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St Paul's Catholic Primary School

Alive in Jesus


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Teaching Early Reading

Guided Reading is a model of reading that provides opportunities for direct instruction in the skills of reading and enables children to apply these skills for themselves with their own copy of the text. During independent reading, all of the children read simultaneously with the teacher “tapping-in” to one child at a time in order to monitor application of the taught reading skills and to provide further scaffolding and support as required.

Key features of effective Guided Reading lessons
* Children read fully decodable books matched to their phonics phase and reading fluency
* Children are actively taught and supported to use phonics as the prime approach to decoding, avoiding
the use of other strategies
* Children are given opportunities to practise the phonics knowledge and skills required for decoding an
unfamiliar text prior to reading
* Children practise at reading the same book several times with an adult to ensure skills are transferred
and embedded before taking it home
* Books shared with parents at home are familiar decodable books that children have already been taught
to read in school (other books are for sharing i.e. read to children by adults)
* Lessons are organised to ensure maximum capacity for adult support with early reading; all members of
staff understand and value the strategic approach
* Rigorous teaching of comprehension in addition to, and separately from decoding to reduce cognitive
* Lessons are well-planned, well-prepared and well-resourced
* The approach to early reading including the use of fully decodable books, is
understood and supported by parents

Decodable Books
Decodable books are books that are matched to a child’s current phonic phase so that they only include GPCs and tricky (common exception) words that have been taught and are already familiar. This ensures children are successful when they apply existing phonic knowledge and skill to the text and do not have to resort to using other inefficient “clues” such as the picture or the grammatical context.

Early reading books are organised with a progressive content matched to Letters and Sounds (our chosen SSP). As Letters and Sounds does not have its own reading scheme, we use Floppy’s Phonics which we have selected carefully from the published options to ensure that children will not encounter grapheme combinations and CEW that have not been taught and practised during early reading practise.

Books for Guided Reading should be pitched at 90% fluency. This means that children will be able to read 9 out of 10 words “on sight” and only need to slow down to decode 1 word in every 10. Children should have achieved at least 95% fluency before a book is taken home to share with parents.

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the children all work in adult led ability groups following the progressive content of each lesson according to their stage. Once the reading skills are embedded and comprehension secured, the children take this book home to share with their families and celebrate their reading from Wednesday until the next Wednesday and the cycle continues.



Progression of Teaching Input in Reception – Getting Ready for Reading

Teaching Sequence for Early Reading Lessons – Gaining Confidence with Reading

(Year One ARE + Phase 3 Yellow Band / Phase 4 Blue Band) 

This model and lesson structure is then carried through Year 1 and Year 2 (lesson 1 – background knowledge and decoding, lesson 2 – fluency and prosody, lesson 3 – comprehension) as the difficulty of the texts increase. The children move onto Collins Big Cat and recording their comprehension tasks in line with KS2 structure and practice.