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Our Approach to the Teaching of Reading and Phonics

At Blundeston CEVC Primary School we aim to foster a "habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information" in all our children, regardless of ability or gender (DfE). We believe our English curriculum, including our phonics and reading provision, fully equips our children to achieve this goal throughout their time with us.  Our recently refurbished library has provided us with a fantastic space and resource to support this aim.

All classes have the opportunity to hear and study a wide range of longer stories from our rich and varied literary history which are appropriate to their age group.  We are proud of the range of literature our curriculum exposes the pupils to; from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales in Early Years to Shakespeare’s Macbeth in Year 6.

Phonics is taught through discrete daily sessions from Reception to Year 2 and in KS2 regular sessions are delivered where a need is identified.  The school follows the “Letters and Sounds” systematic synthetic phonics phased scheme, as well as a number of other resources which make learning phonics as fun and memorable as possible for our children.  In Reception, children learn individual letter sounds and how to blend and segment them.  During Years 1 and 2, children learn sounds represented by two or more letters, e.g. ch, igh.  

We are aware that learning to read phonetically is only one of the possible strategies that children may use, so alongside the delivery of phonics we also teach pupils to use a range of other approaches.  For example, in Early Years and Key Stage 1, methods include reading a range of non-decodable keywords on sight and using contextual clues.  In Key Stage 2, pupils are taught a continually developing understanding of the grammatical rules within the English language.

All children in the school have a weekly teacher-led guided reading session in which skills beyond decoding are studied, including inference and deduction and writers' craft.  In Key Stage 1, the children have access, but are not limited, to ability banded books from a variety of schemes. They include books from:-

1. Oxford Reading Tree
2. Collins Big Cat Phonics
3. Songbird
4. Dandelion Readers
5. Rigby Star
6. Read Write Inc Phonics
7. Lighthouse
8. Dockside
9. Project X

In Key Stage 2, children read texts of their choice or from banded reading schemes which have been extended to include books at an age appropriate level.  We actively encourage children to read appropriate books from home and all children are required to share these books with their parents at home, in order to develop their decoding and comprehension skills.