At Chetwynd Spencer Academy we value the role that reading plays in a child's education and, indeed, as a key life skill that will prepare them up for future endeavours.
Our Phonics provision is outstanding. Using the Notts County Council scheme (updated to align with the phonics requirement in the New Curriculum), our children are taught daily, for 20 minutes - whole class and small, targeted groups - across F2 and KS1 to ensure they are challenged constantly. Using small group work allows staff to pinpoint any individual who may need additional support in this area and will plan intervention activities if required. Teachers will always keep you informed if your child is having additional support. Planning is completed collaboratively and regularly reviewed to ensure consistency, progression and continuity for all pupils. There are opportunities throughout the year for parents/carers to attend phonics training sessions, observing how phonics is taught and giving them the knowledge required to best support their children with reading and writing at home. Our Sounds & Syllables spelling strategy is built upon excellent phonic knowledge across the whole school.
We currently use Dandelion Readers in F2 and Year 1 so that they children have at least one book to read at home that matches their current phonic level. Children from Year 1 upwards take home books from a range of publishers including Collins Big Cat and Project X (Oxford University Press) that are colour book banded. These are well-resourced and located centrally. Alongside these, non-schemed books are colour banded, which allows children to take 'real' books home as well. We provide a diet and range of books at different levels within a book band.
Opportunities for Reading
In line with the New Curriculum for reading, we encourage staff and children to read from a range of authors - modern and classic - to broaden their experiences. Our children read regularly in a range of situations and across the curriculum. This includes reading as a whole class, in small groups and 1:1.
Topic-linked texts are included in our knowledge-based curriculum wherever possible to enhance the children's learning and as a tool for developing them as skilled writers. We recognise the importance of picture books too and link these from F2 to Year 6, including whole school days eg. 'Take One Book'.
Whole school displays emphasise the love we have for reading – staff and children. We want to teach our children something new with every book they read in order to equip them to be independent thinkers, to argue their point using evidence from the text and, most importantly, to take pleasure in what they are reading. There is nothing a teacher wants to hear more than the 'sigh' from the children when the text they are reading ends and they want to read on. Our children and staff have even been found reading in the most 'peculiar' of places!
Mastery for Reading
In our Mastery for Reading curriculum, children work together on a single text, using 'real' books. Although not topic-linked, every text the children read extends their knowledge of the world, complementing the aims of our new knowledge-based curriculum. Whole class sets of books are provided so that the children have access to high-quality texts, deepening and broadening their vocabulary. Modern and classic authors are incorporated as well as poetry.
Texts are read in a combination of modelled reading by the teacher, individual readers or choral reading (children together).
The children and staff love our new approach, and it fits well into our Mastery approach to teaching and learning across the school.