Reading & Phonics

Phonics at school

Here at Threshfield phonics is taught daily to all children in Reception and Key Stage One.  We use the Letters and Sounds programme to teach children the letters of the alphabet and their matching sounds.  We sometimes use songs and actions from Jolly Phonics to help us remember our sounds. 

The children are taught to read words by blending, which means pushing all the sounds together to make a word.  The children are taught to spell words by segmenting, which means sounding out words and writing down the sounds they can hear.

By the end of Reception children are expected to know all Phase Three sounds.  By the end of Year One all children are expected to know all Phase Five sounds.  When finishing Key Stage Two, most children at Threshfield are secure in Phase Six sounds.  This phase moves away from learning sounds and focuses on spelling rules and patterns.

If you want to look at the sounds in each Phase we teach please go to http://www.letters-and-sounds.com/

  This is also a good website for playing phonics games, as is www.phonicsplay.co.uk

At the end of Year One all the children in the country take a test called a Phonics Screening.  They have to read 40 real and nonsense words.  We call the nonsense words ‘Alien words’ and the children practise reading them every day.  If you want to see an example of this year’s test please go to http://primarytools.co.uk/files/phonics/year1phonicscheckcards.pdf

If you have any questions or would like any further support please come and speak to your child’s class teacher. 

Reading at school

At Threshfield we want our children to become enthusiastic, engaged readers and to develop a life-long love of books.  We introduce the children to a range of good quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry books through our whole-class, core-text approach to teaching reading, and during their weekly guided reading session.

In the early stages of reading, we teach children to decode words using phonic skills as their main approach, alongside which we teach sight vocabulary.  Once grasped, the focus for developing reading is on understanding and comprehension.  Your child will read with their class teacher once a week during their guided reading session, then independently supported by teacher set activities during the rest of the week. 

The Reading schemes we are following at present are: Oxford Reading Tree, Collins Big Cats and a mixture of other graded reading books.

Reading at home

Developing readers will bring home levelled books (according to their stage of development), and sometimes a picture book from the library each week. Independent readers will bring home a self-selected book from their class reading corner.  Please encourage your older child to change their book regularly so they can read each evening; speak to the class teacher if there is any problem with this.

Your child should be reading at home for 15 minutes or more each day.  Your support is hugely important for developing their reading skills, confidence and understanding.  Even if your child is an independent reader, it is still important for you to read with them, listen to them and discuss the books they are reading.

How to support developing readers at home:

Try to listen to and read with your child regularly, 10 minutes a day is better than a longer session once a week.  It can help if a regular time is set aside so that it becomes part of a routine. 

Find a quiet place to share books where you can feel comfortable and relaxed – learning to read needs to be a positive experience - build their confidence by praising their efforts.

Encourage your child to have a go at reading words, by using phonic skills to read any unfamiliar words, and by working on building up their sight vocabulary.

Talk about the meanings of words to help to develop your child’s understanding and use of language. 

Encourage your child to read a range of texts such as stories, newspapers, comics, labels, poetry, non-fiction, tickets, signs, leaflets etc.

Read books to your child as well; if they see you enjoying a book it will encourage and motivate them to want to learn to read.

Ask them questions about the text to develop their understanding. 

Questions to Develop Understanding:

These sort of questions are important for children to practise right through the school, however proficient a reader they are. Your help with this will make a real difference to their comprehension skills.

Where/when does the story take place?

Who are the characters in the story?

What happens in this part of the story?

Tell me one/two things that the main character does in this part of the story?

Can you retell the story using your own words?

Tell me what this character was like?

Tell me the most interesting/ exciting/ funniest/ your favourite part of the story? Why?

What do you think the character feels about...? How can you tell?

What do you think would have happened if…?

What do you think is going to happen next?

Which part of this book did you like best/least?  Why?

How has the author used words/phrases to make this character funny/ sad/ clever/ frightening/ excited etc?

Why is … a good title for this story/book/chapter/play?

Do you know any more stories like this? Tell me how they are alike.

Do you know another story with similar characters in? Tell me how they are similar.

What do you think this story is trying to tell us?

Has anything like this ever happened to you?

Non Fiction

Tell me two things you found out that you didn’t know before.

What does this part of the text tell us about ….?

Which part of the text tells us about …? 

Why are some words in bold?

How does this text/ layout help the reader?

How does (a diagram/picture/caption) help you to understand the information on this page?

If you have any questions or would like any further support please come and speak to your child’s class teacher.