Phonics and Reading at Civitas Academy
Here you will find information on how we teach phonics and reading at Civitas Academy and how you can help support your child at home as they progress as fluent readers. Our aim is for children to become independent, life-long readers; able to read a wide range of texts for a variety of purposes with understanding and for pleasure.
How We Teach Phonics
At Civitas we follow the Letters and Sound programme to teach phonics. We use the ‘Staple Diet’ structure for our phonics teaching, this consists of a repetitive, structured and systematic approach to learning. Each phonics session follows a Revisit – Teach – Practice – Apply structure so the children are able to consolidate their learning. Children are closely monitored to assess their learning and they are also assessed termly to check their progress, with teaching and groups adjusted accordingly. Children are encouraged to self-correct their work in the moment through teacher feedback.
Letters and Sounds programme covers phases 1-6. Phases 1-4 are covered in Reception, with phase 5/6 taught in Year 1 & 2. In Reception, teachers use Jolly Phonics actions and songs for each sound to help them remember the letter shape, name and the sound it makes.
As early readers, children will be taught to use ‘Synthetic Phonics’. This is a technical name and is nothing to do with being artificial, it refers to synthesising or blending sounds to make a word. Phonics is a method of teaching children how spoken words are composed of sounds called phonemes. The process of reading involves decoding or ‘breaking’ words into separate phonemes. For example c-a-t.
It is important that, in order to support children to decode phonemes accurately, that the pronunciation is accurate. For information and support with pronunciation, please follow the follow links
Home Reading Books and Rising Stars Reading Planet
Each week our pupils are given home reading books, this allows them to practice and apply their phonic knowledge and reading skills at home. While our pupils are learning phonics their home reading book will match the phase that they are working within, for example pupils at the start of phase two sounds will take home a Pink A book. We also subscribe to My Rising Stars Reading Planet an online Reading scheme with over 400 eBooks.
We offer a Phonics and Rising Stars workshop at the start of every academic year, this enables us to share phonics teaching with parents. The Phonics workshop gives an overview of letters and sounds, help parents to understand the role systematic phonics plays in learning to read and gives lots of practical tips and advice.
Reading in EYFS and KS1
Alongside phonetic development, reading is taught all throughout the day to cover the necessary comprehension skills as well as other strategies used to decode meaning from text. Children’s literacy lessons are based around high quality texts and daily literacy lessons allow children to read, enjoy, understand and discuss texts. Children participate in guided reading sessions with their teacher and with their learning support assistants each week, these small focused sessions allow for the direct teaching of new skills as well as opportunities for teachers to assess and give targets to children. Children will bring home a colour banded reading book, bands progressing to provide more challenge, the colour band will reflect their current phonics phase and teachers will use ongoing assessment as well as guided reading and reading tests/activities to determine when to move children onto the next band.
We welcome and encourage support from home with the teaching of phonics and reading. We hope that the following information will help in the partnership between home and school. Please direct any further questions to your child’s class teacher, who will be very happy to help.
For some great starter tips on ‘How to help your child read at home’, use the following link
Reading in KS2
As children enter Key Stage 2, they move from banded books onto the Accelerated Reader Program. This program helps to diagnose and assess their level of vocabulary and comprehension skills. From this data, the program then gives children a 'zone' of books they can read between. This is similar to the colour banded books the children use in KS1, but the books are levelled in numbers. For example, a child may be selecting books from the 3.5-3.9 range.
When a child has finished the book they are reading, they will then complete a comprehension quiz online to help them further develop their reading skills. They can access Accelerated Reader by clicking here. There is further guidance about Acclereated Reader in the 'Parent Workshop' section of our website. Teacher's will communicate your child's reading range to them and children then have the choice of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books within school.
Reading lessons in KS2 follow the VIPERS reading skills program:
Children have whole class reading sessions 4 times a week; 3 of these lessons are focussed on their class novel and at least 1 lesson is focussed on a different genre to ensure children are getting a healthy reading diet. Whole class reading lessons consists of high quality reading aloud from the teacher, class discussions and independent written tasks, all linked to the specific skills above.