Engaging children in the pleasures of reading ensures that learning to read never becomes a chore and that, every day, no matter what age or stage of development children are at, books are shared for sheer enjoyment. At Cranborne First we provide many opportunities for reading, including shared reading in English lessons, focused daily guided reading sessions, daily discrete phonic sessions and opportunities for group reading discussion and paired or individual reading.
The national curriculum programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of 2 dimensions:
- Word reading
- Comprehension (both listening and reading)
It is essential that teaching focuses on developing children’s competence in both dimensions. We know the ability to read is fundamental to children’s development as independent learners. Word reading includes the use of phonics to decode and recognise familiar words on sight. Phonological awareness is the understanding that the streams of sounds that are contained in words can be separated into distinct sounds, and that language contains units of sound that are smaller than the word.
This means to learn to read, a child must learn the relationship between sounds and letters, the connections between the approximately 44 sounds of spoken English (the phonemes), and the 26 letters of the alphabet (the graphemes). Phonics is the system of ‘blending’ sounds together to read, and ‘segmenting’ sounds to spell. They are both complimentary and interlinking skills that are taught together.
Phonics lessons teach these skills discretely and enable the children to apply them in all their other learning. We use a mixture of different resources and teaching styles to engage and motivate the children, including magnetic boards and letters, whiteboards and pens, games, flashcards and lively visual programs on our Interactive whiteboards. We have phonic based guided reading books for teachers to use with groups when teaching reading and there are some phonic based home readers in book boxes. The teaching is progressive and follows the “Letters and Sounds” programme which is divided into phases. The exact phase your child is working at will depend on their age, stage of development and readiness. You are welcome to ask your child’s class teacher about the phase and letter sounds they are covering. It would be wonderful if you also support and practise at home.
In the Foundation stage the children’ phonologic awareness and phonic knowledge is developed through a multi-sensory approach to teaching phonics following the daily ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme. This phonological development is supported through their guided and home reading books.
In Key Stage 1 discrete, daily planned ‘Letters and Sounds’ lessons are taught. At the end of Year 1 children take part in the National Phonics Screening Assessment.
In Key Stage 2 children still requiring support with their phonics will receive interventions, which aim to support individual needs of children.