Phonics and Reading

At Ayios Nikolaos Primary School our aim is to teach our pupils to become confident, independent and reflective readers who are able to read from a wide range of texts for a variety of purposes and enjoyment. Books in our school offer a range of fiction and non-fiction topics that children find both familiar and appealing.  We deliver a structured and progressive whole school approach to the teaching of reading.

Phonics is taught using the government recommended ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme – a fast paced, clearly progressive phonics programme that takes children through six phases of phonic knowledge and skills. Phonics is taught in daily twenty minute sessions across the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One. In order to make phonic learning relevant to all children they are grouped according to the phase that they are working within, and are regularly assessed to ensure that we continue to meet each child’s needs. This is built on in Key Stage 2 through a diagnostically assessed spelling programme.

As part of English units, children experience a full range of text types. In this they will have immersion to the unit through a whole class reading focus.  Guided reading sessions model and develop reading skills outlined in the National Curriculum.  Texts used are challenging and high quality to stimulate interest and widen the range of reading, including some of our classic literary heritage.

Individual reading books are chosen from our core reading scheme. This includes a full range of genres using several readings schemes to provide a broad and varied reading curriculum.  The graded colour bands match a child’s reading ability and children are encouraged to read a full range of texts, including those that they may not be familiar with.  Children are assessed regularly using a standardised approach across the school to ensure that they are reading at an appropriately challenging level.

All curriculum subjects and ILPs (Imaginative Learning Projects) are also supplemented by quality supporting texts. These are available in classes allowing children independence in furthering their learning within any subject.

Children are able to access wider reading opportunities independently through our extensive, high quality library. As well as loaning books in addition to their book band text, here children also have the opportunity to participate in many challenges such as ‘A-Z of Reading’, ‘100 Books to Read in Primary’ and ‘Extreme Reading’. Key Stage Two children can also access the ‘Reading Cloud’ – our library online platform – to write reviews, blog about reading and manage their accounts.

Ayios Nikolaos Primary School is committed to offering a rich curriculum, wider opportunities in reading and also encouraging learners to be leaders. We have hosted several visiting authors who have inspired our children both as readers and writers.  We are also currently engaging with King Richard Secondary School on a paired reading programme between Year 8 and Year 5 children, which aims to see peers encouraging, supporting and helping further progress in reading.

Reading ‘Stay & Play’ session for Foundation Stage families

KS2 paired reading programme with children from KRS Secondary School  (with quotes from the Ayios Nikolaos School children after week 3 of the programme)

“I like it.  My partner has really good humour. I’m learning lots of new vocabulary.  Today I learned the word ‘squabbling’ as another word for arguing.  My reading partner explained it to me.”

“I’m really enjoying it.  It is helping me to learn things that I didn’t know before.  It’s improving my reading capability – my understanding and fluency of reading.”

“I feel really comfortable with my reading partner – he just gets me.  I’ve definitely gained more vocabulary.”

“I’m going to ask my mum to get me more advanced books.  I’m learning a lot from them.  I’m learning a lot of new words, like ‘nevertheless’.  I ask my reading partner questions and he handles them really well.”

“I’m feeling really happy and good for myself.  I’ve learned a lot of vocabulary to try and use in my writing.  I’ve already tried some in my writing – particularly description and sentence types.”

“I feel so much more confident about reading.  If I don’t understand something I used to just carry on.  My reading partner helps me to go back if I make a mistake.”

“I’ve learned the word ‘engaged’ today.  The expression my reading partner used really helped me to work it out and understand the meaning.  She also explains WHY she uses expression when she does.  I think I will now be able to choose a higher level book.”

“I always read really quickly.  I’ve learned that I don’t need to.  My reading partner slows me down and I’m now taking in more.”

World Book Day 2020!

We dressed up as our favorite book characters from a whole range of stories and everyone, from the youngest in FS1 to the oldest (member of staff!), made a real effort. This year’s theme was a Book Bistro.  Here we visited our transformed library to choose a book from the menu based only on a short blurb.  We were encouraged to try something new and share our thoughts by completing a book review bookmark to stay with the book when we returned it to the library.  We had our parade, where Colonel Sarah and her team chose the winning costumes.  We were also very lucky the Children’s Books Cyprus came to give us all a free book!  What a wonderful day, we love to read!