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Great Bowden Academy

Great Bowden Academy

Reading and Phonics

Phonics and Reading at Great Bowden Academy 

Phonics and Early Reading 

At Great Bowden Academy, we place the highest importance on providing all children with a structured approach to learning to read from their very first days with us. In Reception and Key Stage 1, we use a linguistic phonics programme called Sounds-Write. The children learn the ways that sounds in our language are represented by spellings: the programme closely links reading and writing.  

Children, in their daily phonics sessions, are taught conceptual knowledge and skills that enable them to say the sounds and read the words. In Reception, the children learn that: 

  • sounds can be represented by spellings with one letter 

  • that some spellings are written with a double consonant 

  • some spellings are written with two different letters 

Once the children are confident with applying this understanding in their reading and spelling, they learn: 

  • a spelling can represent more than one sound 

  • the most common sounds represented by the target spelling 

  • how to manipulate alternative sounds in and out of words 

This second phase lasts into year 2, and the skills they learn will continue to be applied in their reading and spelling well beyond this time. Throughout the programme, close links are made between reading and spelling. 

A Learn-AT member of staff, who used to teach at Great Bowden Academy, is a Sounds-Write trainer and works closely with the school to provide extra training, coaching and support.

Here's more information about teaching phonics using the Sounds-Write programme: 

Reading at School 

We pride ourselves on our strong reading culture. Reading is at the very heart of our curriculum. Our English lessons are centred around a range of high-quality children’s books. We link spoken language, reading and writing in order that children can become more confident in all areas of the curriculum. 

When our children start to read, the books they read independently at school and at home are closely matched to the sounds they are taught to recognise and use, so that they are confidently able to rehearse the skills they have learned.  We have spent considerable time re-organising the reading scheme books we have in school to closely match the reading graphemes they can recognise and use in their reading. 

Our library is organised into genres so that the children can easily find books that they enjoy reading. Once children are confident, fluent readers (towards the end of Key Stage One and into Key Stage Two) they can choose from a range of literature here. Each classroom also has a reading area and its own stock of books for children to read. 

Children have daily opportunities to read and be read to. Over a few days in school the children will read individually, in pairs, in small groups or as a whole class. The reading curriculum focuses on word reading (decoding words) and understanding of texts (comprehension). We teach these skills alongside each other. Opportunities are planned into our lessons for children to discuss what they are reading, share opinions and explore different responses to texts. 

Reading at Home 

Like anything in life, the more you do something the better you become. Research tells us that one of the best ways to become a good reader is to read more! With this in mind, we ask that children read regularly at home with an adult throughout their time with us. Daily reading is ideal although the minimum we expect is three times each week. Children who read for pleasure go on to do better in many areas of their academic career. It is one of the most significant indicators for success in life beyond school. 

Go Read app

We use a reading app called Go Read to record reading in school and at home.  Each child has a login that can be used for the child and their parents or guardians on the Go Read website or to login to their app.  Pupils can record the books they are reading at home as well as books they bring home from school and parents can add comments about their child's reading for the teacher to see at school.  Teachers can record 1:1 reading with children at school and, during the course of the 2021-2022 academic year, the app will be updated to allow teachers to record group and class reading lessons the children have been part of during the day.

Here's more information about GoRead.

Reading Recommendations 

This is a fabulous website for all types of books, ranging from toddlers to teenagers.  It has recommendations, reviews, latest publications, and award winners.  You can browse by age group and can download extracts.