Our Vision for our Readers
It would be very easy to commit a generic tag-line for our vision regarding phonics and reading at Thomas Jolyffe. However, as is the case with many schools, we have children whose experiences in life are incredibly varied. It is for this reason that our vision and aims are somewhat vast in communicating our intent.
We want all children to develop a love of books by immersing them in quality material. We want confident, fluent readers who can make sense of what they read and enter into detailed discussion about what they have read, what they believe and what they think is right or wrong. We want others to be able to decode unfamiliar words and ensure reading is not something to be feared in their lives. We want Reading to engage and entertain those who find the structure of school more challenging. We want to adapt to the individuals in our care and the ever-changing world around us. This is not just phonics and reading at Thomas Jolyffe, this is Thomas Jolyffe in its entirety.
Children are taught reading and writing together with every phonics lesson allowing opportunities to read and write each sound as well as going over what has been learnt before. We assess subtly but rigorously, allowing us to ensure all are making progress relative to their starting points. This is a continuous process throughout Reception, Key Stage One and into Key Stage Two.
Books are matched closely to children’s emerging knowledge of phonics and common exception words through well-advised choices. The nurturing qualities of exceptional staff allow children to experience success and gain confidence in reading at all levels. Hearing children read and supporting their increasingly fluent decoding is encouraged to be the heartbeat of life between home and school. Phonics Bug is used to ensure consistency of teaching between classes and is a central part of our approach thanks to its engaging fast-paced range of aural, visual and kinaesthetic phonics activities.
How does it all happen?
For parents wanting an independent whistle-stop tour of how it all works, take a look here at The School Run. In Reception, children will typically start by teaching Phase 2 sounds and ‘tricky words’ but this is adapted to suit the children each year. Throughout Reception they will usually progress through Phase 3 and 4. Each lesson has the same structure so that children’s know what to expect and can apply their knowledge adeptly in each session. Every phonics phase will be learnt and consolidated and by the end of Year 1 children will take the Phonics Check. Take a look at the video below for an explanation of what this entails… In Year 2 further consolidation takes place - by now phase 5 - before embarking on spelling patterns in phase 6. (More on spelling can be found in the menu on the English subject page)
As well as daily phonics, children are immersed in books throughout the curriculum at Thomas Jolyffe. The Power of Reading from the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education uses quality children’s literature and creative teaching approaches to develop a high quality curriculum and further foster the whole school love of reading and writing that matches our vision.
Lesson objectives will always be clearly defined and age-appropriate use of success criteria give children the best possible chance of successfully meeting those objectives. For all sorts of reasons, objectives may not be met, but through our use of precision intervention (known throughout school simply as ‘P.I.’) children are caught up as quickly as possible, or lessons are adapted where consolidation is clearly necessary. Intervention groups supplement our commitment to quality first teaching by allowing pre-teaching to take place or responding to gaps occurring through absence or other limiting reasons.
Particularly since returning from the pandemic we have responded to the increasing need for developing speaking and listening skills, encouraging social interaction and deepening every child’s knowledge of key vocabulary throughout the curriculum. Keep an eye open for the vocabulary displays in the classrooms, the emphasis on the use of mathematical language in maths lessons and the key words and reminders to help and assist all children on the front of their exercise books in all areas.
We support pupils for as long as it takes until they can read whether they have identified special educational needs or any other need that prohibits them from learning at a faster rate. In Key Stage Two we run Project X - a highly motivational adventure series that embeds phonics. Take a look below…
When they are ready, no matter where they are on their school journey, every child has access to Accelerated Reader. A child takes a book back and forth between school and home, completes it then takes an online quiz to test their comprehension and gets immediate feedback. Children at Thomas Jolyffe respond very positively, look forward to this feedback and are motivated to make more progress with their reading skills. Take a look by clicking here.
During their phonics years when learning to decode, children are given a bespoke diary to encourage this reading at home every day. This is also a critical part of children learning to complete school tasks away from the classroom and encourages positive and disciplined learning habits that will be valuable for years to come.
We have the highest expectations for all of our pupils in terms of progress. In 2019 88% of our children reached the phonics check threshold, 86% achieved the expected standard for Reading at the end of Key Stage One alongside 82% for Writing. Children who were working towards the expected standard had succeeded in making progress from their starting points through targeted support implemented by an ever-developing team of experienced teachers with a deep knowledge of what children need to make their next steps. As well as statutory testing, we use PiRA tests twice yearly in Years 1,3,4 and 5 to benchmark against age related expectations. This links to our tracking of the key Reading performance indicators throughout the year and is reported half termly at meetings to discuss children’s progress.