As stated in the Early Reading Framework (2021), becoming a fluent reader begins at the earliest stages, before children even encounter a book, through the quality of their parents’ talk and the subsequent development of their vocabulary.
We therefore prioritise high quality talk in Early Years and Key Stage 1 through a number of schemes/approaches:
At St Joseph's, we follow the RWI phonics programme. RWI is a complete phonics programme with high quality training, assessment, intervention and resources (including decodable books). We train all new members of staff in the RWI approach and provide ongoing training and support for existing teachers through practice sessions and coaching. We carry out intervention to support pupils to ‘keep up’ with the programme. Children’s early independent reading is exclusively reading the RWI fully decodable books, ensuring that children are only asked to read books with sounds that they know.
All children from Nursery to Year 1 will access RWI Phonics and any children moving into Year 2 who are still accessing phonics will continue until the programme is finished.
Early Talk Boost is a language intervention carried out in Nursery and Reception. It is to help children with talking and understanding words, helping to boost their language skills. We carry out this as it proven to accelerate children’s progress in language and communication by an average of 6 months by the end of the nine week intervention.
Children who are selected to take part in the intervention will attend three sessions per week during circle/story time, each lasting 15-20 minutes delivered by an early years practitioner. The sessions include activities that cover the foundation skills in speech, language and communication that children need for learning and understanding new words, as well as having conversations.
All children in Nursery complete this intervention as it helps with their school readiness skills. Children in reception will also have complete this if they have been identified as needing extra support in their listening or vocabulary skills.
The children who are accessing RWI Phonics will take a RWI home reading book to match their Phonics ability. These children will also take a 'share at home' book to enjoy reading with their grown ups.
Once pupils can read accurately and fluently, they move on from the RWI programme and the related decodable books. They will then access Oxford Reading Tree and other reading models which are matched to their reading ability.
All children have full access to the school library and take home a new library book each week.
Once children have completed the RWI programme, they move to whole class guided reading sessions, where we aim to promote a love of reading and exposure to children with carefully selected texts. The texts ensure that all children are exposed to a range of authors, genres and cultures. We model reading fluently to the children, as well as asking the children to read aloud independently, in partners or as a group. We believe that being able to read fluently is the key to success and understanding what is read is vital. In our guided reading sessions we encourage book talk and promote discussions around vocabulary through the use of focussed questioning.