Reading and phonics
Your child’s reading journey begins in EYFS, firstly through sharing a love of books. Both classes have an open and inviting book corner for children to self-select books to read, share and enjoy. These consist of both fiction and non-fiction books, comics and magazines, aiming to widen children’s experiences and love of reading material. Children will have a book read to them, at least once a day, often at lunch and home time, to share ideas together, learning basic words such as author, illustrator and title, and sharing ideas.
Children will take part in a daily, 20 minutes phonics session, teaching systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) and using Bug club books. This programme consists of 6 phases, and most children in EYFS will work through phases 1 to 4.
In phonics, children will learn letter sounds, digraphs and trigraphs. They will also learn the skills of oral blending and segmenting as a prelude to reading. Children will practise these skills throughout the session and will bring home activities related to the stage they are working at, for example games to support oral blending e.g. I say c-a-t, cat, you say c-a-t, cat, and word cards to read and support visual blending e.g. CVC flashcards to blend the letter sounds to read the words. When children start to become confident with oral and visual blending, they will move on to reading books. We follow the Bug Club reading scheme and children will bring home a phonetically decodable book which matches the sounds they are learning in phonics that week. These will be changed once children have mastered reading their book, which is usually over a minimum of three reads. It is vital children get the opportunity to read and develop their confidence over time with their reading book, in order to develop fluency when reading. Within the phonics sessions, children will learn high frequency and tricky words such as I, no, go, to, and the, related to the phonics phase. These words will be learnt by sight to encourage a rapid recall when reading.
Each child will take home a weekly ‘sharing book’. These story books are for sharing with an adult at home to develop a love for reading with others. Children can discuss the story line and characters, give their opinions and thoughts, make comments and predictions and learn early inference skills. Children explore rhyme, alliteration and nonsense words throughout their reading journey in EYFS and a book of the week linked to our topic broadens their reading experience.
At Beckers Green Primary School, we teach reading through daily phonics lessons, using a systematic and synthetic approach using Bug Club books. We are currently introducing the Little Wandle scheme and this should be fully operational by September 2023. Parents will be invited to workshops to help familiarise themselves with this new phonics and reading scheme.
Phonics is taught by grouping letters (graphemes) together according to their sound (phoneme). By doing this, the children are able to identify when certain graphemes are used. For example, the ay sound has numerous graphemes, for example ai, a-e, eigh. The children will learn where these sounds are likely to be positioned. This helps improve their spelling and overall understanding of the English language.
The children will also have a daily tricky word lesson where they revise previously learnt words before being introduced to a new one. Once they have learnt all the tricky words, they focus on the common exception words.
Our reading scheme is designed to encourage the children to practise reading words with the sounds that they are learning. This means that it can be tailored to each child. The children are given a paper copy of a book, as well as access to the online Bug Club books. Their reading records are looked at daily and each child is heard at least weekly by an adult in the classroom. Their books are changed once they have read it at least twice to a fluent level. Once the children have a secure grasp of all sounds, they move onto Accelerated Reader books. This computer-based programme enables children to complete a quiz on the content of the book they have just read.
As well as their reading book, the children will also take home a library book which is one that they will choose. This book will be changed weekly and is designed to develop pleasure for reading.
Reading skills lessons in year 2 focus on a text linked to the class topic. These lessons include the opportunity for all children to build fluency through the use of choral and echo reading. They also teach specific skills of reading such as inference and prediction as well as a strong focus on new vocabulary.
In Key Stage Two, we teach reading through Reading Skills lessons. Reading Skills lessons aim to cover the skills deemed necessary to become active, engaged and skilled readers. They use a range of class texts - often linked to the class topics - and other quality texts to ensure a range of genres (including poetry and non-fiction). Fluency practise will always form part of the lesson and children will take part in a variety of whole class activities practising a wide variety of skills such as:
- Skimming and scanning
- Navigating texts
- Exploring vocabulary
- Sequencing events and summarising
- Making inferences
- Justifying opinions
- Making comparisons
- Activating prior knowledge
There will be opportunities throughout the week for children to read for pleasure, this time can also be used to access the Accelerated Reader programme, where children can quiz on the content of their personal reading books. This computer-based programme has thousands of quizzes based on the content of many well-known books and it assesses children’s comprehension skills. The majority of the books in school (and books you may have at home) are available on this system.
We feel it is very important that children share their love of reading and books with other children in school. Every few weeks children are invited to visit another class and share their favourite books. Children are encouraged to ask questions and we hope children will aspire to read books from different authors. Year 5 and 6 also provide Reading prefects, who listen to younger children read during lunchtime reading club.
Our new school library uses Libresoft Library software and is open every lunchtime for children to browse. Classes are also timetabled for weekly visits. Our school PTA regularly provide funding to keep this library stocked with the latest books from a wide range of authors.
Follow the link below to accelerated reader where your children can quiz on the books they have read:
Please see our reading spine below which shows our recommendations for each year group and highlights the books that will be used for reading skills lessons and shared with the class for each topic.