How and when your child will learn to read depends on their starting points and their individual needs. At Evergreen, reading is high priority across the curriculum to enable pupils to access the full curriculum offer. The pre-requisite skills necessary for reading are promoted from Early Years.
Early reading skills are practised and taught right through school up to year 6 for those children whose cognitive levels require them to continue working on the pre-requisites required to enable them to move onto using synthetic phonics. The focus for these children is on providing a rich language and total communication environment where pupils are given many learning opportunities to develop their listening and attention, communication, speech and understanding of language along with promoting a love of stories, books, songs and rhymes.
Once a child has acquired the pre-requisite skills necessary for reading they will be taught to read using a synthetic phonics programme. The chosen programme at Evergreen is “Read, Write, Inc.” Depending on the individual child, children may be taught in groups or on a 1:1 basis. Read, Write, Inc teaches children the sounds in English, the letters that represent them, and how to form the letters when writing. Read Write Inc. Phonics includes reading books written using only the letters they have learnt at each level (and a small number of separately taught tricky words) It is a clearly planned, sequential and systematic teaching programme.
Although pupils are taught in small cumulative steps lessons are at a suitable pace for each individual child, engaging and provide plenty of opportunities for reinforcement and consolidation. Phonics lessons happen daily and take full account of the child’s individual strengths, weaknesses, knowledge and understanding and profile of needs.
We work very closely with other professionals such as Speech and Language and the Visual Impairment team along with our Read, Write, Inc trainer to ensure appropriate strategies are put in place to support all learners; such as providing alternative writing and communication strategies or individually tailored and designed resources to support those who are visually impaired.
Children are assessed on a termly basis by the reading leader to ensure progress and identify any need for extra intervention to maximise children’s’ learning and reading confidence.
We strive to develop a culture of “enjoyment of reading” throughout our curriculum here at Evergreen. There is great value placed upon “reading for communication” within our “total communication environment” and for those pupils who are still working within the pre reading skills.
Across the school we prioritise daily “DEAR” sessions (Drop Everything and Read) where classes stop everything and focus on promoting the enjoyment of reading for 15 minutes a day. This is in addition to the “teaching” of reading. DEAR may look different depending on the class and needs of the children. For one group of children it might be listening to and joining in/requesting favourite songs and rhymes and for another it might be a story massage session. In another class it may take the form of independent reading/reading with a partner, listening to a whole group story or reading a range of different genres/media such as newspapers, magazines, leaflets and comics.
For those pupils who complete our SSP programme they move onto working with reference to the outcomes in the National Curriculum. This again is very individualised but focuses on developing automaticity, comprehension, fluency and writing.
Parents play a vital role in helping their child to develop the pre-requisite skills necessary for reading or supporting them to learn to read at home and we value this input. We also understand what a daunting experience it can be for many parents and therefore we try to liaise closely with parents to ensure their child receives the best possible provision.
Our online “Oxford Owl” reading library provides access for parents to reading books and homework set by the class teacher. We also run some information sessions for parents where they can find out more about how to support their child at home with reading. Teacher videos and SSP (phonics videos) are also uploaded onto our online platform so parents and children can access these at home to consolidate and reinforce learning from school to home and support parents.