Reading - Early Reading

Reading - Early Reading

How do we teach children to read?

Within our policy, the key principles are outlined:

  • “At Our Lady and St. Joseph, we believe you learn to read, then you read to learn! It is a core skill that all children must master to be successful in life.
  • We are determined for all children to master reading regardless of background, needs or ability.
  • We ensure there is high quality reading across the school.
    • Our youngest readers focus mainly on phonic knowledge, fluency and comprehension skills.
    • As they develop through the school we focus on children to further become fluent, confident, capable readers who have the comprehension skills to access a varied collection of texts.
  • All staff members encourage and foster a love of reading throughout the children’s learning. They are all experts in reading and use these knowledge and skills to best support the pupils.
  • As reading is such a key skill, we always make it a priority to support those children who have not met the age-related expectation.”

These aims show our core goals, getting children to be able to read, getting them to love reading and getting them to read for learning. Phonics is the process we teach reading and writing. It may seem strange and complicated, but the pages within this section of the website are aimed to support you in helping your child.

Our phonics programme

Since the school open in 2015 we have used the same phonics consultant, Ann Smalberger (ALS Phonics). She uses Letters and Sounds as the basis of her systematic and synthetic phonics programme. Working with her on a regular basis, we have achieved strong phonics screening check scores from children who often enter with lower than average entry points.  Using ALS phonics allows for strong consistency in the teaching and assessing of this vitally important subject across the school.

We use phonically plausible books that are advised from ALS Phonics, these include Pearson Bug Club, Big Cat Phonics and Read Write Inc. books. We ensure that the books are matched to the children’s phonic knowledge, for more information on the books we read in school please look at ‘Reading Books’.

We ensure our children’s phonics programme is rigorous, fast paced and aims to ensure the children make the most progress as possible. We believe, like any part of teaching, we have end goals, but we must assess the pupil’s progress and plan to best support them. We also want their knowledge to stick and be applied in their reading and writing, not only during EYFS and KS1, but throughout their schooling. Because of this, we do not have a week, by week breakdown of which lesson is taught when. Instead, we have termly aims and regularly assess to ensure the children progress effectively through the phases. These assessments are regularly checked by phase leaders and discussed in pupil progress meetings.

Nursery - Phase 1

Phase 1 is taught in Nursery. It does not involve children immediately learning the letters and the sounds. Instead, it focuses on teaching the skills needed to be able to reading and write. Most crucially it focuses on listening. There are 7 Aspects in Phase 1 Phonics, all have a crucial role to ensure children are ready for their next stage. In the table below we outline the aspects, why we do it, what we do in class and what you can do at home.

Aspect

Why we do it

What you can do at home

Environmental Sounds

To hear different sounds

When walking around asking what they can hear.

Play “I hear with my little ear”

Instrumental Sounds

To be able to copy sounds

To be able to hear the difference in sounds

Give children a collection of different things to make noises with.

Make noises with kitchen equipment- Child close their eyes and get the children to work out which noise came from which object.

Body percussion

To copy patterns with focus and the repeat them.

Making a three point pattern and get them to copy it. Sometimes saying tap, or the body part can help them focus on this.

Rhythm and Rhyme

To be able to hear the different sounds within a word and start to make links with them

Getting children to hear words that sound the same, give them two options and ask if they rhyme or not.

Notice the rhythm in a book or poem and talk about it with your child.

Alliteration

To hear the first sound in words

Bounce the first sound in the words, e.g. b-b-bat.

Voice Sounds

To be able to hear sounds being made, but then also make them

Make silly sounds with your voice, or in a book and get the children to copy.

Oral Blending and Segmenting

The key aim is to hear sounds in words and break them apart/ put them together.

This is the key skill. Breaking words into their sounds and getting the children to notice all of the sounds in there.

Give examples when reading, eg if you see cat, go c-a-t

Reception – Phase 2 / 3

During Phase 2 and 3 children will be learning new sounds very regularly. The phonics sessions follow a clear plan summarised below.

The children will do at least 1 phonics session every day. If necessary, they will do a second small group session. All children will also have a guided reading session using phonically plausible books. Most of the words children learn during this stage are called consanant, vowel, consonant (CVC), like cat, sat, pin.

