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 the highly successful ‘Read Write Inc’ 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 1, your child will have a dedicated phonics teaching session to help them prepare for the Y1 Phonic screening test. Some older children will continue to access Read Write Inc 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 Key Stage 2 (Years 3, 4, 5 and 6,) the children undertake regular guided reading sessions with the staff in their class, have a wide selection of reading materials to choose from and have projects linked to reading with rewards systems for encouragement.
ENCOURAGING younger children to read
- Set aside some time
- Find somewhere quiet without any distractions - turn off the TV / radio or computer
- Ask your child to choose a book - sharing books they have chosen shows you care what they think, that their opinion matters so they are more likely to engage with the book
- Sit close together - encourage your child to hold the book themselves and/or turn the pages
- Point to the pictures if there are illustrations and relate them to something your child knows. Ask them to describe the characters or situation or what will happen next. Encourage them to tell you the story by looking at the pictures
- Encourage your child to talk about the book - talking about the characters and their dilemmas helps children to understand relationships and give your child plenty of time to respond. Ask them what will happen next, how a character might be feeling or how the book makes them feel
- Don't be afraid to use funny voices - children love this!
- And lastly and above all - make it fun! It doesn't matter how you read with a child, as long as you enjoy the time together.
ENCOURAGING older children to read
As children get older, there's no need to stop enjoying sharing books and reading together. Research has shown that children who enjoy reading and spend more time reading for pleasure have better reading and writing skills, a broader vocabulary, and even an increased general knowledge and understanding of other cultures. But with so many other activities competing for children’s time as they get older, how can you continue to encourage your child to read for pleasure?
Tips for encouraging reading in your home with older children:
- Ensure that your children see you reading. It doesn't matter if it's the newspaper, a cookery book, a romantic novel, a detective mystery, short stories, a computer manual, a magazine... anything!
- Encourage children to join in - ask a child to read out a recipe for you as you cook, or the TV listings when you are watching TV
- Give, and encourage others to give, books or book tokens as presents
- Visit the local library together on a regular basis and enjoy spending time choosing new books
- Encourage children to carry a book at all times so they can read on journeys or in spare moments – you can do this too!
- Keep reading together. There are lots of books that both adults and young people can enjoy. Read books you can all talk about but make the talk light-hearted, not testing or over-questioning
- Make sure your home is a reading home - have a family bookshelf and make sure there are shelves in your children's bedrooms as well.
- Don't panic if your child reads the same book over and over again - be honest, we've probably all done it!
- Encourage your children and their friends to swap books with each other - this will encourage them to talk and think about the books they are reading.
Through reading, children learn about people, places and events outside their own experience. They are exposed to ways of life, ideas and beliefs about the world which may be different from those which surround them.
This learning is important for its own sake however it also builds a store of background knowledge which helps younger children learn to read confidently and well.
Below is a list of suggested books arranged in year groups.
You may find the following prompt sheet helpful when listening to your child read at home.