Reading and Phonics

Introduction to the teaching and learning of Phonics and reading

Your child will learn to read at school using our highly successfully multi-sensory, synthetic phonics approach. It is important to note that as well as learning the names of the letters of the alphabet, children need to know the sounds (phonemes) the letters make in words. This is the basis of a phonetic approach. As children move through the scheme they will begin to use two (diagraphs) or more letters to represent one sound. This “Letters and Sounds” scheme outlines an order of learning the letters which is not in alphabetical order. The children start with the letters (graphemes) “s,a,t,i,p,n” as these six letters can be used to make numerous three letter words, thus allowing children to read and spell some simple words very quickly. So please don’t worry if we appear to be jumping around the alphabet!

Here at Humshaugh we use Read, Write Inc. phonics scheme. Most children actively engage in the fun activities and multi-sensory way in which we teach it, and quickly realise they blend some letters (phonemes) to read simple words within a few weeks of starting school. Early success gives our children confidence to have a go at reading for themselves and gain pleasure from this new world they are entering for the first time. Daily phonics teaching begins in reception and continues throughout Key Stage One.

The reading scheme we use to support our phonics teaching is the very popular Oxford Reading Tree scheme, supplemented with a variety of graded books to add interest, challenge and diversity to our children’s reading. Throughout the school our children are encouraged to make the most of opportunities to read independently for personal pleasure.

In addition, we have libraries in our classrooms and a separate library with a comfy sofa, which have a range of high level reading books and magazines which older children have specifically chosen thus highlighting how keen we are to develop reading for pleasure.

To further encourage reading for pleasure the children take ‘share books’ home. These are for parents to read with, and to, the children as we value this as much as the children reading to parents.

Links between home and school are very important and we expect the children to read at least three times a week at home. Much of the focused teaching of reading is done in school through ‘Guided Reading’ which is common practice in most schools.

Reading at home

Research by the National Literacy Trust stresses the importance of reading for pleasure at home and school.  According to Krashen (1993):

“When children read for pleasure, when they get “hooked on books”, they acquire, involuntarily and without conscious effort, nearly all of the so-called “language skills” many people are so concerned about: they will become adequate readers, acquire a large vocabulary, develop the ability to understand and use complex grammatical constructions, develop a good writing style, and become good (but not necessarily perfect) spellers.

Although free voluntary reading alone will not ensure attainment of the highest levels of literacy, it will at least ensure an acceptable level. Without it, I suspect that children simply do not have a chance.”

Children in EYFS benefit hugely from a bedtime story, and this should continue as the child gets older.  Throughout primary school, children still benefit from listening to stories and the spoken word.  Please try to read at home with your children for 15 minutes every day and record this in your child’s reading record.  The school library is open every day after school except Mondays for parents and children to choose and change books.