Reading & Phonics

Reading at Victoria Lane Academy

Victoria Lane Academy is determined that every child will learn to read, regardless of background, needs or abilities. We want our children to be fluent, confident readers. They will be exposed to a wealth of stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction to develop their vocabulary, comprehension and engender a genuine love of reading and a keen interest in a range of texts. We work to inspire them to become life-long readers who enjoy books and have a desire to read for pleasure.

In order for the children to have the will to read, and be able to read to learn, they need to have secure skills in reading so that they can read with fluency and comprehension. Reading is at the heart of our whole curriculum underpinning every subject area. We want every child to read widely, and to gain a rich knowledge across the curriculum.

By offering a wide range of texts we aim to broaden their minds and experiences to allow them to empathise with the world in which they live and support the development of their cultural capital. Reading is such an important life skill that it is imperative we enable them to become independent readers who can easily process information, fully engage in all learning and be well prepared for their next stage of their education.

Building on the foundations laid in the EYFS, by the end of KS1, children will be fluent at decoding, and by the age of 11, they:

  • Can read, and DO read
  • Understand the texts they read and take an active approach to reading
  • Understand the words they meet in their reading across all subjects
  • Can record their understanding of texts in a variety of forms
  • Can grasp the main points and ideas of what they read
  • Can retrieve detail and statements from what they have read
  • Can make sensitive, appropriate and justifiable inferences
  • Read non-fiction for pleasure and research

To help us reach these end goals, we have developed long-term plans for the texts pupils will access in their reading lessons and when reading for pleasure, alongside a carefully considered progression of skills that teachers use to inform their teaching and learning.

Long-Term Plans:

Progression of Skills

Early Reading 

We teach early reading through the systematic, synthetic phonics programme Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. Parents and carers can access the Little Wandle website for further information on how phonics will help your child to read and spell by clicking the link.

Right from the start of Reception children have a daily phonics lesson which follows the progression for Little Wandle Letters and Sounds and this continues in Year One to ensure children become fluent readers.

We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.

Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term. We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress.  Four new phonemes and their corresponding graphemes are taught (GPCs) each week and they are then used in the final lesson of the week to review the week’s learning. Children will also learn tricky words during these sessions. In the Autumn and Spring term, Reception learn phase 2 and phase 3 GPCs and then will spend the final term learning phase 4.

Year 1 begin the Autumn term with 3 weeks of revision of phases 2, 3 and 4 before learning phase 5, which will be completed by the end of the year. Year 2 children will begin the year by revisiting phase 5 and other previously taught phases to ensure all children are completely confident with applying these GPCs in both their reading and also their writing. Half termly assessments take place through Reception and Year 1 to help inform future teaching and help identify children who have gaps in their phonic knowledge and need additional practice. Daily assessment of learning also takes place within the classroom so staff can quickly identify any children who are in danger of falling behind and provide the appropriate daily ‘Keep Up’ intervention.

Reading Practice Sessions

Children in Reception and Year 1 read fully decodable books with an adult 3 times per week during our ‘Reading Practice’ sessions. These books are then sent home for children to build their reading fluency and showcase their developing skills and phonetic knowledge to their parents/carers. These 3 reading practice sessions each have a different focus; decoding, prosody and comprehension. Our reading books in Reception, Y1 and Y2: Little Wandle Letters and  Sounds Revised Big Cat books.

Supporting your child with reading

Although your child will be taught to read at school, you can have a huge impact on their reading journey by continuing their practice at home. There are two types of reading book that your child will bring home in Reception and Year 1:

Reading practice book

This book has been carefully matched to your child’s current reading level. If your child is reading it with little help, please don’t worry that it’s too easy – your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading. Listen to them read the book. Remember to give them lots of praise – celebrate their success! If they can’t read a word, ask them to decode (sound it out) and blend it. After they have finished, talk about the book together.

You can also access reading books from our Collins Little Wandle e-library collection.

Storytime – a sharing book

In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure. The sharing book is a book they have chosen for you to enjoy together. Please remember that you shouldn’t expect your child to read this alone. Read it to or with them. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters, explore the facts in a non-fiction book. In addition, after reading the book you can pick out some words and help them to expand their vocabulary by discussing alternatives for these words. The main thing is though that you have fun!

Our Sharing Storytime book list outlines the quality children’s books available for Reception and Year One children to choose to enjoy at home with an adult.

Reading Comprehension

Beginning with daily (at least once a day) discussions and explorations of books, stories and rhymes in Nursery and Reception, more formal comprehension lessons begin in KS1 when pupils have completed our Little Wandle Phonics scheme and are developing into functional readers.

In Year 1, children receive 30 minutes per day, where books are read to them for pleasure, and early comprehension skills are introduced through discussion.

In Year 2, a more independent approach to reading comprehension is encouraged and developed through both daily guided reading sessions (30 mins) and dedicated time for longer class novels (15 mins).

In KS2, every class has daily 45-minute reading lessons in the morning where pupils work on their reading skills, either independently or with support from teaching staff in guided/shared reading sessions. From 12:00 until 12:15 teachers read class novels to their pupils, encouraging reading for pleasure and further developing comprehension skills through high-quality modelling/discussions. In addition, children in Key Stage 2 complete three 30-minute sessions on Reading Plus every week – an online, progressive reading programme that improves pupils’ vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.

From 8:30 – 8:45 every class runs a Book and Bagel reading for pleasure session so pupils have time each day to enjoy reading a book of their choice for enjoyment.

Further opportunities to read ‘to find out’ are incorporated into Science lessons and foundation subjects.

Home Reading 

To help support reading development, we request an adult in the home environment reads with a child for 10 minutes every day. Every child has a school book that they take home (If they are still working on their phonics then they will be taking home two. One matched to their phonics progression and one for adults to share with them for pleasure). With support from their class teacher, pupils choose which book they would like to read from a range matched to their current reading ability.

We also ask that pupils in Year 3 onwards complete one hour at home on Reading plus, to supplement their efforts in school.