Learning to Read
It is our aim for all children to love reading by learning to read accurately and fluently with good understanding. We want all children to enjoy finding interesting facts from information books and have favourite stories and authors. To teach early reading, we use a reading programme called Read Write Inc which has a systematic approach to the teaching of phonics.
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Each year we hold a phonics and reading workshop, but please speak to your child's teacher if you want to know more at any time - your involvement in your child's learning will ensure they have the best possible start to their reading journey (see top ten tips below for more ideas)
Ten top tips from Read Write Inc
Click here to read a letter from Read, Write, Inc expert Ruth Miskin
1. Saying sounds correctly This is really important when you are helping your child to learn the sounds. Just remember not to add an uh to the end of the consonant sounds – so say mmm not muh, ll not luh, etc. because then it’s easier to blend the sounds together to make words. There are videos showing you how to say the sounds correctly on the Read Write Inc website.
2. Linking sounds to letters Encourage your child to make a link between the sound and the written letter shape. Start with the sounds in your child’s name and then look out for them in signs, eg the sound m in McDonalds.
3. Sounds represented by more than one letter Some sounds are represented by more than one letter such as sh in ship, ch in chat, th in thin, qu in quick and ng in sing. When you’re out and about point out examples of these to your child too. You might see them in posters, signs, or leaflets.
4. Practise, practise, practise Build up a knowledge of the letters and sounds quite quickly with your child and keep practising so that it becomes automatic. Keep reminding ‘Do you remember when we were talking about the sound ch...?’, or ‘Oh look! There’s a big t (sound) on that poster!’.
5. Putting sounds together to read simple words Say the sounds c-a-t to read cat, sh-o-p to read shop and s-t-r-ee-t to read street. If your child gets stuck and is struggling to blend the sounds, say the sounds yourself, quickly, until your child can hear the word. Beginner readers will need to sound out every word at first but will later learn to recognise whole words.
6. Tricky words Some everyday words in English have tricky spellings and can’t be read by blending. Imagine trying to read the word said or does by blending each letter! These are sometimes called high frequency tricky words, or Red words. These words just have to be learned by sight and flashcard-type games are a good way to practise these.
7. Reading books Each week pupils will bring home a reading book for them to read. Pupils will need to sound out the words (we call this 'Fred Talk') to start with. Then they will progress onto silently sounding out in their head (we call this 'Fred in their head'). After your child has read a page, it helps if you can read it aloud again, so that they hear, understand and enjoy the story.
8. Using pictures illustrations are great to look at and talk about, but don’t encourage your child to use pictures to guess the words that they don’t already know; instead help them to work out the word by looking at the letters.
9. Writing letters Teach your child how to write the letters as they bring home their sounds to learn. Check they have a good and comfortable table pencil grip. Please check in school if you are not sure about this as it is very important to get this right from the start.
10. Read and enjoy lots and lots of books! Make storytime a special time for both of you, ideally, make it part of a good bedtime routine. If just this tip is followed, your child will grow up to love stories and reading and hopefully it is a lovely time for you both.
Becoming a Really Good Reader
Once children are accurate and fluent readers, we help them to develop their understanding of a range of texts through BOOK CLUB, this begins during Year 2. During daily book club, every child reads a high quality text alongside their teacher, and is taught how to read with full understanding, by giving their opinions and answering a range of questions about the book. Each year group in school has a range of different sorts of books that they will read and understand very well, such as George's Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl in Year 2, to The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne in Year 6. As a school, we have selected books for each year that are too good to miss.
Choosing the best books
Our school library is full of high quality texts. Each day pupils have twenty minutes to read for pleasure. Reading for pleasure opens up new worlds for children. It gives them the opportunity to use their imagination to explore new ideas, visit new places and meet new characters. Reading for pleasure also improves children’s well-being and empathy. It helps them to understand their own identity, and gives them an insight into the world and the views of others. Research shows that reading for pleasure can be directly linked to children’s success throughout their time at school and even into adulthood.
After completing a text pupils use Accelerated Reader. This system provides on-line quizzes for children to complete after each book to show they have understood and enjoyed their chosen text, whether it is by their favourite author or it is an information book about a topic of interest. The results of the quiz provides the teacher with a wealth of information about the questions the children are finding more tricky, which then informs their teaching during book club.
Reading for pleasure
As well as daily Book Club lessons each class also has a daily story time. This is where pupils can sit back, listen and enjoy great books to fire their imagination and fill them with creative ideas and interesting knowledge. As pupils move throughout school children are read to, enjoy, discuss and work with a core of around 80 books. These ‘essential reads’ are a store of classics, creating a living library inside pupil’s minds. Through our daily story time pupils build a common story bank, binding the community together.
Reading at home
Research shows that learning to read is directly linked to children’s success at school and beyond. It also shows that those who read regularly and for longer dramatically increase the number of words they are introduced to. This in turn impacts on their success across the whole curriculum.
We believe that the relationship between school reading and home reading is vital. It is never too early to start sharing books with your child. Learning to read is about listening and understanding as well as working out print. When children hear stories, they are exposed to a rich and wide vocabulary. This helps them build their own vocabulary and improve their understanding when they listen, which is vital as they start to read.