Reading and Phonics
The overarching aims of the Reading Curriculum at Bourn Primary are to teach children to read fluently and independently and to love stories and books. We value reading as a key life skill and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. Good reading skills are the foundation to academic success as well as enabling reading to become an enjoyable activity that can boost mental well-being.
Our aim is that pupils leave this school able to read fluently and with confidence. In order to do this, we begin to provide additional support for children as soon as they begin to fall behind their peers. Our vision that 'each of us is capable of great things' drives our early intervention programmes, which include 1-1 TA support and small group reading interventions. We prioritise TA support in Key Stage 1 to give all children the best chance of leaving Key Stage 1 at the expected level. Early intervention phonics support starts in Foundation Stage, where children have an additional phonics session each day if they need further support.
Our aim is that our pupils become competent readers who can recommend books to their peers, enjoy a wide range of reading genres and can participate in discussions about books, including evaluating authors’ use of language and its impact. Pupils leave Bourn having had exposure to a range of texts including up-to-date literature as well as studying a range of classic books, poems and authors. Our carefully mapped Reading Spine including class texts helps us to achieve this. The reasons for the choice of each book is explained.
This year 2023/24, we have included books recommended by Empathy Lab, Empathy is a human super-power which helps us all understand each other better. It is also an essential social and emotional skill, crucial if children are to thrive. We’re not born with a fixed quantity of empathy – it’s a skill we can learn. Excitingly, new research shows that books are a powerful tool to develop it, because in identifying with book characters, children learn to see things from other points of view. So when you read with children you can build their empathy skills at the same time!
Phonics at Bourn
We teach phonics using the Little Wandle Scheme. We believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.
Click here to find out more information: Little Wandle - Information for Parents
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 may bring home:
A reading practice book. This will be at the correct phonic stage for your child. They should be able to read this fluently and independently.
A sharing book. Your child will not be able to read this on their own. This book is for you both to read and enjoy together.
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, read it to them. After they have finished, talk about the book together.
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. The main thing is that you have fun!
Accelerated Reader at Bourn
In Key Stage 2, children's reading is tracked through the Accelerated Reader system, which enables teachers to monitor the genre and challenge level of books they choose, and to monitor their progress, intervening with additional support where this indicated. Children are assessed to determine their reading ability, and can then choose from a range of recommended titles at their reading level. Once they have finished a book, they complete a simple quiz to check that they have read and understood it, and then are given a further list of recommended titles to choose from. Children build their reading skills and stamina, and we ensure that children are reading books at just the right level for them - early readers as well supported and those at a higher level of ability are encouraged to read books that really engage and challenge them. Teachers can track children’s progress book by book, and tailor recommendations to a child’s individual needs.
A School That Loves Reading
We have an amazing fiction library housed in the Bourn Book Bus, which was developed in memory of our friend Lyla, who died in 2021, aged 5. Children visit the bus and borrow books, just like in a real library. Children from Little Hands Pre-School also visit!
Other initiatives to increase the profile of reading across the school and develop a whole-scale reading culture include Reading Buddies, increased communication with parents to highlight the importance of reading at home and promoting a love of reading by engaging with reading events, such as author visits.
All pupils are encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Children are exposed to a range of different, and often complex texts, during which they can demonstrate understanding and develop their range of vocabulary. Children are read to daily by their class teacher and enjoy a series of class novels throughout the academic year. Independent reading records are also used by all pupils in Key Stage 1 to track reading inside and outside school.
Teaching focuses on developing pupils’ decoding, fluency and comprehension (both listening and reading); different teaching approaches are required for each.
Pupils regularly complete reading comprehensions (in a range of subjects). Good comprehension involves a variety of skills such as: inference, knowledge of vocabulary, predictions, retrieval and summarising. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-level material, high-quality discussion as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction texts