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Reading and Phonics

09 Feb 2019

St Nicholas CE Primary School is strongly committed to promoting reading.  We aim to instil a love of books in all our children.  We value working in partnership with parents, recognising that a love of reading comes from home as well as school.
Image result for the more you read the more you'll know
 
 
Phonics
This basically means using the sounds of the letters (or groups of letters), rather than letter names.  We use the Jolly Phonics scheme which links an action and picture to each sound to help your child remember it. The children then progress to blending sounds together to make a word, for example c-a-t, to make cat. We start with simple three letter words and gradually build up. Please encourage sounding out and blending as one of their reading skills for working out unknown words.  At first, you can help your child by sound-talking a word to model.  Take care to use pure sounds as demonstrated at the meeting for new parents. 

Image result for Jolly Phonics
We introduce the letter sounds (phonemes) in phases as laid out in the ‘Letters and Sounds’ document.
 
Phase One:  Early phonics teaching in pre-school, nursery and at the start of Reception focuses on developing children’s listening skills.  Typical activities for teaching Phase 1 phonics include 'listening walks’, playing and identifying instruments, action songs, learning rhymes and playing games like I Spy.  This phase is intended to develop children’s listening, vocabulary and speaking skills.
Phase Two:  In Phase 2, children begin to learn the sounds that letters make (phonemes). There are 44 sounds in all. Some are made with two letters, but in Phase 2, children focus on learning the 19 most common single letter sounds.  They will learn the most commonly used phonemes first, starting with: /s/, /a/, /t/, /i/, /p/, /n/.  By the end of Phase 2 children should be able to read some vowel-consonant (VC) and consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words, and to spell them out. They also learn some high frequency ‘tricky words’ like ‘the’ and ‘go.’
Phase Three:  Phase 3 introduces children to the remaining, more difficult and/or less commonly used phonemes. There are around 25 of these, mainly made up of two letters such as /ch/, /ar/, /ow/ and /ee/.  Alongside this, children are taught to recognise more tricky words, including ‘me,’ ‘was,’ ‘my,’ ‘you’ and ‘they’. They learn the names of the letters, as well as the sounds they make. Activities might include learning mnemonics (memory aids) for tricky words, practising writing letters on whiteboards, using word cards and singing songs like the Alphabet Song.  By the end, they should be able to say the sound made by most, or all, Phase 2 and 3 graphemes, blend and read CVC words made from these graphemes, read 12 new tricky words and write letters correctly when given an example to copy.
Phase Four:  By now, children should be confident with each phoneme. From here on, phonics teaching is about consolidating and refining their knowledge, introducing more spelling patterns and tricky words, and increasing vocabulary.  Children learn to practise reading and spelling CVCC words (‘such,’ ‘belt,’ ‘milk’ etc) and learn more tricky words, including ‘have,’ ‘like,’ ‘some,’ ‘little’.  Children should now be blending confidently to work out new words. They should be starting to be able to read words straight off, rather than having to sound them out. They should also be able to write every letter, mostly correctly.
Phase Five:  Here, we start introducing alternative spellings for sounds, eg ‘e,’ ‘ee,’ ‘ie,’ ‘ea’.  Children master these in reading first, and as their fluency develops, we begin to see them using them correctly in spelling.  Children learn new graphemes (different ways of spelling each sound) and alternative pronunciations for these: for example, learning that the grapheme ‘ow’ makes a different sound in ‘snow’ and ‘cow’. They should become quicker at blending, and start to do it silently. They learn about split digraphs (the ‘magic e’) such as the a-e in ‘name.’  They’ll start to choose the right graphemes when spelling, and will learn more tricky words, including ‘people,’ ‘water’ and ‘friend’.   They also learn one new phoneme: /zh/, as in ‘treasure.’
Phase Six:  By Phase 6, children should be able to read hundreds of words using one of three strategies: r
eading them automatically, decoding them quickly and silently and decoding them aloud.  They also learn about prefixes and suffixes, e.g. ‘in-’ and ‘-ed’, the past tense, memory strategies for high frequency or topic words, proof-reading, how to use a dictionary, where to put the apostrophe in words like ‘I’m’ and spelling rules.

Although phonics teaching is more focused in the Early Years and KS1, children continue to practise and use their knowledge as they move up the school. The whole aim of phonics teaching is not just to learn the sounds, but to use them as a tool for reading and spelling.

Image result for Jolly Phonics
High Frequency Words
There are some frequent, everyday words that the children need to know by sight. Of course, not all of these words can be sounded out.  Some examples of these are ‘the’ and ‘said’.  We often call these ‘tricky words’.  Most classes have high frequency words displayed in their classrooms for the children to see everyday. They are also taught through the daily phonics session.  With regular reading the children become familiar with these words quite quickly. The more a child sees a word, the more they commit it to memory.
 
