Reading and Phonics
Our daily phonics sessions in Reception and KS1 are fun, involving lots of speaking, listening and games. The emphasis is on children’s active participation. They learn to use their phonic knowledge for reading and writing activities and in their independent play. In KS1 children access phonics sessions at the phase that they are working at and also take part in year group streamed phonics sessions which are planned around age related expectations.
Children in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 follow the synthetic phonics approach, using resources based on the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme including Phonics Play. It’s an approach to teaching phonics in which individual letters or letter sounds are blended to form groups of letters or sounds, and those groups are then blended to form complete words.
Letters and Sounds is divided into six phases, with each phase building on the skills and knowledge of previous learning. There are no big leaps in learning. Children have time to practise and rapidly expand their ability to read and spell words. They are also taught to read and spell ‘tricky words’ – words with spellings that are unusual or that children have not yet been taught. These include the words ‘to’, ‘was’, ‘said’ and ‘the’ – you can’t really break the sounds down for such words so it is better to just ‘recognise’ them.
Throughout Nursery and at the beginning of Reception is a focus on developing children’s listening skills. This helps to support and train children in awareness of sounds. In Phase 1 phonics, children are taught about the differences between sounds they hear in their daily lives (Environmental sounds) as well as other sounds such as voice sounds and body percussion (e.g. clapping and tapping their feet). Children have the opportunity to go on listening walks, play and identify different instruments as well as play games like ‘I Spy’. Later in Phase One, individual letter sounds are gradually introduced. This phase is intended to develop children’s listening, vocabulary and speaking skills. Rhyme and rhythm is also a key element of this phase.
In Reception, children build on developing their awareness of sound beginning the year with a strong emphasis on rhyme and rhythm through quality rhyming books from key authors. Children are taught daily phonics in mixed ability groups, with extra support groups for children who need longer to practise. As children become increasingly aware and confident at discriminating between sounds, Phase Two is taught. This starting with individual sounds moving onto initial digraphs (two letters making one sound e.g. ch). Most children are confident within Phase Three at the end of Reception and many are working within Phase Four in order that quality teaching of Phase 4 and 5 in Year 1 will prepare them for the Phonics screening at the end of Year 1. EYFS phonics teaching is supported by the teaching sequence in ‘Letters and Sounds’, the actions from ‘Jolly Phonics’ and the ICT games through ‘Phonics Play’.
We use a combination of reading schemes. These include Oxford Reading Tree, Project X, Tree tops Graphic Novels, Ginn, PM Starters and Rigby Star. These give a variety of fiction and non–fiction books to develop children’s reading range. Children learn to read at different rates and their progress is carefully tracked. In Reception and KS1, children are regularly heard read by staff and are also supported by our Reading Teaching Assistants. Children throughout School, also take part in carefully planned guided reading sessions.
In School, we place a great deal of emphasis on reading because we recognise how important it is to a child’s learning.
The amount a child reads makes a difference not just to development of reading ability, but to the growth of vocabulary and general knowledge. Books are the source of most of the new words that children learn once they are in school and research shows that children who read more have wider vocabularies and are better learners. We encourage this in School through a range of incentives and awards including Bronze and Platinum prizes.
Reading For Gold
As part of our Whole School Reading Challenge we now have special certificates and book rewards to encourage our children to read as many books as they can,Use the Home Reading Record and encourage your child to tick off on the back page when they have read a whole book and they will start moving towards getting Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond. Gold, Platinum and Diamond Certificates come with a special prize of a book. So what are you waiting for? Go For It!
Research has shown that the more you read the better you will get. Confident reading is also the key to doing well in all other areas of the curriculum and will give you a much greater chance of future success. Reading as much as you can is important whatever age you are.
Please encourage your child to read with you every night at home and once at the weekend too. Write a comment and sign in their Home Reading Record to let us know that your child has read.
Don't forget the Home Reading Record has lots of handy tips and comment ideas to help you get the most out of reading with your child on a daily basis.
Please read any comments made by the Class Teachers and Teaching Assistants,as this will help you to know how your child is progressing with their reading on a regular basis.
“The more you read,
the more you know.
The more you know,
the smarter you grow.
The smarter you grow,
the stronger your voice,
when speaking your mind
or making your choice.”