Learning to read is the key to independent learning and is crucial in developing children’s self-confidence and motivation. At St. Patrick’s, we give high priority to the teaching of reading and aim to equip children with a range of reading strategies and skills in order to read a variety of texts for different purposes.
Systematic synthetic phonics is used as the prime approach to the teaching of reading. We follow the Letters and Sounds programme and, in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One, children take part in daily fifteen minute phonics sessions. This approach is continued into Key Stage Two, where the emphasis gradually moves towards spelling rules and patterns.
Children are encouraged to read regularly at home and we provide a range of reading material. These schemes are rarely used in isolation and are supplemented with a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books and ‘real’ reading material.
While children are learning to become fluent readers, this involves a three-fold approach;
PHONIC PRACTICE BOOK
This book will have a sticker on the side, indicating the phonic phase that your child is currently practising. (Eg ‘Ph4’). This book should be fully decodable for your child. (They should be able to read the book independently by sounding out every word as it is made up only of sounds that your child has covered in their phonic learning at school). You may need to help with the title of this book but, otherwise, it is expected that your child should be able to read the book to you, with no help. Please note that the purpose of the phonic practice book is to provide your child with opportunities to practise what they know. It may, therefore, seem easy for your child; this the intention.
‘HAVE A GO’ BOOK
This book will have a coloured ‘book band’ sticker on the side. It may be a ‘Biff and Chip’ Oxford Reading Tree book or one of our other colour-coded reading scheme books. This book will be matched to your child’s reading ability but may require a little more adult support as it will not be fully decodable through sounding out. You may need to encourage your child to look at picture clues or use the sense of the sentence to work-out unknown words.
LIBRARY BOOK TO SHARE
This book is intended for an adult to read to your child. Library books also have colour-coded book band stickers on the spine but children are not restricted in their choice. If your child brings home a library book with a book band from a previous colour level, you may like to encourage them to read some of it to you. If, however, they choose a more challenging book, please enjoy the book as a shared story, reading it to them. During this time, asking questions about the story is really helpful in developing your child’s understanding.