At Buntingsdale Primary School it is our intent that children access a daily phonics lesson that teaches them how to read and spell rapidly so that they can read fluently and know how to spell high frequency words and apply these in their writing by the end of Key Stage 1.
Children in Reception and Key Stage 1 follow the synthetic phonics approach, using the Twinkl Phonics programme. It’s an approach to teaching phonics in which individual letters or letter sounds are blended to form groups of letters or sounds, and those groups are then blended to form complete words – we’ve produced a guide to help you with some of the terms and concepts (see link at bottom of the page).
Our main reading scheme in EYFS and KS1 is Rhino Readers that matches the Twinkl phonics scheme. Children learn to read at different rates. In Reception and Key Stage 1 children have reading books that match the phonics they are learning in school.
Our daily phonics sessions are fun, involving lots of speaking, listening and games. The emphasis is on children’s active participation. They learn to use their phonic knowledge for reading and writing activities and in their independent play.
Twinkl phonics is divided into six phases, with each phase building on the skills and knowledge of previous learning. There are no big leaps in learning. Children have time to practise and rapidly expand their ability to read and spell words. They are also taught to read and spell ‘tricky words’ – words with spellings that are unusual or that children have not yet been taught. These include the words ‘to’, ‘was’, ‘said’ and ‘the’ – you can’t really break the sounds down for such words so it’s better to just ‘recognise’ them.
At the end of Year 1 children undertake the Phonics Screening check which is a government assessment that checks if children can read real and nonsense words.
Reading at Key Stage 2
Buntingsdale has a strong ethos of reading and we are always striving to improve and give the best opportunities to our pupils. We recognised that although children were reading freely and choosing books from the library, children weren’t always reading at the correct challenging level and some children were reluctant to read and occasionally lacked motivation. The benefits of reading an appropriately complex book are clear: children encounter new vocabulary, are able to link their reading to wider experiences and contexts and use and apply learned reading skills at the correct level of challenge. Accelerated Reader guides pupils to read texts that are of their interest, maturity and reading level. This is immediately more motivating for children and Accelerated Reader’s research shows that children who read books daily that fit these criteria, develop at a greater rate. We recognise that reading skills and ability can underpin a child’s achievement in
education. We aim to use Accelerated Reader for this and to develop a lifelong love of reading in our pupils.
How is my child’s ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) / book level generated?
Your child will take a Star Reader test. This assessment is not ‘pass’ or ‘fail’, it purely represents your child’s reading ability at the time taken. This is online and takes approximately 20-30 minutes. It starts with initial generic questions which become easier or harder depending on the child’s answers. The questions are multiple choice but we encourage children not to guess if they’re unsure, to help teachers get a more accurate picture of their reading ability. The assessment will happen half termly to ensure your child is being guided
to read the most challenging texts for them in order to make the best progress. It will be carried out in class in an informal manner and teachers will always encourage the children to try their best to reassure them.
How will my child know which book to get?
All of our Accelerated Reader books are labelled with the ZPD/book level on the spine to help them choose. They can also find a sticker on the inside of the book with information about the book level, points that can be earned, author and quiz number. On the children’s Accelerated Reader page recommendations pop up
depending on previous reads too. Finally, there may be books your child wants to read from the local library, home or a bookshop but isn’t sure whether it fits their book level. In this case, please use http://www.arbookfind.co.uk/ to see what level the book is and to find other recommendations.
Should my child read their book in a certain amount of time?
There is no set time in which a child should read a book as we know children will be reading different length books and at different speeds. We ask that they read daily for 20-30 minutes and this way, they will complete a book in a reasonable amount of time.
How often does my child need to do a quiz?
Your child will do a quiz every time they finish a book. This means there is no set number to be done in a set amount of time because children will be reading at different rates due to varying length of books and the different speeds at which they read. We try to ensure that children will do the quiz linked to their book
within 48 hours of completing the text so it’s still fresh in their minds. This way it will be a more valid representation of their understanding of the text read.
How can we as parents support at home?
We know how supportive our parents are at home. We would love you to:
· Encourage your child to read for 20-30 minutes a day and monitor.
· Make sure your child is reading books at the appropriate level of challenge
(within his/her reading range).
· Talk to your child about what he/she is reading.
· Listen to him/her read. Give lots of praise.
· Discuss his/her reading book – reading comprehension questions are available
on the school website.
· Encourage him/her to look up and record new vocabulary.
· Use www.arbookfind.co.uk to search for suitable books (an advanced
search will let you search for books within your child’s reading range and by
How will the teachers monitor my child’s reading?
The test and quizzes your child does give the teacher valuable feedback about their understanding of the texts they have read and which skills they are struggling with. Teachers will use this information to help them plan their guided reading sessions so they can teach those necessary skills. Teachers will also assess
during guided reading and will not use the data generated by Accelerated Reader alone.
What happens if they don’t ‘pass’ a quiz?
We have set most children the target of 80% for their quizzes. If your child doesn’t meet this target, please don’t worry too much. The same message will be relayed to your child. We encourage children to try their best and to be determined and resilient and it may be that they have simply had an off day or rushed the quiz. It could, however, be because they haven’t understood the vocabulary or the comprehension behind the text. Your child’s class teacher will be able to decide upon this and plan to teach certain reading skills and strategies if this is what is required. If this is a continual theme, the information Accelerated Reader can generate from their quiz answers and the observations the teacher will have made during guided reading will guide the class teacher with which area of reading your child is struggling with. Teachers will then be able to put in specific support and liaise with you as parents to try and improve this.
Providing children with a love of stories, poems and information should be its own reward. However, to reward children who make an effort with reading at all levels, we use a range of reward systems to motivate children and acknowledge success and hard work. The reward system enables children to take ownership of their own reading assessment. The children have designed their own reading cards based on superheroes. The children earn a reading card when: they read a book in Key Stage 1 or pass a quiz in Key Stage 2. The
children have folders to collect them in and they trade them if they get a duplicate, much in the style of poke man or football cards. The children really love receiving a card and we have found that it really motivates them to read more at home and at school.
If you have any other questions, we’re always available so please speak to your class teacher who will gladly try to answer them!