At Cross Farm we have an important role to play! We strive for every child to be a confident reader. We aim to foster an intrinsic ‘love of reading’ through experiences such as reading focused Marvellous Mondays, author and illustrator visits, Mystery readers. Reading is taught following the National Curriculum and the Early Years Foundation Stage expectations. Reading is an essential life skill that provides access to the experiences of people from different cultures and times. The children will learn reading skills through different genres including fiction and non-fiction. We use Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) to develop the essential literacy skills of phonics, spelling and reading. The school’s aim is to encourage the development of a literate, articulate child. Children will acquire good reading skills in order to access the information that will support their development in all curriculum areas. Through listening to and talking about stories, children can talk about their ideas and feelings and lose themselves in books. Our Reading policy outlines the importance of a balance between word reading and language comprehension skills with high engagement of dialogic talk between adults and children.

At Cross Farm we use ELS a systematic synthetic phonics programme mapped from Reception to the end of Year 1. Phonic sounds are taught daily. We use a multi-sensory approach to our phonics. Encompassing visual, auditory and kinesthetic activities. In Reception the children are exposed to many listening games and rhymes, developing phonological awareness throughout the year. From the moment the children start Reception the children start on the ELS programme and this is carried right through to the end of year 1. If children require continued support this is carried out via keep up groups.

To promote language comprehension, core texts have been chosen based on Pie Corbett’s Reading spine and the children’s interest. We create an environment that promotes a love of reading, such as focus on an author, voting stations for the end of the day book, a library that celebrates authors and genres and there are reading nooks throughout the school. They focus on rehearsal, widening vocabulary, pattern and rhyme. There are ‘Talk for writing’ resources linked to the texts to promote story telling in both the indoor and outside classrooms. As some children arrive in Reception with gaps in their language and communication skills we believe that language comprehension should be taught alongside Word Reading throughout their journey at Cross Farm so they have the best chance of understanding texts and developing their love of reading.

We use three skills of retrieve, interpret and choice to teach language comprehension with a clear focus on the rich vocabulary in texts as research shows that the number of words a child has heard and can speak by the age of 3 is a predictor of their later language development. As they move through the school they learn about choice and apply inference and deduction to gain a deeper understanding of texts. We use images to support these skills across the school.

• Children leave Cross Farm talking about the books they love.
• Children blend sounds in words, noticing tricky parts.
• Children use a range of strategies to work out the meaning of texts. Phonemic awareness, phonic knowledge, word recognition and graphic knowledge, grammatical awareness, contextual understanding - and comprehension.

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