Early Reading & Phonics
Promoting a love of reading is at the centre of everything we do here at St. Mary's. Each topic is linked to a class novel and reading opportunities will be prevalent across every area of the curriculum, beginning in the Early Years. All of the reading books on offer in EYFS and Key Stage 1 will connect closely to the phonics knowledge children are taught when they are learning to read. From children’s first day at school, there will be a sharp focus on ensuring that they gain the phonics knowledge and language comprehension necessary to read, and the skills to communicate, as we feel these are the foundations for future learning to take place. There will also be a consistent focus throughout school on topic related vocabulary so that children can develop this and use it in their own speech and future writing.
Phonics has also been a big part of the school improvement plan and we implemented some major changes last year to our practice at school. Pupils are streamed into ability groups, regularly assessed, and our phonics lead, Mrs Hinett, regularly visits other schools to share good and outstanding practice. She also makes sure that our staff are fully confident in the delivery of phonics by providing regular CPD and training, delivered both by herself and the Lancashire Literacy Team who are led by Nicola Martin.
We were delighted to see the teachers and children's hard work pay off last year as we achieved our highest ever phonics score of 81%, nearly 20% higher than the previous 3 years and in line with National and Lancashire standards. In the year 2020-21, we achieved an 85% pass rate which was well above National and Lancashire standards. Please see below for evidence of children's learning in phonics which we try to make as exciting and innovative as possible using every single part of the school and its grounds
Below are some of the activities and evidence we have of this and early reading opportunities happening in school.
Phonics - Spring & Summer 2021
Outdoor Learning in Phonics - September 2020 onwards...
World Book Day March 5th 2020 - Children had a wonderful time on World Book Day this year. There was a Harry Potter theme this year and the children didn't disappoint with their fantastic costumes. In the morning, 'Oswaldtwistle Civic Theatre Company' came into school to do a 'Wand Skills Workshop' with KS1 and a 'Deathly Hallows Workshop' with KS2. There was also a Harry Potter themed dinner and lots of activities themed around a love of reading and the Harry Potter books themselves throughout the day.
Evidence of using the outdoors for our phonics activities.
Class 1 have had lots of fun reading 'The Naughty Bus'. They created a story map and recited the story complete with actions...
National Storyteller Week - February 2020 - Every day we read a novel in school but this week has been national storyteller week and a chance to read a greater range of much-loved stories to the classes! Some classes have read books and then used images to prompt the children to write their very own exciting story!
World BookDay 2020
Lots of advanced notice that ‘World Book Day’ will take place this year on Thursday 5th March. This year we are going to host a Harry Potter themed day. We have booked a group from Oswaldtwistle Civic Theatre to come to school that morning. They will focus on ‘wand skills’ for the infants and ‘The Deathly Hallows’ activities for the Juniors. Children are invited to come to school dressed as a character from the Harry Potter books OR a character from any of their favourite books. The Friends of St. Mary’s are covering the cost of this event and it should be a hugely enjoyable day! There will also be a specially themed ‘Harry Potter and the Muggles Feat’ dinner.
Early Reading is at the center of all we do in Early Years and we provide our children with lots of opportunities within the setting to practice their newly taught skills at all times.
November 2019 - Phonics drop-in session. These Reception and Year 1 children loved showing their parents some of the games they play in phonics!
Phonics Drop-in Session - all parents in Class 1 were invited to a drop-in session looking at how we teach phonics in school and what parents can do to facilitate their children's learning at home.
Our stay and read sessions have been very popular within the first few weeks of the 2019-20 year and more parents are joining us to listen to their children read in school.
Throughout school we encourage reading for pleasure at every opportunity and use the school grounds to facilitate this.
Each class have different novels which they read to the class at the end of each day. The books are chosen on their links to the topic we are currently studying across the key stages.
The books we use in the Early Years are 100% phonetically decodeable and carefully linked to the phases children are currenlty up to in phonics sessions.
Children and staff in the early years and infants dressed as their favourite characters for World Book Day 2019.
Introducing 'Letters & Sounds', the phonics scheme we use in school, to parents of children in the EYFS.
We hold regular phonics workshops showing parents some of the games they can play with children at home and allowing children the chance to show parents what games they have been playing in school.
Using the outdoors for phonics at every opportunity.
Our first 'Stay & Read' session for the new Reception cohort 2018-2019.
Each year we ask a famous author to visit school and promote a love of reading with the children. In May 2019, Andy Tooze visited school.
Each year the Scholastic Bookfayre visit and parents come into school with children to choose books.
Children from every year across school visited the Bowley Book Festival Day in October 2018 and had the chance to meet lots of different authors and take part in a variety of workshops.