We also teach the first 45 high frequency words, at a glance. These are taught within the phonics packs where they align with the sounds, also as tricky words that don’t follow phonics, like the (this cannot be decoded). We send these home and expect support from parents to learn these. They will be taught, but daily 1:1 ten-minute home support will help your child enormously.

Revise the Sounds

Firstly, we go through all of the sounds that the children have already learnt. They say they to them to practise them. We look for accurate pronunciation and quick Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence (GPC).

Introduce the new sound

We then introduce our new phoneme of the day, this could be a single sound, like s in snake, or a collection of letters called a digraph or trigraph like ai in snail, or igh in high. We use a picture to reinforce children’s understanding.

Orally blend the sounds

We now practice putting the sounds together to make words. The teacher say p-a-t, the children will then say “pat”. We want them to be able to hear all the sounds in the word, this builds the skills to be able to do it independently.

Orally segment the sounds

We now practice breaking a word into sounds, into segments. This allows the children to learn how to break the words into sounds, which helps children to be able to write words

Read the words

We then read the words on flashcards. We use the matra, “we look at the letters, make the sounds and blend the sounds together”.

First we show the children just the sounds in the word, giving them the ‘segmented’ parts. After, they ‘blend the sounds together.

After we speed read the words with no blending or segmenting.

Write the words

Now, we write the words, we use the mantra “we say the word robot the word, write the word” This the strategy we teach across the school.

the children use whiteboards, so they can do this on the carpet to support the teacher’s assessment, it also allows them to rub out words and make corrections very quickly. As the year progresses children do use writing books to practise writing, but not within phonics lessons.

The words the children write are set, we also may extend some children and use additional words with adjacent consonants (such as snap, or flick).

Write a sentence

If the teacher feels the children are able to they will then write a sentence using their new learning.

Children will do 4 lessons based on the scheme above learning a new sound each day; on the fifth day children revise all the sounds taught that week. The children complete these on whiteboards to ensure they can quickly edit. We then record their progress on online software, or by photocopying the boards. The children do use writing books in Reception where progress can also be seen.

Please find lesson examples below. More of these can be found on the school blogs.

Year 1 – Phase 4 / 5

Phase 4 is a stage where children start reading “adjacent consonants” these are two letters, two sounds. For example, clip starts with c-l. Note not all adjacent consonants are two sounds, such as ck in clock. “ck” would be learnt in reception as one sound.

Revise the Sounds

Firstly, we go through all of the sounds that the children have already learnt. They say they to them to practise them. We look for accurate pronunciation and quick Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence (GPC).

Introduce the new sound

We then introduce our new phoneme of the day, this could be a single sound, like s in snake, or a collection of letters called a digraph or trigraph like ai in snail, or igh in high. We use a picture to reinforce children’s understanding.

Orally blend the sounds

We now practice putting the sounds together to make words. The teacher says p-a-t, the children will then say “pat”. We want them to be able to hear all the sounds in the word, this builds the skills to be able to do it independently.

Orally segment the sounds

We now practice breaking a word into sounds, into segments. This allows the children to learn how to break the words into sounds, which helps children to be able to write words

Read the words

We then read the words on flashcards. We use the mantra, “we look at the letters, make the sounds and blend the sounds together”.

First, we show the children just the sounds in the word, giving them the ‘segmented’ parts. After, they ‘blend the sounds together.

After we speed read the words with no blending or segmenting.

Write the words

Now, we write the words, we use the mantra “we say the word robot the word, write the word” This the strategy we teach across the school.

The children use whiteboards, so they can do this on the carpet to support the teacher’s assessment, it also allows them to rub out words and make corrections very quickly. As the year progresses children do use writing books to practise writing, but not within phonics lessons.

The words the children write are set, we also may extend some children and use additional words with adjacent consonants (such as snap, or flick).

Write a sentence

All children will write a sentence, some will be extended by using a conjunction (and, but, so, because)

Please find lesson examples below. More of these can be found on the school blogs.

