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All Saints Catholic Collegiate

Reading and Phonics

Welcome to Reading!

Why is reading so important?

Reading is a vital tool for learning and for life. Research shows that children who enjoy reading achieve better at school. Reading not only helps us to widen our knowledge and experiences but also allows us to increase our confidence in many aspects of our lives.

Helping children to make progress in reading is most successful when it is done in partnership between home and school.

In order for children to become able and independent readers they need to have:

  • Fluency – children who can read at a comfortable speed with appropriate expression.
  • Accuracy – children who can ‘decode’ words they are reading without interrupting the flow.
  • Understanding – children who can follow content of what they read.
  • Enjoyment and confidence – children who will become lifelong readers because it is a useful and pleasurable thing to do.

 For children to be able to decode new and unfamiliar words they need to be able to segment and blend the phonemes (sounds) in the words. These skills are taught in Letters & Sounds sessions throughout Reception & KS1 as well as through reading a variety of texts in school.

 Children engage in all sorts of reading activities each day at school, sometimes in groups, many of which occur in the course of different subject areas (for instance, using an encyclopaedia, locating information on the computer).  Children also join in with weekly Guided Reading sessions and one to one with an adult at regular opportunities. During these sessions the teacher is able to assess the reading progress of the children using Milestones identified against the New Primary Curriculum.

What phonics and reading systems are used in school?

Children are taught to read using the systematic synthetic phonics approach. This teaches children to decode words by sounds, rather than recognising whole words. The emphasis in early years teaching and KS1 is the ability to break words up into the smallest units of sound (phonemes). Children are taught the letters (graphemes) that represent these phonemes and also learn to blend them into words. Most sounds, however, have more than one way to spell them. For example, ‘ee’ as in feel can also be spelt ‘ea’ as in meal and ‘ea’ as in head. Children are taught to read all of the alternative spellings and pronunciations.

We use various reading schemes however, the Oxford Reading Tree and Big Cat Phonics are the most popular schemes used throughout the foundation stage and Key Stage 1.


How can you help at home?

Before they come to school your child will have begun to explore the world of reading through sharing and exploring books with you. Once they have started to learn the skills required to read for themselves they need to practise frequently. Helping your child to master the lifelong skills of reading and become a fluent, independent reader who develops a love for reading is one of the most important ways you can support your child’s learning at home.  It is important that the children in KS1 read for 15 minutes each night and the children in KS2 for 20 minutes.  Children who are unable to read at home will read with staff during break time the following day. This will also help to develop stamina for Reading. Children can also follow the link at the bottom of the page to Quiz on their books using the Accelerated Reader Program.

Top Tips:

  • Find a quiet place away from other interruptions.
  • Spend a few minutes discussing the blurb and front cover before you even open the book – What do you think this book is about?
  • Help and support your child if they get stuck on any words. Do not simply tell them the words, encourage them to work it out by:
  • Sounding out the phonemes (units of sound)
  • Using any picture clues
  • Using the context of the sentence to work out
  • What would sensibly fit?
  • Re-reading to check for meaning.

Ask your child questions to check their understanding of the text e.g. what was your favourite part? How did you feel about the main character? Which words show you that the character is happy? What might happen next?

  • Give your child lots of praise and encouragement.

Reading to and with your child is an enjoyable and positive experience. Talking about the things you read – books, newspapers, instructions, recipes, shopping lists etc. demonstrates that reading is a useful meaningful activity. Ensure your child knows you value reading – let them see you reading too!

Even when your child becomes an independent reader sharing bedtime stories will enable your child to enjoy literature, extend their vocabulary and comprehension of stories. It is also an enjoyable experience for both parents and children alike. Often these shared stories are memories that children carry with them for life. The more stories and books your child hears, the more they will want to read.

 Encourage your child to join the local library to widen their choice of books.

 Being able to read opens the doorway to learning and exploring the world in which we live. It will allow your child to become a successful and happy adult.


National League Tables and Results

If you would like to find out how Our Lady's Catholic Academy performed against the National picture and where we are in the National League tables then  follow this link.

Accelerated Reader (Quizzing)