Reading And Phonics

Teaching children to read at Shocklach Oviatt Church of England Primary School

Learning to read is central to all learning in school. Everything else depends on it. We actively promote reading skills from the moment the children enter our Nursery as we believe it is extremely important.

We want children to develop a passion for reading, we want them to be able to read for themselves. We aim to ensure that all children have a love of books as well as being able to read independently.

How we teach reading – some answers for parents

Our first step in learning to read for our younger children is to develop an interest in books and stories. From this the children are taught to handle books carefully, turn the pages correctly and begin to ‘read’ the story themselves by describing what they see in the pictures.

From this we start to teach ‘tuning in’ and sound discrimination games. Singing Nursery Rhymes, listening and differentiating between environmental sounds are all key early reading skills. As soon as we feel your child is ready for letter sounds we begin to introduce a systematic phonics programme.

How my child will learn to read

Phonics Scheme

We use Unlocking Letters and Sounds which was validated by the DfE in December 2021.

We begin teaching phonics in the first few weeks of term 1 in Reception and children make rapid progress in their reading journey. Children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4.

They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4.

In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, they learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words.

By the end of Year 1 children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the national Phonics Screening Check.

In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support to close identified gaps.

To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to keep up through bespoke 1-1 interventions. These include GPC recognition and blending and segmenting interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have an impact.

Reading Scheme

At Shocklach Oviatt Primary School we promote a ‘phonics first’ approach and in both our guided reading sessions at school and in the books children take home, texts are very closely matched to a child’s current phonics knowledge so that every child can experience real success in their reading.

In these crucial early stages of reading we primarily use books from Ransom Reading Stars Phonics, to ensure complete fidelity to the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression we follow.

Once children progress beyond decodable texts, they move onto our book scheme so that they can continue to progress in their decoding, fluency and comprehension skills to become avid, expert readers.

Resources to support learning at home:

Handwriting and actions for phase 2

Handwriting and actions for phase 3

Progression in phonics

How will I know how well my child is doing?

We aim to keep you informed of your child’s progress through parents’ evenings and writing in their reading journals. If we feel your child needs extra 1:1 or small group support with their reading, we will let you know.

In the summer term, the government requires all the Year 1 children to do a National Phonics screen. The children who require it will get extra support in order to enable them to successfully pass this screen. All the children who do not achieve the pass mark will continue to get support with their phonics in Year 2 in order to give them the best chance of achieving a pass when the retake the screen at the end of Year 2.

What can I do to help?

Please read with your child as much as possible, this greatly supports their progress in school. Daily practise is essential.
If you have any concerns about reading and your child’s progress please contact your child’s class teacher. Children are all different and won’t learn to read at the same rate and pace, it can take some time for children to learn how to segment or blend sounds. Your continued support makes a great difference.

Children with difficulties saying some speech sounds

Many children have a few sounds that they can hear clearly but find it difficult to say, particularly the l-sound, r-sound, w-sound, th-sound, s-sound, sh-sound and j-sound. Often they say a t-sound for the c-sound; “tttssh” for the s-sound; “w” for the r-sound and “r” for the l-sound. You can help your child by encouraging him or her to look at your mouth when you say the sound. They can easily learn to read, even if they find one or two sounds difficult to say.