At Pemberley Academy, we are fully committed to instilling a love of reading in our pupils, and we greatly encourage a habit of reading for both pleasure and information in all our children, regardless of ability or gender and are working hard to ensure to encourage this at home as well.
Our EYFS and KS1 pupils have a daily half-hour phonics session, where children are streamed into small groups taught by teacher and teaching assistants, to ensure all phonics needs are met. These daily sessions include the ‘Phonics Staple Diet’ which consists of introducing new sounds and words, practicing old sounds and words, and then applying them in both reading and writing opportunities throughout the session. The school follows the “Letters and Sounds” systematic synthetic phonics phased scheme, as well as other resources, which make learning phonics as fun and memorable as possible for our children. In EYFS, 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”. Children are grouped into these phases (ranging from 2 to 6) based on regular phonics assessments, which means that children move groups regularly, and that the phonics sessions truly meet the individual needs of pupils.
We are aware that learning to read phonetically is only one of the possible strategies that children may use, so alongside our daily phonics sessions 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.
Some year 3 and 4 pupils continue to access phonics sessions if they need to develop their phonics skills while most pupils participate in a daily Sentence, Punctuation and Grammar session which incorporates reading skills.
Pupils in KS1 and KS2 participate in a daily Guided Reading Rota which includes a weekly reading session with their teacher, individual silent reading opportunities, reading comprehension practice as well as opportunities to develop strategies taught in reciprocal reading, including summarizing, question generating, clarifying, and predicting. In EYFS children read to their teachers each week and will begin Guided Reading sessions in the summer term.
In EYFS and Key Stage 1, the children read ability banded books from the “BugClub” and “Rigby Star” reading schemes at school and home, and we actively encourage sharing these books with their parents at home, in order to develop their decoding and comprehension skills. Children are also encouraged to read books from home with their parents or carers as well.
In Key Stage 2, children read texts of their choice or from the banded reading schemes which have been extended to include books at an age appropriate level and share these at home with their parents or carers.
We have recently implemented a whole school reading challenge to encourage children and parents to read together and record their reading in their reading records. All children are expected to read at least three times a week at home and this should be recorded in their reading record. The class that has read the most over a half-term period wins an afternoon at a local play venue and the children in each class that have read the most also win a fun afternoon.
We are proud of the amount of books we are able to offer our pupils through our school library and bookcases around the school, and are constantly improving our collection through book drives and the Travelling Books Bookfair reward schemes.
We are very proud of our English curriculum and all pupils have the opportunity to hear and study a wide range of literature, including picture and chapter books, non-fiction genres and 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 and our pupils and staff are developing a shared love of reading.