Phonics and Reading

Our aim is to bring language alive for our children so that they develop a life-long love of reading and writing. We provide a broad and balanced English curriculum which inspires pupils’ literacy skills through our REAL project approach.

At Alverton School we use a systematic approach to teach children to read. Daily phonics sessions, taken from the Government’s Letters and Sounds programme, begin in the nursery where children are taught how to be good speakers and listeners and to make and differentiate between sounds. In the EYFS and KS1 children continue with daily phonics lessons, using the synthetic phonics approach which teaches them the pure sounds that individual and groups of letters make. We make use of a range of engaging resources and internet programs, to ensure that these sessions are fun and interactive for pupils.  At the same time as learning sounds, children are taught how to blend them together for reading and to segment them for spelling. These skills are practised in the variety of reading schemes we use at Alverton School which are chosen to help inspire children’s enthusiasm for reading. We primarily use books from Oxford Reading Tree and Collins Big Cat as well as some from the Storyworlds, Lighthouse, Rigby Star and Barrington Stokes schemes. These books are grouped into coloured “bands” which are closely matched to pupils’ current phonic attainment, allowing them to consolidate their existing skills whilst practising new ones.

Whilst we maintain a clear focus on giving all children the skills to read effectively, we are also committed to inspiring a love of reading in our pupils. Books, stories and poems are shared daily and our teachers make use of a variety of engaging texts across the curriculum. Books are taken home so that parents can help by listening to, and reading with, their children and we encourage children and parents to make use of our Woodland themed library. At Alverton School our aim is for pupils to become confident readers who engage with, and enjoy, the widest possible range of books and other reading material. We employ a range of schemes to encourage and reward children’s breadth and frequency of reading.

Spoken Language forms an integral part of English teaching and learning but is also evident across the curriculum.  The children enjoy role-play and drama activities, culminating in Class Assemblies, Christmas productions and our fabulous annual show by the older children. Our very impressive Parliament and School Council help pupils develop their confidence in public speaking and we take part each year in the Youth Speaks competition.

Teaching children the skills to express themselves in writing is a priority in all year groups. Pupils learn how to write a huge range of texts from labels and lists to newspaper reports and explanations and these are all linked to our REAL projects. They have opportunities to use the skills that they have been taught across the curriculum and for real purpose, bringing meaning to their learning.