, whole-class teaching and consistent daily phonics practise, as well as reading and writing to gradually build children’s confidence. It is taught through original illustrated stories to develop phonics skills and a love of reading and aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right along with preparing them for learning to read by developing phonic knowledge and skills, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.
Educational research points to the crucial importance of direct instruction in phonics for developing pupils’ reading ability. However, in early literacy, a varied approach is required so at Wheatley we include activities that aim to develop letter knowledge and early phonics, storytelling and reading to the group. This builds children’s skills to begin their journey to becoming fluent independent readers.
Once children have grasped the basics of reading through our systematic synthetic phonics teaching, we focus on ensuring they have the skills required to promote a lifelong interest in reading. Real reading is about more than decoding words on a page and requires varied skills of phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.
Children in Key Stage 1 and 2 have daily whole class reading sessions where these skills are taught using a range of strategies.
Reading VIPERS is a range of prompts based on the reading content domains found in the National Curriculum test framework documents. Teachers integrate explicit teaching of these skills in to each of their daily reading sessions.
To find out more about each of the VIPERS skills, please click on the document below.
At Wheatley, reading is about much more than teaching children skills for future academic learning. We carefully consider the strategies that will encourage children to read for pleasure and experience, rather than 'because they have to'.
A reading child is, quite simply, a successful child. When you read often and with enthusiasm, you lay the foundations that last for life. You empathise and access information more easily. Almost by osmosis you internalise the essential skills of spelling, grammar and vocabulary. You learn to express yourself verbally and in writing. You learn to interpret and potentially change your world.
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Our Wheatley reading bugs are an integral part of our school
Each class has their own bug which chooses books to recommend to the class. The bug hides in the classroom and sometimes all over the school, to engage the children in finding and sharing books.
The children visit our school library regularly and are encouraged to borrow books to take home. Each time they do so they can choose a bookmark to keep. There are 25 to collect!
Children can also choose to visit the library at lunchtimes to read quietly or exchange their books.
On days such as World Book Day we set aside the timetable and really celebrate books and this year was no different. This year we chose to dress up as our favourite characters, in KS1, from fairy stories and in KS2 from adventure stories and engage in all sorts of wonderful book based activities. Every class focused their learning around creating, learning and experiencing – characters were made in all sorts of ways. Stories were read, retold, riddled and acted out. Books became the focus for dens, book paths and secret messaging. The whole school took part in a competition to create a scene from their favourite book in a shoe box! The results were amazing.
If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.” – J.K Rowling