Reading and Phonics at Heather
At Heather, children in Year EYFS (Reception) and Year 1 follow a synthetic based phonic teaching approach. Teachers follow the guidance of ‘Letters and Sounds’ to support their planning and teaching. This begins with children learning the sounds individual letters make, the beginning to read simple words by sounding the individual letter sounds out and blending them to form complete words. Teachers also use materials and guidance from Babcock Education and Phonics Play to ensure we are covering age related expectations in both phonics and spelling in both Years 1 and 2.
Our daily phonics sessions are fun and involve lots of speaking and listening games. Children are expected to be active participants and they soon begin to use these new skills in reading and writing activities as well as their independent play within the classroom provision.
Letters and sounds is divided into phases, each phase builds up on the skills and knowledge of previous learning. Whilst the children are learning to segment and blend decodable words, they are also taught to read then spell ‘tricky words’. These words may have unusual spellings or possibly contain sounds the children have not yet been taught – such as was, said, the – sounding out these words doesn’t always work so the children are taught to read them by sight.
When the children begin at Heather, they will continue to sing a wide range of nursery rhymes and familiar songs, the Reception staff will read to the children a select range of high-quality good books, some of which will have repeating patterns and rhymes for the children to join in with.
When the children are confident with the first 19 sounds that they learn, they are given a decodable reading book to practise their reading at home. These decodable books are from a range of schemes such as Floppy’s Phonics, Big Cat Phonics and the Phonics Bug Range and include both a variety of fiction and non-fiction.
All children learn at different rates, all children will not necessarily get a reading book at the same time, some may be given decodable word list to help build up their confidence in recognising letters, the sounds they make and blending them together.
As the children become more fluent and their sight vocabulary develops, they will be given the opportunity to read more widely from a range of texts organised into book bands. These book bands contain a range of books from different reading schemes such as Usborne, Oxford Reading Tree, Rigby Star as well as a range of ‘real’ books as we feel it is important for the children to experience a broad range of different text types. More details about Book Bands at Heather can be in the Book Band document linked below
All children are given opportunity to access a book of their choosing from the school library which may be above or below their own reading ability. This book is intended to be read and shared at home with an adult and is a way of promoting reading for pleasure. Children’s reading experiences are broadened further by sharing stories in assemblies and reading books from the class, class novels and teachers using high quality texts in both themed and literacy lessons across the school.
We ask that parents try to establish a regular reading routine at home to support their children in their learning, as this is one of the easiest ways for you to get involved and help your child to make important progress. We hold termly Golden Ticket Draws – children who read at least three times a week at home are given a raffle ticket. One ticket per year group is drawn each half term. These children get to choose a free book and have a hot chocolate whilst they begin to enjoy reading it.
Click here to find useful websites and other resources to support reading at home.