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Reading and Phonics

At St. Herbert’s, we are determined that every pupil in our school will learn to read, regardless of their background, needs or abilities.  We aim for all pupils, including the slowest readers, to make sufficient progress to meet or exceed age-related expectations.

Our children begin their reading journey through Read Write Inc. Children learn to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension.

Children learn the English alphabetic code; the 150+ graphemes that represent 44 speech sounds.  They rapidly learn sounds and the letter, or groups of letters they need to represent them, in three sets of speed sound lessons.  This knowledge is taught and consolidated every day.  High frequency words that are not phonically regular are taught as ‘red words’ and are practised frequently.

Lively phonics books are closely matched to children’s increasing phonic knowledge, so that early on they experience lots of success. Repeated readings of the texts support their increasingly fluent decoding.

Teachers read aloud and discuss picture books daily to support children in developing a love of reading.  We use our reading spine from Nursery to Year 6 to ensure children listen to a range of quality texts, including non-fiction and poetry. Our key drivers for our spine are texts that link to our Christian values, support learning across the curriculum and those that provide windows and mirrors for our children; windows into the lives of all children and mirrors for children’s own lives.  In lower school we use 'Talk through Stories'. In Story week, we help children to get to know the story really well: the plot, the characters, and their actions and motives.   In Vocabulary week, we explore eight words from the story, specifically selected to develop children’s understanding of each word in the context of their everyday lives.