Research shows that a child who reads every day does better at every stage of their education. We see this in school, where the children who read the most, make the most progress. We are very fortunate at our school to have the support of families and community partners who help promote the importance of regular reading. This is reflected in the results we achieve.
We are committed to teaching our children to become skilled readers who develop a comprehensive understanding of words, language and texts as they progress through school. We use a range of strategies to develop a love of reading so that children can read for purpose and pleasure.
It adds up
If you read for just 15 minutes per day, in one year you will have read over a million words!
Phonics in Early Years and Key Stage 1
In class 1 children have daily phonics sessions. We follow the Letters and Sounds programme to support the systematic teaching of phonics. Children begin the Letters and Sounds programme at the start of Reception year and continue across Key Stage 1. Every child between Reception and Year 2 has a 30 minute phonics session every morning.
The Letters and Sounds programme is separated into six Phases – your child’s teacher will be able to tell you which Phase your child is currently working on.
You will find links at the bottom of this page for more information about each phase with a selection of resources (word cards, games & record sheets) which you can use to support your child’s learning.
If you require any further support, please come into school and speak with your child’s class teacher or our Phonics Leader, Mrs Newey.
We hope the following glossary is useful to you when using our Letters and Sounds pages. Always feel free to come in and talk to us if you require any further support.
Blending is the skill of joining sounds together to read words. Children are taught to say the separate sounds in a word and to then blend them together to decode the word.
A digraph is a sound that is represented by two letters e.g. the sound ‘a’ in rain is represented by the digraph ‘ai’.
A grapheme is a visual representation of a sound e.g. a letter or a group of letters. Some sounds are represented by a single letter whilst others are represented by more than one letter.
A phoneme is a unit of sound e.g. the word ‘cat’ contains three phonemes; c – a – t.
Segmenting is the opposite of blending. Children are taught to segment a word into its separate sounds in order to spell it.
- split digraph
A split digraph is a digraph that is separated by other letters e.g. the sound ‘a’ in the word take is represented by the split digraph a-e.
Reading in Early Years and Key Stage 1
Children are taught individual sounds, when reading they say each of the sounds and when they are ready they ‘blend’ the sounds to form a word. For example, c-a-t – cat.
For a child to enjoy reading, they need to be able to access texts at their level. The books that children use are matched to their phonic knowledge, ensuring all words are decodable. We use a range of books that are matched to children’s phonic knowledge but mainly use the Rising Stars reading scheme.
Once a child is showing the ability to segment and blend sounds they will be sent home an individual reading book. It is important that reading with your child is a positive experience, so please make sure this is done at a time when they are not too tired. It is a good idea to read the book more than once so that your child becomes more fluent at segmenting and blending sounds to form words. Children have an opportunity to change their books twice a week.
Alongside this, all children have an opportunity to read with an adult in school. This may be 1:1 or in a small group. Children will read the same book three times. This is to develop:
- Support for Children
If a child is struggling to keep up with the phonics taught in school they will have an opportunity to revisit the sound they are learning in an afternoon. This is a short session with the class teacher or teaching assistant to revise and practise the sound. Your child’s class teacher will keep you informed if your child is struggling to retain and apply the sounds so that you can practise some phonics games at home too.
Reading in Key Stage 2
In key stage 2, children have opportunity to read and examine texts in their daily English lessons. English lessons are planned around the use of high-quality texts and often linked to the overarching theme for that half term.
Specific reading skills are taught and practised in guided reading sessions. Guided reading is taught in small groups with an adult, according to the reading ability of the child. While reading skills are being taught explicitly, the reading content is relevant, inspiring and purposeful and becomes the driver for developing wider subject knowledge.
All children in key stage 2 have their own individual reading book. Children can select a book from a wide range of genres in our school library. We use ‘key performance indicators’ (see assessment page) to monitor the progress children are making in reading. Once a pupil has finished reading a book, they write a book review which we keep records of.
We expect that children read at home for 20 minutes a night. This could be on their own or to an adult.
Phase 1 is the very start of your child’s journey. It is all about listening to sounds and learning to discriminate between different sounds. The Phase focuses on sounds in everyday life rather than sounds in words. Phase 1 lays the essential foundations for all the learning that follows. If your child cannot identify individual sounds in the everyday world and differentiate between them e.g. a car horn and a boiling kettle, then they will struggle to begin hearing the separate sounds that make up words.
Letters are not introduced until Phase 2. If you have a pre-school child or a child early in Reception then you will find these activities particularly useful. If your child is a little older but struggles to hear the ‘separate sounds in words’ then you may also find it useful to return to some of these activities.