Reading and Phonics
Reading underpins the ability to learn effectiveley in many areas of the curriculum, which is why at Rogate we have made it a key area for improvement. We have made improvements recently in order to ensure our pupils not only make good progress in reading but that they also develop a love of reading that will remain with them throughout their acadmeic career and on into adulthood.
Star Early Literacy and Accelerated Reader
Accelerated Reader is an online programme which supports learners and teachers.
As emerging readers reception and year 1 pupils are first introduced to Star Early Literacy. This consolidates the work they are doing in their phonics sessions and also develops their understanding of language.
As pupils become more confident they will move onto Accelerated Reader. At this point they will begin taking regular (once a half term) diagnostic tests. These tests will determine the pupils understanding of language and comprehension in short pieces which they will read on a screen and then answer questions about. The test is 'intelligent'. This means that the the questions will become more difficult if the pupil answers well or slightly easier if the pupil is struggling and ensures that no pupil is set up to fail. By the end of the test the programme will have accurately determined the level of reading material which the pupil is able to comprehend.
The child will then be given a recommended reading range eg: 2.5-3.7. These numbers relate to numbers that the pupils will find on the spines of the books in the library. They will be told that they can only take books out of the library with numbers on that fall within their reading range. They will then take these books home and read them either independently or with a family member. When the pupil brings the book back in, they may take an Accelerated Reading Test. These are different to the diagnostic tests mentioned earlier as they test the pupil on their knowledge and understanding of the particular book they have just read. At the end of the test, the pupil will find out how they have done and how many points they have been awarded for reading that book (the longer the book, the more points they will gain).
While these tests do not provide data as the diagnostic tests do, teachers have found the records of these tests to be useful in tracking pupils who may not be reading as often as they should be. The staff can then respond by giving these pupils opportunities to read and test in school.
Staff are also about to receive training on the teaching of reading skills across the curriculum. This will change the way we deliver guided reading. We will share details of these changes as they happen. Watch this space!
There has been a huge shift in the past few year in how we teach reading in UK schools. This is having a big impact and helping many children learn to read and spell. Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them learn to read. It runs alongside other teaching methods such as Guided Reading and Shared Reading to help children develop all the other vital reading skills and hopefully give them a real love of reading.
The school has recently sent the staff from both Squirrels and Foxes on Read, Write, Ink training. Read, Write, Ink can be used as an entire literacy scheme for children usually between the ages of 4 and 7 although some pupils may find accessing the catch up scheme at a later age helpful. As a school we have invested completely in the phonics programme and we will be exploring the possibility of using some of the writing resources over the course of the year.
If you are a parent and you would like to support your child with their phonics, the Read, Write, Ink website has helpful parent tutorials and advice which you may find useful.
We, as a school, will also be providing parent and volunteer reader workshops later in the year.