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Phonics and Early Reading

At Okehampton Primary School we want children to learn to read quickly and accurately and to then keep on reading. We want children to see reading not only as a task set by teachers in school but as an activity which provides pleasure and escape from the modern world.

We use a range of schemes such as Rising Stars and Collins Big Cat to provide a rich and varied text base. These texts are organised into bands using book bands and bench-marking guidance. We passionately believe that, with the right support, all children can and will learn to read. In order for all children to be successful we assess them each half term and place them in a group that is matched to their ability. We are constantly informally assessing the children to make sure the books they read are neither too easy nor too hard. If needed, children receive additional support in the form of daily 1:1 coaching, to help them on their journey to becoming a confident reader. Within their daily sessions, children are encouraged and supported not only to develop their decoding skills but also their comprehension and fluency skills. The writing aspect of the programme will teach the children how to use key skills to record their ideas and they will be encouraged to formulate their sentences orally before writing these on paper.​

​Teaching of phonics is integral to the teaching of reading and although a major part, it is not the only thing we do. We have a range of phonetically decodable reading books from which the children can choose. Children are also free to borrow books from our extensive school library.
We will teach pupils to speak, read and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions effectively. With regards to reading, children will be exposed to a wide range of texts to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live. Phonics will be used as a tool to develop an appreciation and love of reading through teaching fluency. Children will be challenged in their thinking through comprehension and their immersion in the wider curriculum. It is our intention to ensure that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.

The aim for Phonics and Early Reading at our School is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word from an early age and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.

The National Curriculum and EYFS for Reading and Phonics aim to ensure that all pupils:

  • Read easily, fluently and with good understanding;
  • Develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information;
  • Acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language;
  • Appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage