Acquiring the skill of reading is “key to success in education and an essential life skill” (Rose, 2009).
At Boyne Hill Infant & Nursery School we recognise the fundamental importance of English as a subject in its own right as well as an integral part of all other subjects. Gaining and using skills in language not only affects a child’s progress in school but also has a profound influence upon the course of their whole life. We aim to develop pupils’ abilities within an integrated programme of spoken language, systematic synthetic phonics, reading & writing. Pupils will be given opportunities to develop their use, knowledge and understanding of spoken and written English across the curriculum, with opportunities to consolidate and reinforce taught literacy skills.
We follow the DfE validated Reading Planet Rocket Phonics Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) programme. This begins in Foundation Stage 2 and continues throughout Years 1 and 2 where the steady pace and progression of the programme aims to build on the knowledge and skills learned in the previous year. Its balanced approach focuses equally on blending sounds for reading and segmenting words for spelling and writing at both word and sentence level. Throughout this story-based programme, pupils will be able to immerse themselves in a wide range of captivating, illustrated stories and rich, fully decodable fiction and non-fiction books to embed their phonics in context and ignite a love of reading. Pupils will also have access to e-Books which may be set as reading homework. In order to meet the learning needs of individual pupils or small cohorts of pupils, adaptations may be made to the learning resources but fidelity to the programme will remain.
How is my child learning to read?
At Boyne Hill, your child will be learning to read through a programme of Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP). Phonics is a method of teaching reading and writing to children in which they learn the letter or group of letters that correspond to a sound. The sounds are taught in groups linked to our SSP programme - see the Phonics Curriculum Progression Map for more information.
A sound can be represented by a single letter – for example, each of the three sounds in ‘cat’, c-a-t). Sometimes a sound is represented by more than one letter such as sh in sh-o-p, ay in p-l-ay, and igh in l-igh-t.
At first, your child will learn a set of pure sounds (phonemes) and the letter or letters that represent them (graphemes). Then they will be taught to blend those sounds together to read words. Once your child can blend sounds together, they will be able to read books with words made up of the sounds they have learnt. In class, your child will access Target Practice Readers which are decodable at the end of each phonics unit taught.
As they progress through their time at Boyne Hill, your child will also read with an adult in a small group, accessing books appropriate to their reading ability and we call this 'guided reading'. During these sessions, whole class teaching and learning is revisited and includes talking about the books they are reading: genres (fiction, non-fiction, poetry); the features of a book (blurb, title, page numbers, heading, sub-heading, captions, index, glossary, setting, characters, author, illustrator); predicting (what might happen next?) using inference (why did they say that/do that?); how to retrieve information which demonstrates a more secure understanding of what they have read (comprehension) and making comparisons between books and stories either by the same or different authors.
What books will my child bring home?
The books your child will bring home to read with you may be Rocket Phonics Readers or from a different publisher but will contain words made up of the sounds that they know. This means the books are ‘decodable’ by your child because they have learnt the ‘code’ – the letters and sounds that make up the words in their reading book.
Your child may come home with the same book more than once and there is a good reason for this. Children benefit from reading a familiar book to build fluency (speed and flow) and understanding (comprehension). Your child’s first reading might be quite stilted as they focus on sounding out and blending the words but after lots of practise, they will become more fluent. When they can read a book more fluently, it is easier for them to focus on the meaning of the text.
Children’s reading ability and progress is carefully monitored by the class teacher and levels of challenge are increased when they feel the child is ready.
How can I support my child’s reading?
When helping your child with their reading, make sure you choose a time when they’re not too tired. Remember that learning to read will take time – be sure to stay patient as your child acquires this new skill.
- Don’t read the book to your child before they read it to you – they may just remember the words and not get any real practise.
- If your child can read the story well, that doesn’t mean the book is too easy. It’s important they get plenty of practise reading words containing the letters and sounds they have learnt. Celebrate their achievement with them – reading success is important in building their confidence and enjoyment.
- If your child struggles with a word, ask them to ‘sound out’ (decode) the word by saying the individual sounds in the word and then blending the sounds together (for example, ‘c-a-t = cat’).
- Don’t let your child struggle too much – if they are really stuck with a word, sound it out for them quickly so that they can hear the word. Plenty of praise when they succeed will help them to keep going.
- Don’t ask your child to use the pictures to guess the words. Pictures can provide great opportunities to talk about what is happening in a story but it’s important that your child doesn’t become dependent on them to read.
- Read back each sentence or page to your child to ensure they have understood.
- When your child has read the book, talk about it together and write a comment in their Reading Record book.
As well as your child reading to you, it’s important that you read stories, rhymes, and non-fiction books to them. We cannot stress enough how important talk and stories are in developing children's vocabulary and language.
Learning to read and reading to learn
Your child will visit the school library once a week and will bring home a book of their choice to share with you.
Each class has a 'book corner' which the children have access to throughout the day and stories are read to the children to ignite that passion for books and reading and to promote the joy of listening.
Each class in KS1 has a Class Library where they can choose a reading book and either keep it for the week or swap it every day. This is their choice.
Our playground has a micro-library so pupils can enjoy a book during their playtime and lunch time.