How We Teach Reading
Learning to read is one of the most important things your child will achieve at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.
At Little Reddings we believe in developing a reading culture throughout the school by creating welcoming book areas in classrooms and raising the profile of reading through a print rich environment, attractive book displays and promoting the written word at all times.
We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we work hard to make sure children develop a love of books as well as learning to read.
Approach to phonics
At Little Reddings Primary School all pupils in Nursery to Year 2 follow the Letters and Sounds scheme for phonics. This programme teaches children to decode text phonetically by introducing them to different phonemes (sounds) step by step. As the children learn their sounds they also learn to blend them to read unfamiliar words. Nursery pupils start to cover Phase 1 from Letters and Sounds throughout their time with us. During Reception the children begin to work on Phase 2 and move into Phase 3. Children in Years 1 and 2 work on Phase 4, Phase 5 and Phase 6 (revising previous Phases if necessary). Teaching of phonics also incorporates the English Appendix 1: Spelling. Some children in Key Stage 2 continue to follow the scheme when it is necessary; either through Letters and Sounds or PiXL Primary Code.
Approach to reading
Teachers regularly read to the children, so the children get to know and love all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. This helps to extend children’s vocabulary and comprehension, as well as supporting their writing. Children read from a variety of schemes which have been banded according to reading ability. Early Years pupils begin with Lilac Books which have no words and encourage discussion about the pictures and the story as a whole. Pupils complete the scheme starting from Pink through to Lime. The teachers check the children’s reading skills regularly so that they can ensure the children have consolidated and developed their reading skills within that stage. Once this has been achieved, the children are progressed onto the next stage.
When a pupil completes Lime, the class teacher moves the pupil onto being an ‘Accelerated Reader’.’ At this point the pupils are able to read from a selection of banded books that have comprehension tests attached to the end of them.
All children take part in Guided Reading sessions as well as individual reading. Children are regularly assessed to ensure reading books are matched to their ability to decode and comprehend.
How long will it take to learn to read well?
Every child is different and children will learn to read at different speeds. By the end of Year 2, most children will be able to read aloud books that are at the right level for his or her age. In Year 3 and beyond, we concentrate more on helping children to understand what they are reading, although this work begins
very early on. Remember, all children are individual so some children take a little longer to learn to put sounds together to read a word, e.g. c-a-t to make the word ‘cat’.
What can parents/carers do to help?
Parents are an integral part in the children’s ‘reading journey’. We encourage children to read at home on a daily basis and communication between school and home is recorded in a ‘Reading Record’. We invite parents/ members of the community to come and read with children both individually and as a group.
You can help your child to sound out the letters in words and then to ‘blend’ the sounds together to make a whole word. Try not to refer to the letters by their names, help your child to focus on the sounds. Short frequent sessions are better for children’s concentration. Sometimes your child might bring home a picture book that they know well. Please don’t say, ‘This is too easy.’ Instead, encourage your child to tell you the story out loud; ask them questions about things that happen or what they think about some of the characters in the story. Make reading fun! Remember to keep reading to your child. They will come across far more adventurous words than they will in their early reading books. You will be helping them to grow a vast vocabulary and understand the meaning of different stories etc. It will also encourage them to love books and want to read more! If you have any further queries about how we teach reading, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Reading Scheme Information
No one reading scheme will provide everything that all children need to learn to read successfully. At Little Reddings we use a wide range of different schemes to ensure breadth and to allow for the development of comprehension skills.
The children are also encouraged to read non-scheme books at both home and at school. We have divided the initial reading books into phonics books (where the majority of the text is decodable) and colour-banded books. The phonics books are written using a graded vocabulary, to reinforce children’s learning of synthetic phonics. They allow practice of decoding new words and introduce other skills required for reading such as recognition of ‘tricky’ words. Many children learn to decode words very quickly, but often do so without understanding the content of the text. Comprehension of the text is vital. The controlled vocabulary used by reading schemes helps to ensure that this knowledge is developed.
Some of the schemes that we use include: Phonics Books Floppy Phonics Jelly and Bean Songbirds Dandelion Readers Big Cat Phonics Get Reading Right Soundstart Rigby Star Phonics Traditional Tales Read Write Inc, Jolly Readers (Jolly Phonics)
Colour-Banded Books Collins Big Cat Oxford Reading Tree Spotty Zebra Rigby Star National Geographic PM readers PM stories PM photo stories PM gems PM+ Snapdragons Storyworlds Project X I am Reading Treetops All Stars Colour Young Puffin Young Corgi Bananas books (green/red/yellow/blue).
Phonics and Spelling at Little Reddings
The children follow a synthetic phonics programme to help them achieve reading, writing and spelling success. To support the children we use the phonics resource ‘Letters and Sounds’ published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to develop their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children.
Letters and Sounds follows six phases:
This phase concentrates on developing children’s speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in Phase Two. The emphasis during Phase One is to get children attuned to sounds and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills. Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.
In Phase Two, letters and their sounds are introduced one at a time. A set of letters is taught each week, in the following sequence: Set 1: s, a, t, p Set 2: i, n, m, d Set 3: g, o, c, k Set 4: ck, e, u, r Set 5: h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss
In Phase Three twenty-five new graphemes are introduced (one at a time). Set 6: j, v, w, x Set 7: y, z, zz, qu Consonant digraphs: ch, sh, th, ng Vowel digraphs: ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er
In Phase 4, no new graphemes are introduced. The main aim of this phase is to consolidate the children’s knowledge and to help them learn to read and spell words which have adjacent consonants, such as twig, shrug and lamp.
In Phase Five, children will learn more graphemes and phonemes. For example, they already know ai as in rain, but now they will be introduced to ay as in day and a-e as in make. Alternative pronunciations for graphemes will also be introduced, e.g. ea in tea, head and break.
At this stage children should be able to spell words phonemically although not always correctly. In Phase Six the main aim is for children to become more fluent readers and more accurate spellers. In Key Stage Two, the children follow the Twinkl Spelling scheme which provides the children with further practice in the complexities of the English alphabetic system to help them meet the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum for England and Wales.