We have a connected approach to learning at Rhyl. The various areas within English are taught in conjunction with each other, through a thematic and meaningful approach. Oracy is key to our curriculum and children are taught to voice their ideas, get involved in discussion and debate as well as join in with drama and role play. We develop a love of reading and reading for pleasure as well as a stimulus for vocabulary development and writing. Children read and are read to daily and writing is taught through a key text which is supported by a number of other reading materials. We use “Little Wandle Letters and Sounds” as our Systematic Synthetic Phonics Scheme. We timetable whole class and small focus group sessions to meet the individual needs of our children from Reception to Y6. Writing is purposeful, and built upon over time to result in a high quality outcome connected to their themed learning for the term.
Talking is a key part of our curricular experiences and we encourage children to use language and communication in a purposeful and clear way, appropriate for different occasions and which invites responsive listening. Talk Partners are a part of all our lessons and children practice their speaking and listening skills in lessons as well as through drama and role play. Children have many opportunities to listen carefully to stories and discussion and to respond in different ways. We foster an ability to respect and respond to the views of other children and adults in an appropriate way.
Early Reading and Phonics
At Rhyl Community Primary School, we teach early reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Nursery/Reception and ensure that children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.
Foundations for Phonics in Nursery
We provide a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for ‘Communication and language’ and ‘Literacy’.
- sharing high-quality stories and poems
- learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes
- activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending
- attention to high-quality language
We ensure Nursery children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception.
Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1
- We teach phonics in sessions which might be split into two short chunks and the length of the sessions gradually build up to 30 minutes a day.
- Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
- Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy
Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read
- Any child who needs additional practice has focused Keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult.
- We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 or 3 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics Screening Check.
- If any child in Year 3 to 6 has gaps in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing, we plan regular phonics ‘catch-up’ lessons to address specific reading/writing gaps.
We teach children to read through reading practice sessions at least twice a week.
- are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children
- use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge
- are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis
Each reading practice session has a clear skills focus.
Children take home books which include a phonics focus in order for them to practice and ensure success is shared with the family. Reading books for pleasure also go home for parents to share and read to children.
Ensuring reading for pleasure
‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)
We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.
We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at Rhyl Community Primary School and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures. Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We talk about books to entice children to read a wide range.
Children from Nursery/Reception onwards have a home reading record. The parent or carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school.
We recognise that parents are the child’s first teacher so we ensure that we provide support for parents so that they can help their child at home with phonics and reading. We run regular parents sessions in Reception and Year One to support families and workshops for parents and children throughout the year targeted at different year groups
Reading is a key skill and we want children to have a love of books as well as to become fluent and lifelong readers.
We actively involve parents and carers to engage in reading with their children, both at home and at school, through enjoying and sharing books together. We have a wide range of quality resources and texts to support children’s reading. Reading is taught every day through guided reading and lessons in each class, developing comprehension skills is a key focus once children have developed fluency. Story time is a key element of the day across the school,we aim to teach children an appreciation of a wide range of literature through these sessions. We promote a love of books by modelling our appreciation, staff and children make regular book recommendations. We encourage parents to read or talk about books in school so if you would like to get involved please speak to the Deputy Head Teachers or the Literacy Leader. We use Collins Big Cat reading books to teach children to read. Through these, we ensure that children have the opportunity to practice and apply the phonics code that they learn in direct teaching sessions.
In EYFS we know that our children will benefit from being surrounded by a language rich environment that will support all their communication skills.
Our intent is:
- To develop a love of stories, rhymes and songs.
- To develop a curiosity about books and the written word.
- To teach that print carries meaning, how to handle books and that we read texts from left to right.
- To provide a print rich environment and a wealth of opportunities for children to read in adult guided, as well as independent, reading activities, both indoors and outside.To foster an awareness with parents of opportunities for reading, sharing rhymes and songs, and the importance of talk.
- To teach an awareness of sounds and alliteration in Nursery through listening games and we ensure that children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme- phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception.
- To teach children to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy in Reception.
- To provide guidance for parents so they are able to support their own child’s phonics learning
We know that it can be challenging for children to develop the key skills that will enable them to become fluent readers, so this is a prime focus for us.
Our intent is:
- To nurture a passion for books
- To develop a growing ability to make sense of what they read, drawing on illustration, their knowledge of language and the world as well as the words on the page.
- To review the Phase 3 and 4 GPCs and teach the the Phase 5 GPCs so that children can read and spell words with fluency and accuracy
- To provide guidance for parents so they are able to support their own child’s phonics learning.
