Our English curriculum aims to continuously develop children’s skills in reading, writing and speaking and listening. It also aims to foster a love of reading, writing and language which will take them forward into secondary school and beyond into their adult lives.
Reading is one of the main ways we all acquire the knowledge and vocabulary that we need to participate fully in society. As a result, securing reading proficiency and enjoyment, and providing access to a wide range of reading materials – both fiction and non-fiction – is a key priority at Milton Park.
There are two main dimensions to reading:
At Milton Park Primary School, we have a dedicated team of experienced staff who understand the reading process and deliver opportunities for children to acquire, use and extend their skills.
Phonics is taught daily in Reception and Year 1 following the Learning Exchange programme for Phonics into Early Spelling. All children receive high quality phonics teaching for 20 minutes a day with the learning planned and taught from Step 1 to Step 9. Children are taught the alphabetic code, the skill of blending for reading, the skill of segmenting for spelling and the understanding that this is a reversible process. Where necessary, explicit phonics teaching for those children who have not secured the necessary phonics knowledge continues into Year 2 and beyond.
From Reception children are given decodable books that match the Step they are working within or secured. This gives them the opportunity to practise segmenting and blending for reading and develops their fluency. When children demonstrate these skills they move into the school reading scheme starting at level 6.
Phonics First Reading
In addition to discrete phonics teaching, we also consistently deploy Phonics First Guided Reading at Milton Park. Starting in Term 2 of Reception, all Guided Reading sessions follow the same phonics-driven format which is designed to ensure that children apply their phonics knowledge in order to gain reading fluency. Once decoding becomes automatic, the children have more capacity for comprehension. This approach continues with children until they are fluent readers.
Milton Park Reading Scheme
Once children have secure knowledge of letter/sound correspondences and can blend words confidently, they access our levelled reading scheme that has various books from published schemes such as Oxford reading tree and PM benchmarking. Within each level there are fiction and non- fiction texts designed for children to experience a range of genres, authors and publishers.
Alongside securing children’s ability to decode, we deploy a range of strategies and techniques to develop the children’s ability to make meaning of what they are reading.
Children right across the school participate in regular group and whole-class guided reading sessions. When children have acquired fluency through our Phonics First approach, the emphasis shifts to comprehension. In whole class sessions, teachers model the explicit skills of the ‘Active Reader’ so that children understand how they can improve these skills and apply to their reading. These skills are referred to during group sessions when teachers work with children to acquire the key comprehension skills they need to fully engage with a wide variety of text types.
We also use Better Reading Partners, experienced individuals who work one-to-one with children to help them practise and apply the skills taught by teachers in a relaxed environment.
For more able readers, we purchase new texts to extend and interest them while all children benefit from the input of visiting authors.
In short, we strive to promote an enjoyment of and engagement with reading which will benefit our pupils in all their learning at Milton Park and, importantly, long after they leave.
Rapid intervention is given to those children who need additional support with phonics and reading.