Reading at Ferham Primary School
At Ferham Primary school, reading takes the highest of priorities. Having a large proportion of children (and parents) who are either new to English or have EAL means that we must teach our children to read at a rapid rate. Enabling our children to become confident, fluent readers means that they are able to access the reading which underpins our curriculum. We strive to ensure each child acquires a love for reading so that upon leaving Ferham Primary, they take with favourite authors and book types in order that they become life-long readers.
We are dedicated to empowering our children to become confident readers as well as confident citizens within our society and therefore our reading curriculum reflects our unique and diverse community. We carefully choose texts, authors and illustrators who offer positive role models to all our children.
Our reading curriculum is carefully structured to enable our pupils to develop as independent readers who can:
use phonic strategies to decode new words
benefit from a wide reading diet including fiction and non-fiction, poetry, plays, graphic novels and songs which develop their fluency and expands their vocabulary, empathy and experience of the world
read fluently and at length
be confident in choosing a book or text that interests them
develop preferences for particular writers such as Smriti Halls, Kes Gray, Sue Hendra, Alex T Smith, Vanessa Harbour and Onjali Rauf and styles such as non-fiction, science-fiction and graphic novels.
meet age-related expectations as they develop as more experienced readers through school
appreciate a range of traditional and contemporary texts from around the world.
be active readers who can articulate their own preferences, ideas and make recommendations
To achieve this, we embed phonics first decoding as the number one strategy to decode new/unfamiliar words from F1 to Y6. Reading comprehension is developed using our Ferham Reading Comprehension Progression Grid which is based on the reading domains from the National Curriculum.
The teaching of reading differs across school, depending on the year group, but always with the same mission: learn the alphabet, crack the phonics code, love books.
In F1 the children are exposed to early phonic skills such as environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body percussion, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration and oral blending and segmenting. Any children who are new to school in F2 or who are not working at age related access an Early Phonics Booster group to ensure they cover these vital skills needed in preparation for more formal phonics.
Songs and rhymes are used daily in EYFS. Ferham has a set of core rhymes which cover Nursery rhymes, traditional rhymes, action rhymes, finger rhymes and number rhymes. Each class also has a 'Super Six' which the children are encouraged to become familiar with. In addition to this, new songs and rhymes are introduced linked to the themes covered in each class. Children are introduced to the letter sounds during the Summer Term of F1.
All children in EYFS take part in a daily book vote. Adults provide an overview of each book and at the start of the year model how they choose a book. As children gain confidence, they are then asked to do the same.
Both Nursery and F2 have a selection of books which are revisited weekly. The children are encouraged to join in with the repetitive nature of these books and retell the stories. Each week in EYFS is centred around a high-quality text linked to the current theme. These are read daily to promote book skills, to introduce and revisit key vocabulary, to develop the children's comprehension and to encourage discussion. These books are also used to develop the children's understanding of emotions and social skills.
Our children are encouraged to recognise print in their environment and familiar logos, signs and labels are displayed in both classes.
In KS1, children are taught decoding skills through daily phonics lessons. These lessons include the reading of words and books. Reading comprehension skills are taught through these texts as part of the Read Write Inc programme. Once a child has completed the phonics programme, they will move onto whole class reading.
Whole class reading is carefully structured to ensure a balanced reading diet and increasing fluency and comprehension skills with common features across the school
explicit vocabulary Instruction (using the techniques of Isobel Beck)
reading text and exploring through book chat and/or drama
repeated reading AND collaborative comprehension practice based on domains from NC and “stay in the story” questions
independent comprehension tasks
Whole class reading learning is supported by a working wall which contains relevant vocabulary and child-friendly definitions. See example below.
We also read full novels in Whole Class Reading which are carefully selected for their excellence, representation and variation; some link to History or Geography learning, providing hinterland subject knowledge. These books form our Ferham Canon.
Daily 1:1 fluency development sessions are provided to accelerate the progress of targeted children’s reading so that every child can reach their full potential including those with SEND and EAL. Any child who is not meeting ARE in phonics or reading is supported to practice daily in these additional sessions to boost phonics application and/or fluency.
KS1 and 2 Book Club
In addition to daily phonics or whole class reading and 1:1 booster where necessary, our pupils enjoy dedicated reading time daily which we call Book Club. In Book Club, some children prefer to read alone and step back into the world of the book they are reading while others enjoy reading together in a social environment where they share books and talk about books and reading. The social element of Book Club is enhanced by selected texts called “Great to Share” which includes joke books, atlases, irreverent picture books and lift-the-flap books. Book Club is also a good time to recommend books to peers; each class has their own chosen system for recommending books.
KS2 Book World Cup
Throughout the school, we encourage pupils to choose the book that will be read to them. In EYFS and KS1, pupils usually vote daily and in KS2, where books are longer, children vote as part of a Book World Cup.
We also make full use of monthly online author events to make authors and illustrators real to our pupils and generate enthusiasm.
If children are on the Read Write Inc programme, they take a phonics book home to practice reading books which are carefully matched to their phonics knowledge. Children who have cracked the phonics code choose from a wide range of quality books to enjoy at home.
Each week, our KS1 & 2 classes take it in turn to visit our local library. These visits are a firm favourite in school and instil habits for later in life.
We ascertain impact using assessment in three forms: assessment for learning; assessment as learning; and assessment of learning.
In reading, assessment for learning is continuous as teachers adapt their teaching according to learners’ needs. This may include the use of techniques such as echo reading or choral reading and reminders of phonics i.e. Special Friends and Fred Talk or sound mats.
In reading, assessment as learning is the start of every lesson as pupils recap new vocabulary and definitions. Pupils also collaborate to respond to comprehension questions and “staying in the story” questions during Whole Class Reading.
In reading, assessment of learning takes several forms at Ferham: phonic acquisition is reviewed every six weeks for all pupils who attend daily phonics lessons through school; fluency is practiced daily and measured termly; and comprehension is measured against ARE in termly standardised tests.
SEND children who have difficulty in reading typically make slower progress than their peers. This is closely monitored by the SENDCo and provision is tailored to support this. Their attainment and progress are tracked using Birmingham Toolkit.
Parents and carers receive information about their child’s progression in reading after standardised testing each term and also at the end of each academic year through their end of year reports.