Using pictures
The pictures are a very important part of the story, especially for younger children.  It is not cheating if the child uses the pictures to help them.  The picture clue will help them to read the sentence without pausing too much to work out new words.  As children become confident they will rely less on the pictures to read, but still enjoy looking at them.  The pictures help your child to understand what is happening in the story.
 
Books with no words
Some books have very few words or no words at all.  Beginner readers can be encouraged by their ability to 'read' the story fluently, albeit using words of their own choosing. This can be motivating at a time when most of their reading will be frustratingly stilted. They also learn that clues to a story can be found in the pictures, which is a useful reading strategy to help them when reading text.
 
Be positive
Make sure your praise your child when they read.  It is ok to make mistakes when reading. Negativity, impatience or too much correcting really can put a child off reading.
 
Give them time
Let your child try to work out the word themselves before jumping in too quickly to give them the answer. They are probably using a range of learnt reading strategies to work out the word. Sometimes they will read a word incorrectly, get to the end of the sentence and realise their error which they will then self-correct. This is a vital skill!  
 
Spot words within words
The children are also taught the strategy of recognising words within words. Some larger, more complicated words have smaller words hidden within them.  Also, they can ‘chunk’ or break down longer words to read them in more manageable bits, for example, fan-tas-tic for fantastic.
 
Let them read favourites
Sometimes children are happy to read their favourite books over and over again. This is great for increasing their confidence and they obviously enjoy reading that book! If you would like to encourage them to move on, you could ask us to recommend similar titles.
 
Expression
If your child can read with tone and expression it will really bring the story to life.  It will also help with their understanding of what is happening in the story.  Giving your child an example of how to do this, by reading to them, will help.
 
Reading opportunities
Every classroom contains an inviting and comfortable book area where children can relax and browse a wide range of reading materials, either on their own or with friends.  We also have a school library where children can borrow books to take home.
 
Book Banding
At school we have banded our books according to the text features such as phonics phases, vocabulary, size of font and frequency of tricky words.  Please do not be concerned if you think the book your child is reading at home is too easy! The children often take the band home which will allow them to rehearse reading skills.  In school, during Guided Reading, children read books of a higher level so they can learn reading skills.
 
Guided Reading
This is an instructional approach that involves a teacher working with a small group of readers. During the lesson, the teacher provides a text that children can read with support, coaching the learners as they use problem-solving strategies to read the text.  It is designed to provide differentiated teaching that supports children in developing reading proficiency. The small group model allows children to be taught in a way that is intended to be more focused on their specific needs, accelerating their progress.  It also allows the development of reading comprehension skills through group discussion, where children are encouraged to make inferences and give opinions about what they have read.
 
Whole-Class Reading
In KS2 reading may also be taught through ‘whole-class reading’.  As the name suggests, this is when all the children engage with the same text as a class project.
 
Bug Club
Every child in our school has access to online reading materials at:
www.activelearnprimary.co.uk
You can find your child’s login details on the inside front cover of their reading diary.
Image result for bug club
 
1:1 Reading
Teachers also like to take the opportunity to read with children individually sometimes.  We are very fortunate to have volunteers from the community who come into school to read with children, including parents, carers, grandparents and church members. Sometimes we train parents or volunteers to use the Paired Reading technique which helps to boost children’s confidence and accelerate progress.
 
Reading at Home
Let your child see you as a good reading role-model, even if it’s a newspaper or a magazine.  If your child has a particular hobby or TV programme, why not buy them magazines about it?  Visit the local library and don’t forget to look at the audio books too! Set aside some time during the day for reading—it is the most valuable ‘homework’ you can do!  Perhaps, if time is difficult to come by, let your child read with a sibling. You could encourage your child to read for information.  Anything that motivates them will give them the incentive to read.  Go to your child’s class page on the school website to find recommendations of age-appropriate reading material.
 
Please record when and what your child has read in their reading diary as this is useful for the teachers to monitor progress.
 
Above all, reading should be an enjoyable experience for you and your child. Whatever they enjoy reading should be encouraged. Children who read regularly at home progress quickly and it helps them in school with all aspects of learning.
 
We hope that you have found this guide helpful.  If you have any worries or concerns about your child’s reading, please speak don’t hesitate to speak to us.
 
Happy reading!
 
Click here to find the latest 'good reads' as recommended by Booktrust:


  -booktrust-great-books-guide.pdf-  


 
 
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