Phonics and Reading Schemes
Children are encouraged to develop a broad range of skills in speaking and listening, reading and writing. Children participate in a daily English lesson in Year 1 to 6, and in a wide range of language activities in Reception Class.
Reading is a fundamental skill and we encourage parents to join in the excitement of their children learning to read. We don’t use a single reading scheme, but rather match children to books that will best develop their skills and interest. Every class has its' own book corner with a variety of books suited to a particular age group.
We have a banded reading scheme which includes Oxford Reading Tree and variety of books from smaller reading schemes. We believe that children become confident and fluent readers when both school and home support them. We encourage parents to listen to their children read a little every evening and record comments in their reading record. As the children progress through the school they are introduced to literature of increasing complexity, they learn to analyse and evaluate a wide range of texts.
An event which we join in with each year, is World Book Day. This is a great opportunity to focus on the pleasure that books and reading can bring to our lives. As well as enjoying a range of activities based around books, the children come to school dressed up as various characters from books. The effort which is put into these costumes is always amazing!
Phonics is a method of teaching children to read and write quickly and skilfully. A major part of early language learning is the teaching of phonics, which is done using a range of methods including both written and practical kinaesthetic activities.
We mainly se the following phonics schemes; Letters and sounds and Jolly Phonics. This enables us to use a variety of techniques to adapt the curriculum to the needs of the children and provide a variety of layers of learning.
In EYFS children are taught to recognise the 44 sounds in the English language which we put together to form words. Some are represented by one letter, like 't', and some by two or more, like 'ck' in duck and 'oi’ as in oil. We refer to these as diagraphs.
Once they have mastered the initial sounds the children are encouraged to match them to letters, then blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word. Finally, they use their knowledge of the sounds and blending skills to support their spelling. The children learn to read a list of age appropriate ‘tricky’ words, words which do not follow the rules of standard English and cannot be sounded out using their phonics e.g ‘the’.
In Key Stage 1 the children revise the 44 sounds and begin to blend 3 sounds (trigraphs) to support ‘decoding’ of words that they hear or see and in turn, learn to spell words phonetically. Towards the end of Key Stage 1 and moving in to Key Stage 2, we teach the children important ‘spelling rules’. This enables children to make the shift from writing phonetically to spelling words accurately.
Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through 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.
Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently and to read for enjoyment. Children who have been taught phonics also tend to read more accurately than those taught using other methods, such as ‘look and say’. This includes children who find learning to read difficult, for example those who have dyslexia.