How reading is taught
Reading starts with phonics and we use a synthetic phonics programme for teaching reading. This method teaches the children the 44 phonemes (sounds) in the English language, linking letters or groups of letters with words. The children in Years R – 2 have a daily phonics session in which the children are grouped according to their current need. They begin with their early phonics and then this is built on, introducing blending and segmenting words and then learning to read ‘tricky words’ which do not use phonics. The reading chest website can offer advice and support about synthetic phonics
The children all work in a focused Guided Reading group at least once a week. This is planned according to the reading level the children are working at and will involve decoding, comprehension and language activities. During Guided Reading the children will also carry out independent reading tasks which may include using Bug Club activities or practising phonic and spelling activities. Children read individually to an adult in school at least once a week. We are also lucky to have helpers who hear readers in school. They will date and initial this in your child’s reading diary. Reading activities will happen at many other times, linking their skills through cross curricular learning. An example of this may be researching a topic using information books or online searches. Children will also take part in shared reading sessions which takes place as a whole class and incidental reading over the day such as reading signs, labels and other environmental print.
We use a range of books from different reading schemes which go from pink (band 1) to lime (band 11). The children then move onto ‘free reader’ books. These books cover fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Teachers assess children’s reading skills carefully and will decide when it is appropriate for children to move up to the next stage of reading. These assessments are made on the fluency, independence and understanding of a range of texts. Sometimes some reading books will seem much easier than others. This is to be expected and serves to boost confidence and reinforce prior learning.
As every child’s reading skills will differ, the reading material that they take home will vary. For example, they may be reading a book that has several chapters and will want to keep hold of that book for a few days. Another child may read their book in one night and wish to change it the next day. Both of these options are fine. We just ask that reading is noted in reading diaries so that we can monitor what books have been read at home. The reading books are located in the school library and can be changed at the start of the school day. Key Stage 1 children can do this with their parent or carer; Key Stage 2 children are welcome to do this independently.
How you can help at home
Read read read! Your support at home is invaluable practice throughout your child’s time in Primary School. You can help in the following ways:
Please support your child by reading their school reading book with them. For children in Years R – 2, we ask that you hear them read five days a week. This only need be a couple of pages, but regular practice is key to a developing reader. For children in Years 3 – 4, we expect children to be reading aloud to an adult at home at least three times a week and hope that they read independently every day. In Years 5 – 6, we expect children to read aloud to an adult at least twice a week, but to be reading independently every day. All reading that is done at home must be noted in the reading diary and initialled by an adult. We monitor reading at home closely.
Each child has a Bug Club log in which enables them to a wealth of online reading resources and games. If you are unsure of your log in please ask your class teacher.
Visiting your local library is a great way of widening your child’s reading experiences… and it is FREE! Any reading material that gets your child motivated to read is fine. Open them up to a range of texts such as magazines, newspapers and football annuals.
Read to your child. No one is too old for a bedtime story! Sharing a book with your child is precious. It is important that children hear you read too and listen to books as well as reading them independently. This is also a good way to develop comprehension skills by discussing what you can see in pictures and talking about what you have read.
Questions you can ask at home whilst sharing books
- What can you tell me about this book so far?
- What sort of book is this? (Poetry, fiction, non-fiction)
- What do you think will happen next?
- Can you tell me about the characters in the story? Why has the character behaved in that way?
- Does this book remind you any others that you have read before? How are they similar?
- What can you see happening in the picture?
- What image comes into your head when you read this text?
- How do you use this punctuation as you read? (Full stop, italics, bold text, inverted comma, exclamation marks)
- What was the funniest/scariest moment in the book?
- What descriptive words has the author used that you would use in your own story?
- Does this book have a contents page/glossary/index? (Non-fiction books) What do you use them for?
- The questions bookmarks below can be printed out for handy reminders of helpful questions.