Approach to the Teaching of Reading

Reading Curriculum in the early years at Tetherdown. 

Reading is highly valued at Tetherdown – it is the key to accessing much of the curriculum and a valuable life-long skill. The teaching and development of reading skills has traditionally been a strength of our school, as shown consistently in both KS1 and KS2 reading SATS scores over the last five years. Much of this success can be attributed to the focus put on nurturing a love of reading, both at home and in school, from Reception right through to Year 6. 

All children read regularly, both with their class teachers and our experienced team of Teaching Assistants. We use three main reading schemes to develop children’s phonic awareness and reading for pleasure. 

Oxford Reading Tree books are in book band stages. Each Oxford Reading Tree stage includes a breadth of reading, with small, gradual steps in levelling to help every child progress. They start with phonics and progress to the Biff, Chip and Kipper stories.  

We blend this scheme with Collins “Big Cat” phonics books that are just as fun and motivating. Children continue to apply decoding skills whilst reading real books by real children’s authors, including Mal Peet and Shoo Rayner. All the books are complete stories or narratives, ensuring that children want to read on. Of course, our children also read and experience daily stories, rhymes, factual and ICT texts. Books are sent home for consolidation, with nightly reading being the expectation for good progress. 

Daily synthetic phonic work is a national requirement. At Tetherdown we closely link phonic skills with successful reading development – a systematic teaching of sounds to help read by blending and spell by segmenting. Children in our Reception and Key Stage One classes take part in daily 20 minute phonic lessons; phonics awareness is continued for pupils in Years 3 and 4 who continue to need support in further building their reading skills. The Read Write Inc. Phonics storybooks, developed by Ruth Miskin, provide structured practice in decoding words and reading through phonics. Each set of books is carefully graded so that children can read them with confidence, as soon as they have learned the sounds linked to the set.