Children in Reception and Key Stage 1 follow the synthetic phonics approach, using the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme. Children also use ‘Jolly Phonics’ actions to go with the sounds to support their learning.
We use a combination of reading schemes. These include Oxford Reading Tree, Floppy’s Phonics, Pearson’s Bug Club and an extensive range of supplementary materials. These give a variety of fiction and non–fiction books to develop children’s reading range. Children learn to read at different rates. Once they finish the reading scheme, we encourage them to become ‘free readers’ and choose their own books.
Guided reading is a daily activity throughout school for all children. Intervention programmes are used to support children in order to secure good progress in reading. This includes Catch Up (Robbie’s Reading) and Early Birds. Classroom intervention includes daily sight vocabulary checks, red and amber readers and tailored small group or 1-1 work as needed.
Assessment of reading skills is essential and we use ongoing teacher assessment, Salford Standardised tests and PM Benchmarking resources. We have recently purchased PM Benchmarking books for our Early Birds children and Smartkids Phonic Phase kits for each class and intervention work.
Our daily phonics sessions are pacey and 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.
Letters and Sounds is divided into six phases, with each phase building on the skills and knowledge of previous 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’s better to just ‘recognise’ them.
Phase one will have begun at home and in nursery. This phase paves the way for the systematic learning of phonics. During this phase especially, we plan activities that will help children to listen attentively to sounds around them, such as the sounds of their toys and to sounds in spoken language. We teach a wide range of nursery rhymes and songs and read good books to and with the children. This helps to increase the number of words they know – their vocabulary – and helps them talk confidently about books. The children learn to identify rhyme and alliteration.
Home School Reading
Children are given a Jolly Phonics sound book from starting Nursery and this continues whilst ever a child needs this level of support. A high frequency (Tricky words) Orange vocabulary book starts for all Reception children and continues until all Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 vocabulary is learnt. For some children this will continue until Year 2 and beyond depending on their individual needs.
Home School readers and a Reading Record book are issued weekly for parents/carers to read with their child and discuss the book at home. Parents/carers are encouraged to make comments about their child’s reading in the Reading Record book which informs our teaching.
We offer a daily lending library in Nursery and “Red” Read at Home boxes throughout school which children are encouraged to borrow from on a daily basis. In main school two parent volunteers encourage children to select appropriate books to take home on a weekly basis from our fiction/non-fiction lending library.
Ways you can support your children at home
Play ‘What do we have in here?’ Put some toys or objects in a bag and pull one out at a time. Emphasise the first sound of the name of the toy or object by repeating it, for example, ‘c c c c – car’, ‘b b b b – box’, ‘ch ch ch ch – chip’.
Say: ‘A tall tin of tomatoes!’ ‘Tommy, the ticklish teddy!’ ‘A lovely little lemon!’ This is called alliteration. Use names, for example, ‘Gurpreet gets the giggles’, ‘Milo makes music’, ‘Naheema’s nose’.
Teach them tongue twisters e.g ‘Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers’.