Reading at New Islington Free School

Reading and Phonics

At New Islington Free School, reading has a high profile and we aim to inspire children to become eager and confident readers. We introduce children to a wealth of quality children’s literature, every class has dedicated story time, and books are often used as a stimulus for work in all curriculum areas.

We teach our youngest children to read using 'Oxford Reading Tree', a carefully structured reading scheme which offers a range of fiction and non-fiction books at every level. In school, children take part in regular 'guided reading' sessions, in which a group of children share a book with their teacher. They may discuss the plot, characters and writing techniques used by the author.

We value the contribution parents make to the teaching of reading and phonics. Every child has a reading record, which charts their reading progress. Teachers offer ongoing guidance, praise and reassurance to parents about their child’s reading. As well as the reading record and informal discussions, teachers report to parents about reading progress during parents' evenings twice a year and in annual reports.

From Year 2, children move onto 'Accelerated Reader', a programme which develops their independent reading skills, comprehension and motivation for reading. After each book they read, pupils take a short online Accelerated Reader quiz, which provides detailed information for their teacher. Children can use the ‘Accelerated Reader’ Bookfinder website at home to search for books - from school, the library or bookshops - which are precisely matched to their reading ability and interests. This approach encourages our children to enjoy reading even more, to read more often, to think positively about reading and to see a clear link between reading and their successes.

Phonics is taught systematically throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. We follow 'Letters and Sounds', the Government guidance on phonics teaching, and plan fun and interactive lessons to engage young children. Children move onto our spelling programme once they have a firm foundation in phonic knowledge.