- To develop reflection, so they can self-correct and respond personally to what they have read, making links to prior knowledge and express likes and dislikes with reasons for their views.
Our pupils begin KS2 with a developing knowledge of the skills they can use to help them read. Developing fluency and independence underpins our provision.
Our intent is:
- To develop children’s reading stamina so that they can read for longer periods and cope with more demanding texts.
- To develop children’s ability to infer meaning by “reading between the lines”.
- To nurture an interest in a range of reading material so that they are able to make recommendations and justify their ideas.
- To develop critical awareness as a reader, analysing how the writer creates meanings and effects through their use of language, form and structure.
- To develop an appreciation of how techniques and devices achieve the effects they do.
- To ensure that any child who has gaps in their phonics knowledge when reading or writing has phonics “catch up” to address specific reading / writing gaps.
We teach phonics using the “Wandle Little Letters and Sounds” scheme of work. Phonics teaching starts in Nursery and continues until the children are secure in applying their skills to reading and writing. Daily lessons focus on consolidating and developing the bank of phonics knowledge that children need in order to read and write with confidence and fluency. “Keep Up” lessons are used at pace to support children in Years 2 and 3. “Catch up”sessions are used to support children in Y3 to 6 to address specific reading / writing gaps. Early readers are identified, targeted support is put in place and progress is monitored to ensure that the gaps are narrowed.
From when children start school, we encourage them to have a go at writing and they learn, through highly differentiated teaching, to be able to write using Standard English. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are taught through writing and children learn to write for a range of different purposes.
At Rhyl we know that children who have a broad vocabulary have greater ability to express themselves in conversation as well as their writing . Throughout the school, we have a focus on subject specific vocabulary. We teach the key words that will help the children to talk about their current learning and deepen their understanding.
We know that children are at the beginning of their journey as a writer so our focus is on helping children to understand the purpose of mark making and early writing.
Our intent is:
- To provide an environment which stimulates are awareness of written as well as spoken language.
- To teach children that their marks, which evolve into letters and words, have meaning which are understood by others.
Our children enter KS1 with a positive attitude towards writing as a purposeful tool so our focus is on providing engaging and challenging opportunities to develop writing stamina.
Our intent is:
- To teach children to write using their phonics skills, common exception words and to use simple punctuation.
- To develop positive attitudes towards writing so they are able to make simple additions, revisions and corrections to their work.
Our pupils begin KS2 with the ability to apply their phonics skills and an understanding of sentences; they are beginning to write with increasing stamina. Our priority in KS2 is to ensure that our pupils have the written and oral skills to succeed in secondary school.
Our intent is:
- To teach spelling patterns and a handwriting style which allows them to write with legibility, fluency and increasing speed.
- To ensure children have mastery of skills so that they are able to focus on composition in their work as they prepare for secondary school.
- To provide literary models which impact on their own flair and support their writing maturity, and which allow them to evaluate and edit so their writing is effective
- To nurture pupils to be fluent writers who have the confidence to write for any purpose.
At Rhyl we recognise that children learn to read and then they read to learn, therefore reading practice is the most valuable homework.
For beginner and early readers we recommend that children have a shared reading for pleasure experience every evening where an adult or older sibling reads or retells a story. Children are provided these books from the library.
Children also have a colour-banded book which matches their current reading level. Please discuss with the class teacher how to get the most out of reading these levelled books with your child or attend one of our weekly workshops.
As children develop their skills, gain confidence and gradually develop stamina, they will bring home books of an increasing level of challenge from the library. Please talk to the class teacher about reading expectations for your own child.
We encourage children to deepen as well as broaden their reading preferences so we have devised or own scheme called the Rhyl Reading Road Map. Through following this map, children have opportunities to read books on similar themes and develop their knowledge of the genre. Children can progress along the map route as they read and can collect stickers as they go, children are expected to present book recommendations in order to qualify for Bronze, Silver , Gold and Platinum certificates. Once they have explored different titles on their chosen route, we encourage them to try a new genre.
Phonics, spelling and grammar may also be a focus for homework when it is appropriate for the class or individual.
At Rhyl we strive to ensure that parents and carers are involved with their child’s education. Families in EYFS and KS1 are invited to weekly workshops that support the teaching of reading and our use of the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds phonics scheme. Please speak to the class teacher, Early Reading Leader or the Literacy Leader to find out more about how to support your child’s reading skills and to develop their reading for pleasure.