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Acquiring the skill of reading is “key to success in education and an essential life skill” (Rose, 2009).


At Boyne Hill, it is our mission that every child will be able to read with confidence and enthusiasm by the time they leave us at the end of Year 2 and this journey begins from the moment they join us. Our love of books and stories is shared and promoted from Nursery upwards. Being read to and read with develops emotional experiences, listening skills and increases our pupils’ vocabulary.


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.


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-pay 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. Then they will be taught to blend those sounds together to read words. Once your child can blend sounds together, they’ll be able to read books with words made up of the sounds they have learnt.


What books will my child bring home?

The books your child is given to read 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.


The sounds are taught in groups linked to our SSP programme - see the Phonics Curriculum Progression Map for more information.


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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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’).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Read back each sentence or page to your child to ensure they have understood.
  7. 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. Below are the Top Ten Tips to help you, as parents, when reading stories to your children.


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.