Why is reading important?
A strong foundation in reading is crucial to a child's success as they progress through primary school. It is a fundamental skill, which allows children to access every other area of their learning including; writing, maths, RE, science and the wider curriculum. Reading gives children a breadth of knowledge and experiences but also increases their confidence in many aspects of their life.
In order for children to become able and independent readers they need to:
- Enjoyment and confidence – have a positive attitude towards books and reading.
- Accuracy – decode words which they are reading without interrupting the flow.
- Fluency – read at a comfortable speed with appropriate expression.
- Understanding – comprehend the content of what they have read.
Children at Our Lady's engage in various reading activities each day at school;
- ERIC (Everybody reading in class) Reading for pleasure
- Phonics - Daily sessions for all children who have not yet learnt the alphabetic code and skill to decode words.
- Guided reading
- One to one reading - Pupil reading to an adult.
- Shared reading
- Listening to an adult read to them
- Reading in other subject areas
- Accelerated reader
- Reading interventions
Early Reading and Phonics
Phonics is recommended as the first strategy in which children should be taught to begin their reading journey. Children are taught to read using Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP).
Systematic - A structured, methodical system , teaching phonemes (Sounds) and corresponding graphemes (Letters) using a clearly defined sequence.
Synthetic - When phonemes (Sounds), are associated with graphemes (Letters), which are pronounced in isolation and then blended together.
Phonics - A method of teaching reading, which uses sounds and symbols with an alphabetic writing system.
There are 6 phases which children will learn systematically;
Phase 1 Phonics
The journey of phonics begins in the nursery class where children take part within Phase 1 phonics activities. These daily activities place a huge emphasis on communication, listening, tuning into sounds, rhyme, understanding instructions and oral blending and segmenting.
Activities are broken into seven different aspects:
- Aspect 1 - Environmental Sound Discrimination
- Aspect 2 - Instrumental Sound Discrimination
- Aspect 3 - Body Percussion Sound Discrimination
- Aspect 4 - Rhythm and Rhyme
- Aspect 5 - Alliteration
- Aspect 6 - Voice Sounds
- Aspect 7 - Oral Blending and Segmenting
The purpose of these different aspects is to develop children's’ language abilities in the following ways:
- Learning to listen attentively
- Enlarging their vocabulary
- Speaking confidently to adults and other children
- Discriminating between different phonemes
- Reproducing audibly the phonemes they hear
- Using sound-talk to segment words into phonemes
Phase 2 Phonics
Once children have acquired most of the skills in Phase 1 they will continue to take part within Phase 1 activities alongside the teaching of Phase 2 phonics. Phase 2 phonics teaches the relationship between spoken sounds and the written form which takes place using letters.
- Knowledge and understanding of at least 19 letters
- Practicing letter recognition for reading and recall for spelling
- Practicing oral blending and segmentation
- Practicing decoding and blending for reading VC and CVC words
- VC and CVC words for spelling
Phase 3 Phonics
- The Introduction of another 25 graphemes, most of which are presented as two letters which make one sound (digraphs).
- Children will continue to practice decoding and blending CVC words in this phase.
- They will apply their knowledge of decoding and blending to read simple two-syllable words and captions and the skill to segment to spell also.
- They will learn that each letter sound also has a letter name.
- Children will be introduced to some words which are not phonetically plausible e.g. No - the /o/ grapheme represents the long vowel sound rather than the short vowel sound. Children will not be taught just to look at the word and memorise the shape and the letter content but will be taught the irregularities of this group of words.
Phase 4 Phonics
- Phase 4 Phonics consolidates children’s knowledge of graphemes when reading and spelling words containing adjacent consonants and polysyllabic words.
Phase 5 Phonics
- Phase 5 Phonics teaches new graphemes and alternative pronunciations of graphemes which they already know.
Phase 6 Phonics
During Phase 6 Phonics;
- Children will be reading longer and less familiar texts independently and with increasing fluency.
- Children will begin to read information themselves for pleasure.
- They will be taught some of the rarer GPCs (Grapheme phoneme correspondence)
"Learn to read so that you can read to learn".
The teaching of Phonics continues to follow the sequence set out in Letters and Sounds document, alongside the expectations of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage and New Primary Curriculum.
Accelerated Reader (AR) is a reading program which allows children to choose a book of their choice at their individual reading level. School staff can then monitor a child's individual progress.
AR encourages differentiated reading practice to create strong, independent readers. Based on each child's independent reading level, AR helps school staff to set personalized goals for each child, and guide children to books that are difficult enough to keep them challenged, but not so difficult as to cause frustration. In addition, AR helps school staff to monitor children's' vocabulary growth, literacy skills development, and many other reading skills.
1.Determine reading level
First, a child's optimal reading level is determined through the STAR Reading Assessment. This assessment suggests a range of book levels for each child called the “zone of proximal development”,or ZPD. Children should begin reading books that have a level at the lower end of their ZPD and gradually move up the range in order to make optimum progress.
2. Set practice goals
School staff will then support children to set individualized reading practice goals based on reading quantity, quality, and difficulty and they can then monitor progress toward those goals.
3. Personalised practice
Personalised reading practice means children read books of interest at their own reading level. AR Book Finder makes it easy to find the perfect book.
4. Students take an AR Quiz
AR offers more than 150,000 quizzes of three types on both fiction and non-fiction titles. Children have many different options for taking AR Quizzes, including laptops, PCs and tablets as well as through the AR Student App available on Apple® devices.
Receive instant feedback. AR provides school staff with immediate information, helping them to monitor the comprehension skills of each child and inform further
Helping children to make progress in reading is most successful when it is done in partnership between home and school. Before children attend school they 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 practice frequently. Helping your child to master the lifelong skills of reading and becoming 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;
- EYFS and KS1 read for 15 minutes each night
- KS2 read for 20 minutes each night
This will also help to develop stamina for reading.
How to promote reading at home
- Display books around the home. Have a book shelf available where books can be kept and looked after.
- Model reading by enjoying reading yourself.
- Find a quiet place away from other interruptions.
- Hold the book carefully taking care not to bend the pages.
- Spend a few minutes discussing the blurb, title and front cover before opening 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 locating digraphs and trigraphs within the word before encouraging them to segment and then blend the word back together.
- 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 do you think is going to 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 and a 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 and the greater their vocabulary will become.
Encourage your child to join the local library to widen their choice of books.
National League Tables and Results
Accelerated Reader (Quizzing)