Reading in School

How we teach reading

Learning to read is one of the most important things your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.  We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we work hard to make sure children develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.

We start by teaching phonics in Reception using a highly successful  phonics programme. Children learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well.

The children also practise reading (and spelling) ‘tricky words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’.  Once children can blend sounds together to read words, they practise reading books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. They start to believe they can read and this does wonders for their confidence.

Teachers regularly read to the children, too, so the children get to know and love all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. This helps to extend children’s vocabulary and comprehension, as well as supporting their writing.

Up until the end of Year 2, your child will work with children who are at the same reading level. This is so that the teaching can be focussed on their needs. Some older children will continue to access phonics groups if they need further consolidation and development of reading skills. We check children’s reading skills regularly so we that we can ensure they are in the right group. Children will move to a different group if they are making faster progress or may have one-to-one support if we think they need some extra help.

In the summer term, the government asks us to do a phonics check of all the Year 1 children. We will let you know how well your child has done.

How long will it take to learn to read well?

Every child is different and children will learn to read at different speeds. By the end of Year 2, most children will be able to read aloud books that are at the right level for his or her age. In Year 3 and beyond, we concentrate more on helping children to understand what they are reading, although this work begins very early on.

What can parents/carers do to help?

Within the first few weeks of your child starting Reception, you will be invited to a meeting so that we can explain how we teach reading and show you the resources we use. During the meeting, there are lots of suggestions on how you can help your child to read. Your support really does get your child off to a flying start and encourages them to make great progress!

You can help your child to sound out the letters in words and then to ‘blend’ the sounds together to make a whole word. Try not to refer to the letters by their names. Help your child to focus on the sounds. Sometimes your child might bring home a picture book that they know well. Please don’t say, ‘This is too easy.’ Instead, encourage your child to tell you the story out loud; ask them questions about things that happen or what they think about some of the characters in the story.

Make reading fun! Remember to keep reading to your child. They will come across far more adventurous words than they will in their early reading books. You will be helping them to grow a vast vocabulary and understand the meaning of different stories etc. It will also encourage them to love books and want to read more!

Does it matter if my child misses a lesson or two?

It matters a lot if your child misses school. The way we teach children to read is very well organised, so even one missed lesson means that your child has not learnt something that they need to know to be a good reader.

What if my child finds it difficult to learn to read?

We want every child to learn to read, however long it takes us to teach them. We will find out very quickly if your child is finding reading difficult. First, we move children to a different group, so that we can make sure that they have learnt what they need to know. If they still struggle, we may give them extra 1:1 support.

If we have any concerns about your child’s reading, we will talk to you about this.

Remember, all children are individual so some children take a little longer to learn to put sounds together to read a word, e.g. c-a-t to make the word ‘cat’. At our meeting, we will explain how you can help your child to do this.

 

The AR Reading System

If your child has progressed beyond the colour banded reading system that begins in the lower school, they should now be bringing home AR (Accelerated Reader) books.

The AR system allows us to continue to ‘band’ books according to level of difficulty of reading – something that is quite difficult to do otherwise with the wide range of reading material available.  It is also a system designed to improve reading with the simple theory that ‘The more you do – the better you get’  as it motivates pupils to read more by offering quick quizzes to be taken on the computer and certificates to reward good reading progress

The AR system is a very useful tool that allows us to track and support your child’s reading progress in several different ways.  It tells us how many books they are reading, which types and levels of books and how well they are passing quizzes.

Like any tool – the AR system is only successful when used well.  To get the most out of this particular system it is very important that pupils are choosing books within their reading range (this is decided by a sentence completion test which analyses how well children can read and understand individual words and sentences).  It is however only one of the reading tools that we use to improve reading and we strongly encourage pupils to read at other times from any sort of material that interests them whether that is more or less challenging or than their AR reading range.  So please help us by encouraging a range of reading with and to your child from any material that interests them.

If you would like to know more please read the booklet – The Accelerated Reading System.