Reading at Forest Gate Academy
Reading is widely encouraged, nurtured and the heart of our English Curriculum at FGA. We are working towards achieving the Gold Reading Quality mark. From the first week in Nursery, children are encouraged to become early readers at home with parents and carers by giving them a reading book. Teachers, teaching assistants, student reading ambassadors listen to children read individually on a one to one basis regularly. This provides children with valuable one to one time, support and guidance.
Children are also able to choose their own books from a wide and varied range in our class libraries and from our ‘Reading Room’ in school. As soon as children are assessed as competent readers and have a secure understanding of what they have read, they have more freedom to choose their own titles from the books we have in school.
We are committed to teaching children how to read, and enjoy reading, from an early age (Nursery or as soon as possible) through systematic synthetic phonics using Ruth Miskin’s Read, Write, Inc scheme. Children are taught phonics daily and access phonetically matched texts for reading in home and at school.
We hold many Reading events to promote the importance of authors and their influences on not just a local level, but national and worldwide cultures. Authors visit our school to allow pupils to ask questions and aspire to become writers of novels such as Roald Dahl Day and World Book Day. We also hold sponsored reads to encourage children to pick up a book and read anywhere, and welcomed West End for schools to encourage expressing and visualising books through dance and drama.
Reading for Pleasure
Reading for Pleasure means any reading that is primarily for enjoyment. This includes: books, magazines, comics, poems, picture books, newspapers as well as fiction novels. Research has shown that reading for pleasure can result in increased empathy, improved relationships with others, improved wellbeing and an increased insight into the view and opinions of others. At Forest Gate Academy, we know that young children who enjoy reading independently will have had the door opened to new discoveries and wider interests as well as to new knowledge, creativity and confidence. We believe Reading for Pleasure is of the utmost importance and it is something that we actively and continuously promote in many different ways throughout our school. To support this, we have invested in our outdoor ‘Reading shed’ where children can read at break and lunch under the guidance of the school’s Reading Ambassadors. These children were selected by class teachers because of their impeccable behaviour and attitude towards reading.
We have also welcomed Kiara, a Reading Therapy Dog from Stay ‘N’ Play Doggy Daycare, to help our children to develop a passion for reading. Reading to dogs can help children to develop their reading skills and can also help children to build confidence, and self-esteem and can encourage positive behaviour.
Reading lessons take part during our timetabled English time that happens every morning. Children have 1 full lesson each day where they explore their selected class reader. Teachers strategically plan questions that will cover the 8 key reading domains in Key Stage 2 and the 5 domains in Key Stage 1. All children access a text that is vocabulary rich and that is appropriate for their year group. In Reception and year 1 (and those from year 2 who did not pass the phonics screening), pupils access Read, Write, Inc phonic lessons that flow directly into their reading lesson. In Reading, in Key Stage 1, children complete the Read, Write, Inc. scheme before moving on Whole-Class Reading using a questioning scheme called VIPERS, that centres on one book and questions are linked to the 5 reading domains in the Key Stage 1 curriculum.
Phonics and Reading
At Forest Gate Academy we use the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme to ensure attainment and progress is made throughout early years and KS1.
Read Write Inc Phonics is a method of teaching reading and writing, which is centred around learning the sounds of the letters (phonics) and then blending them together to read words. The children also learn to break down words into individual sounds in order to write them. Pupils have access to book levels dependent on their reading ability, when each child has been assessed each half term, they will placed into groups teaching the appropriate level of phonics and reading books. Using RWI allows FGA pupils to progress at their own rate and teaching is tailored to each individual/ group needs.
In Key Stage 1 phonics is taught daily for 45 mins to streamed groups of Year 1 children. Groups are streamed in order to deliver more personalised learning to smaller groups of children. In Reception children are streamed across ability groups for sessions of up to 1 hour.
In 2023 83% of children passed their phonics screening test.
When using RWI to read the children will:
Learn to read fluently so that they can put all their energy into comprehensive understanding
Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts.
Learn to read words using Fred Talk.
Blend sounds together
Read books which correspond with the new spellings
‘Find It’ and ‘Prove it’ discussions will be held to ensure pupils understand what they have read
When using RWI to write the children will:
Spell confidently and easily so they can begin to understand what they are writing about
Learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds (graphemes).
Learn to write words by saying the sounds in Fred Talk.
Begin to compose simple and complex sentences.
Understand and write range of texts using discussion prompts.
Compose stories based on picture strips.
Guidance for parents:
At Forest Gate Academy we use Accelerated Reader (AR) as a tool for monitoring and managing independent reading practice. As part of our home school learning agreement pupils are recommended to read daily and take-home AR books as part of their continuous provision. As an extension of our termly reading assessment, pupils will be expected to take weekly tests, focusing on the book they have read. This allows us to monitor pupils progress and allow pupils to score additional points in order to achieve ready reader levels throughout their time at FGA. AR offers an extensive collection of books to cater across both KS1 and KS2 to ensure a wealth of texts, a passion for reading and consistent reading are embedded within our school ethos. Pupils will have incentives to achieve across the academic year based on the texts they have read and points achieved as part of their own individual development.