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Filby Primary School

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Reading at Filby Primary School

Reading at Filby Primary School - our approach


At Filby we believe that reading is an essential skill which enables children to access all areas of the curriculum.  We want all children to enjoy reading and to see reading as a pleasurable activity.  This is at the heart of all that we do - our aim is for all children to read for pleasure!


 The teaching of reading is integral to a child’s understanding and appreciation of the world around them; a platform that allows our children to see beyond what they know; helping to develop a respectful attitude to new experiences. Our reading curriculum strives to foster a lifelong love of reading.  We cultivate the responsible behaviours that they will need to be discerning readers as they read frequently and widely using self-regulation strategies and discussing what they read.


This curriculum is delivered through synthetic phonics, whole class reading, home reading, reading across the curriculum, regular opportunities for independent reading and hearing quality texts read aloud every day. We believe these are essential components as they offer the range of opportunities needed to develop fluent, enthusiastic and critical readers.  Through our reading curriculum children will be exposed to texts and themes we have carefully selected in order to develop inclusive and caring attitudes to all in society.   


It is important that children are motivated to read regularly both at home and at school; when their reading opportunities increase, so does their fluency and stamina which in turn increases their enjoyment of reading. Furthermore, we know that reading pleasure is beneficial not only for reading outcomes, but for wider learning enjoyment and mental wellbeing. Thus, we aspire to foster a love of independent reading and build communities of engaged readers. We understand the significance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop both word reading and comprehension skills so we endeavour to build a home-school partnership which enables parents and carers to have the confidence to support their children with reading at home.

What we do.


In order for children to love reading we teach them three essential skills.

Decoding -   Fluency -  Comprehension


Firstly, we teach them to decode (work out) words by recognising the sounds within a word and blending them together to read individual words.  We use a systematic phonics programme called 'Read, Write Inc' (RWI) to do this.

Next we encourage them to read fluently without lots of sounding out.  As part of RWI children practise reading red words (those words which can't be sounded out) speedily.  They also have lots of opportunities to recognise sounds within words and read these words quickly too.  This is important because until a child can read fluently (approximately 60 + words per minute) their comprehension is affected because they are using their brains to decode rather than to understand what they are reading.  We also use choral reading to help develop a feel for the text and to improve reading speed.

From the beginning, we teach comprehension skills so that children develop real understanding of what they have read.  As part of comprehension children will be taught to find answers in the text, using a range of retrieval strategies.  They will also learn to make predictions, look for deeper meanings about characters and events (inference) and to sequence the events in a range of fiction and non fiction texts.  Comprehension skills begin when children are being read to and are developed throughout Reception, KS1 and KS2.


Learning to read with Phonics


In Swallowtail and Kingfisher classes we teach the children to read with the phonics programme  'Read,Write Inc' (RWI). Everyday, children have a phonics lesson where they learn to read and write the sounds within words.  By teaching the sounds we are giving children the building blocks to work out any words and start their journey to become real readers with an enjoyment of reading.


Each morning the children are taught in small groups by fully trained teachers and teaching assistants.  These groups are organised depending on which sounds each child can read and children with similar knowledge are taught in the same group.  Assessment takes place every six weeks so groups can change to match the needs of the children.  If children are not making the progress which we believe they should they will have a short session with a teaching assistant at another time during the day.


We only use RWI at Filby and whilst children are learning to read they will bring home reading books which match the colour books they read at school. For example, if a child is reading purple books in school they will bring home  a purple book which matches the one they have read in school that week and a purple RWI 'Book Bag' book.  As children become secure with all sounds, usually when they are reading grey level , we might supplement their RWI reading books with other suitable books to match their reading ability.






Whole Class Reading 

During the Spring term of  year 2 most children will complete the Read, Write, Inc. phonics programme and move over to working on their independent comprehension skills.  All the children in the group read the same text; they learn to read it confidently and fluently and work to understand all the meaning of the text.  Children will often chorally read the text to help with confidence and fluency.


At Filby we use the 'VIPERS' approach to underpin the teaching of reading comprehension.



In years 3 - 6 each unit has a theme and different extracts from fiction and non fiction texts are chosen to match.  The texts closely match the reading ability of the year group and include a range of classic and contemporary authors.  Whole texts are available so that children can read the book if they feel inspired by the 'taster' they have completed in class.

   Each unit incorporates the 6 key areas of the 'VIPERS' approach, with greater weighting given to vocabulary in each unit.  We know that understanding vocabulary is key to understanding the text.  Therefore, we ensure that new vocabulary is explicitly taught so that all children can fully access the text.  

Reading Books and Home Reading


In Swallowtail and Kingfisher classes reading books are matched to the 'Read, Write, Inc.'  colour band they are following in school.  Reading books are changed once a week.

  As children complete RWI we move them onto early chapter books or turquoise, gold, white or lime banded books to ensure children remain confident about their reading whilst also experiencing appropriate challenge.  

  We promote 'Reading for Pleasure' and allow children in KS2 to select their books, provided that they have the phonic skills in place to successfully tackle new texts.  There are class libraries and a well stocked library where children can choose their books.


Read Aloud


Reading aloud to children is an important part of the routine at Filby Primary School. 


When planning texts for reading and writing across the year/cycle we include:

  • Stories representing different cultures and faiths(multicultural characters/settings across the world)
  • Links to events raising awareness of disabilities and discrimination (Black History Month, Deafness Awareness Weeks etc.)
  • RSE links, e.g. difference, friendship (link to RSE units)
  • World issues such as war, immigration, refugees
  • A variety of picture, written books and films
  • Different timescales (classic perhaps involving archaic language, modern)
  • Different authors/poets (including those of BAME)