Early Reading and Systematic Synthetic Phonics
The Reading Practice Book
It is essential that parents and carers understand the importance of home reading and how to support their children’s reading in a positive and enjoyable way. Investing time to develop reading relationships between home and school is crucial. We have invested heavily in providing the best quality phonics programme, approved by the DfE, to ensure that our children are given the best start on their reading journey.
You may notice a difference in the level of difficulty in the reading book that has been allocated to your child. We want reading to be an enjoyable experience, where all children see themselves as being successful readers, so it is important that the reading books match the sounds and tricky words taught. Your child should be able to read 95% of their reading book, without having to sound out words which will build reading confidence and eliminate the frustration that can happen.
Currently, we use Collins Big Cat Phonics reading books in school and the children are assessed regularly to ensure that their book closely matches their phonic knowledge. The children are given the opportunity to read the same book three times each week.
Read One – Focuses on decoding (word building and recognition)
Read Two – Focuses on reading with prosody (understanding and emphasis plus developing a storyteller voice)
Read Three – Focuses on comprehension (word choices, punctuation, asking and answering questions about a text)
The children also begin each session by looking at the GPCs (written spelling patterns), tricky words, key vocabulary and also the more unusual vocabulary featured. The children are exposed to a variety of high quality fiction and non-fiction texts, which have been specifically produced to match our teaching.
We have invested heavily in the new books and will be looking into raising funds so that paper copies of the books can be sent home. At present, the children are allocated the same book that is read in class and the teacher can monitor engagement at home. Books can be accessed through https://ebooks.collinsopenpage.com/ and your child’s class teacher will have previously sent out their username and password. If you do not have the details, please contact your class teacher. Your role is not to teach reading but to listen with interest and, most importantly, to encourage and praise achievement.
The Sharing/Reading for Pleasure Book
If children are to become lifelong readers, it is essential that they are encouraged to read for pleasure. The desire of wanting to read will help with the skill of reading. To help foster a love of reading, children will take a book home that they can share and enjoy with you at home. Involving the children in the choice of this book is important as these books offer a wealth of opportunities for talking about the pictures and enjoying the story. It is important to offer a variety of books, including non-fiction, so they can enjoy a range of writing. You should not expect your child to read this book independently and certainly should not try to get your child to do so. The book is for the parent/carer to read to or with the child. Again, it is good to talk about the book with your child, but important to remember that the goal is enjoyment and fostering a love of reading. Please share your favourite childhood stories and encourage your child to make links between different stories and develop an enjoyment of the works of a particular author or illustrator.
In response to the Covid pandemic, we have used the Little Wandle assessments and teacher knowledge to identify gaps in the children’s phonic knowledge; therefore the delivery of the Little Wandle programme has been adjusted to match where the children actually are, rather than where they would normally be.
Key Stage 2
In KS2, we use ‘Accelerated Reader’ for the home reading book which provides children with access to a wide variety of books. By using Accelerated Reader, children are given a reading range and can independently select a book. Once the children have completed a book, they take a short online quiz which continually assesses their understanding of what they have read. The children also take the STAR reading test on a termly basis which assesses their progress and provides a new reading range for them so the variety of books available to them is continually changing. Teachers track children’s progress using the quizzes and STAR reader test. Children complete a 15miniute ‘Relaxed Read’ session each day where they can read their own choice of book and this allows staff to support and work with individual children.