Phase 5 is where children learn that we can say different sounds in different ways, for instance, ay (say), ai (plain), a-e (snake) all make the same sound.

Revise the Sounds

Firstly, we go through all of the sounds that the children have already learnt. They say they to them to practise them. We look for accurate pronunciation and quick Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence (GPC).

Introduce the new sound

We then introduce our new phoneme of the day, this could be a single sound, like s in snake, or a collection of letters called a digraph or trigraph like ai in snail, or igh in high. We use a picture to reinforce children’s understanding.

Orally blend the sounds

We now practice putting the sounds together to make words. The teacher make say p-a-t, the children will then say “pat”. We want them to be able to hear all the sounds in the word, this builds the skills to be able to do it independently.

Orally segment the sounds

We now practice breaking a word into sounds, into segments. This allows the children to learn how to break the words into sounds, which helps children to be able to write words

Read the words

We then read the words on flashcards. We use the matra, “we look at the letters, make the sounds and blend the sounds together”.

First we show the children just the sounds in the word, giving them the ‘segmented’ parts. After, they ‘blend the sounds together.

After we speed read the words with no blending or segmenting.

Write the words

Now, we write the words, we use the mantra “we say the word robot the word, write the word” This the strategy we teach across the school.

the children use whiteboards, so they can do this on the carpet to support the teacher’s assessment, it also allows them to rub out words and make corrections very quickly. As the year progresses children do use writing books to practise writing, but not within phonics lessons.

The words the children write are set, we also may extend some children and use additional words with adjacent consonants (such as snap, or flick).

Write a sentence

All children will write a sentence, some will be extended by using a conjunction (and, but, so, because)

Please find lesson examples below. More of these can be found on the school blogs.

Phonics Screening Check

The Phonics Screening Check involves the children reading pseudo and real words. It is to assess each child’s phonics knowledge. It is important to emphasise this is not a test, the children will not feel pressure or stress. From Nursery they will be working with a teacher 1:1 who check their phonic understanding, this session will be no different. We do not wish any child to feel pressured, but we work very hard to ensure all children have the best chance to pass. However, as parents it is also your responsibility to give your child every opportunity to do as well as possible. We suggest the follow activities:

  • Read with your child. This will reinforce phonic awareness.
  • Use Bug Club to either read books that they have been allocated, or play phonics games.
  • Watch the phonics videos that can be found on the blog

Year 2 – Recap and spelling patterns

Within year 2 we recap the phonics learning from previous years ensure it is embedded. If a child did not pass the Phonics Screening Check they will re-sit it. We will offer your child support throughout the year to ensure they have the best chance of passing.

The children then start learning spelling patterns and different suffixes and prefixes.

Key Stage 2

We try all we can to ensure all children pass the phonics screening check in year 1. However, not all children do pass. This means we will still offer phonic support.

Phonics interventions

If you know you child did not pass the phonics screening check it will be best to ask your child’s class teacher to know how we are supporting them. However, we have outlined some interventions we commonly offer.

Phase based phonics sessions – we offer 4 sessions per week recapping each phonic phase from 2 to 5. This means the children are exposed again to the phonemes and graphemes of phonics.

Direct phonics – if a child needs 1:1 support, or 1:2 support, we may offer Direct Phonics. This is a phonics programme which embodies the same principles are ALS phonics, however there is more repetition to support memory.

Lexia – this is an excellent online programme to support pupil’s phonics development. This can be accessed in school, or at home on a computer or tablet.

Blending and Segmenting intervention – this is a planned intervention making sure children can break words into sounds, and put the sounds of a word together. If your child knows all the sounds, but struggles to use their phonics effectively. This may be the support that is offered.

Beyond 'Early Reading'

As the children move into Key Stage 2 we start using Accelerated Reader to develop the children’s comprehension of books. We have labelled all our home readers to ensure they take a book that is accurately levelled for each child. We expect children to read for at least 15 minutes each night. If your child cannot break down the words into sounds and read them this will be a serious barrier. Because of this, we offer phonically plausible books that are age appropriate. Sometimes we may also complete daily 1:1 reading in school. For more information please look at our Home Reading section.