Reading and Phonics

“There’s no friend as loyal as a book…” Ernest Hemingway​

Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. At Lower Farm Academy, we truly believe that reading provides a ticket to access an enriching curriculum and a bright and successful future.​

Within the Reading National Curriculum there are two main foci; ‘decoding’ words and being able to comprehend and understand what is being read.​

Here at Lower Farm Academy we use the Read Write Inc programme to ensure that these two foci are being delivered securely from a very early age. This is delivered in Reception and Y1. This way of teaching phonics equips the children with the tools they need to decode texts.

A child will learn to read in a very simple way by learning to:

  1. Read letters by their ‘sounds’
  2. Blend these sounds into words
  3. Read the words in a story

The sounds which provide the children with the tools to read are split into three groups:

  1. Set 1 sounds are sounds written with one letter.
  2. Set 2 sounds (ay, ee, igh, ow, oo, oo, ar, or, air, ir, ou, oy)
  3. Set 3 sounds ((ea, oi, a-e, i-e, o-e, u-e, aw, are, ur, er, ow, ai, oa, ew, ire, ear, ure)

Your child will be taught to say the sound for the letter and not the letter name to begin with.  Some children will also benefit from our focussed and targeted interventions to further support the development of their early reading.

In Year 2 onwards, children are introduced to ‘Guided Reading’, which occurs once a week for a full learning session. The premise surrounding Guided Reading ensures that all children take part in a guided group led by a skilled practitioner and also that they are provided with an opportunity to apply their learning independently during a related task. Quite often, the Guided Reading sessions are linked to the wider context of learning.

In addition, we endeavour to promote a love of reading across our school and curriculum. We do this by providing plenty of opportunities for children to engage with and reflect on a range of texts. This is done:

  • within the classroom
  • by reading weekly with our local reading volunteers
  • by inviting published authors in to interact with our children
  • through text led enriching ‘mini adventures’ in line with our school’s pedagogical approach
  • at least one whole school mini adventure based on a rich and stimulating text
  • celebrating World Book Day

The children are then able to use their learnt sounds to spell (encode) words and apply this to their writing. Often words and sentences are built phonetically by using the sounds they are familiar with in order to convey their meaning.