Reading & Phonics
Reading at school
At Churchtown we want our children to become enthusiastic, engaged readers and to develop a life-long love of books. We introduce the children to a range of good quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry books through our whole-class, core-text approach to teaching reading, during their weekly guided reading session and through individual reading with a member of staff.
In the early stages of reading, we teach children to decode words using phonic skills as their main approach, alongside which we teach sight vocabulary. Once grasped, the focus for developing reading is on understanding and comprehension.
In Reception and Key Stage 1 your child will read twice a week, once a week during their guided reading session, then an individual read with either a teacher or teaching assistant. During Key Stage 2, chidlren read once a week in either a guided read session or an individaul read. Developing readers will read more often until they become fluent, independent readers.
We use a number of reading schemes to enthuse chidlren with their reading. These include Oxford Reading Tree, Project X, Collins Big Cat, Jelly and Bean.
reading at home
Developing readers will bring home levelled books (according to their stage of development). Independent readers will bring home a self-selected book from their class reading corner or corridor book shelves. Please encourage your child to change their book regularly so they can read each evening; speak to the class teacher if this is not happening.
Your child should be reading at home for 15 minutes or more each day. Your support is hugely important for developing their reading skills, confidence and understanding. Even if your child is an independent reader, it is still important for you to read with them, listen to them and discuss the books they are reading.
How to support developing readers at home:
- Try to listen to and read with your child regularly, 10 minutes a day is better than a longer session once a week. It can help if a regular time is set aside so that it becomes part of a routine.
- Find a quiet place to share books where you can feel comfortable and relaxed – learning to read needs to be a positive experience - build their confidence by praising their efforts.
- Encourage your child to have a go at reading words, by using phonic skills to read any unfamiliar words, and by working on building up their sight vocabulary.
- Talk about the meanings of words to help to develop your child’s understanding and use of language.
- Encourage your child to read a range of texts such as stories, newspapers, comics, labels, poetry, non-fiction, tickets, signs, leaflets etc.
- Read books to your child as well; if they see you enjoying a book it will encourage and motivate them to want to learn to read.
- Ask them questions about the text to develop their understanding.
Questions to Develop Understanding:
Where/when does the story take place?
Who are the characters in the story?
What happens in this part of the story?
Tell me one/two things that the main character does in this part of the story?
Can you retell the story using your own words?
Tell me what this character was like?
Tell me the most interesting/ exciting/ funniest/ your favourite part of the story? Why?
What do you think the character feels about...? How can you tell?
What do you think would have happened if…?
What do you think is going to happen next?
Which part of this book did you like best/least? Why?
How has the author used words/phrases to make this character funny/ sad/ clever/ frightening/ excited etc?
Why is … a good title for this story/book/chapter/play?
Do you know any more stories like this? Tell me how they are alike.
Do you know another story with similar characters in? Tell me how they are similar.
What do you think this story is trying to tell us?
Has anything like this ever happened to you?
Tell me two things you found out that you didn’t know before.
What does this part of the text tell us about ….?
Which part of the text tells us about …?
Why are some words in bold?
How does this text/ layout help the reader?
How does (a diagram/picture/caption) help you to understand the information on this page?
If you have any questions or would like any further support please speak to your child’s class teacher.
Here at Churchtown phonics is taught daily to all children in Reception and Key Stage One. We use the Letters and Sounds and some aspects of Read, Write Inc. programme to teach children the letters of the alphabet and their matching sounds. We sometimes use songs and actions from Jolly Phonics to help us remember our sounds.
What is phonics?
Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:
* Recognise the sounds that individual letters make
* Identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make-such as 'sh' or 'oo'
* Blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word
Children can then use this knowledge to 'decode' new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.
The children are taught to read words by blending, which means pushing all the sounds together to make a word. The children are taught to spell words by segmenting, which means sounding out words and writing down the sounds they can hear.
By the end of Reception children are expected to be secure in Phase Three. By the end of Year One children are expected to be secure in Phase Five. When finishing Key Stage One, most children at Churchtown should be secure in Phase Six. This phase moves away from learning sounds and focuses on spelling rules and patterns.
Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way-starting with the easiest sounds and progressing to the most complex-it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7 years old. Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills that they need to tackle new words. Children can go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and read for enjoyment. (Department for Education)
Here are some links to information and websites that you may find useful to help you support your child in their early reading and writing skills.
What do the Phonics terms mean?
Phoneme: The smallest unit of sound in a word, e.g. c/a/t, sh/o/p, t/ea/ch/er.
Grapheme: A letter or group of letter representing one sound, e.g. sh, igh, t.
Clip Phonemes: when teaching sounds ,always clip them short ‘mmmm’ not ‘muh’
Digraph: Two letters which together make one sound, e.g. sh, ch, ee, ph, oa.
Split digraph: Two letters, which work as a pair, split, to represent one sound, e.g. a-e as in cake, or i-e as in kite.
Trigraph: three letters which together make one sound but cannot be separated into smaller phonemes, e.g. igh as in light, ear as in heard, tch as in watch.
Segmentation: means hearing the individual phonemes within a word – for instance the word ‘crash’ consists of four phonemes: ‘c – r – a – sh’. In order to spell this word, a child must segment it into its component phonemes and choose a grapheme to represent each phoneme.
Blending: means merging the individual phonemes together to pronounce a word. In order to read an unfamiliar word, a child must recognise (‘sound out’) each grapheme, not each letter (e.g. ‘th-i-n’ not ‘t-h-i-n’), and then mergethe phonemes together to make the word.
Mnemonics: a device for memorising and recalling something, such as a hand action of a drill to remember the phoneme /d/.
Adjacent consonants: two or three letters with discrete sounds, which are blended together e.g. str, cr, tr, gr. (previously consonant clusters).
Comprehension: understanding of language whether it is spoken or written.
Articulation of Phonemes:
At the end of Year One all the children in the country take a test called a Phonics Screening. They have to read 40 real and nonsense words. We call the nonsense words ‘Alien words’ and the children practice reading them every day.
If you want to see an example of a previous years test click here.
Letters and Sounds: Principles and Practice
Here are some useful websites to help you support your child with their early reading and writing. If you are unsure of which phase your child is working within then please speak to your child’s class teacher.