Teaching children to read is the most exciting part of teaching. At Chepstow House, emphasis is placed on reading for enjoyment and meaning. We use a structured phonic scheme, Jolly Phonics, that also introduces tricky words in a progressive way that encourages reading for meaning, in order to help children not just learn how to read but to become a reader.
To start with we, use a variety of reading scheme books that are banded using the Guided Reading book banding system. This means that books from all the schemes are organised together, with a range of genres, to ensure progression from the first stages of recognising sound-letter relations to building up a sight vocabulary of high frequency words, learning how to decode longer words, learning the meaning of words and understanding more complex sentences. Our aim is for the children to become independent readers, with all children reading chapter books by the end of year 2, be it simple or more complex.
The children are assessed throughout their time at school using PM Benchmark running records to ensure they are reading fluently and with comprehension at their correct level. The children’s reading ages are assessed every 6 months. Children not making the expected progress are worked with individually using a structured programme that develops phonic and high frequency word recognition and decoding skills.
Types of Formal Reading Teaching
Within class the children are heard reading daily, either individually or in guided reading groups. This is to ensure the children become readers and not just ‘able to read’.
Sending reading books and phonic recognition home daily: This is done in order for the children to reinforce and celebrate what they are doing at school at home. We send home the Jolly Phonic letters daily with directions on the sound and action and this is accompanied with the letter formation in the cursive style. This provides the parents/carers with support and guidance on how to help their child and it also allows an opportunity to reinforce class practice at home.
The teacher or teaching assistant will listen to a child read one to one. Time is spent talking about the story and helping guide the child to decide which method is best to help them decode words.
Guided reading involves explicit teaching but it is carried out in small groups of children with similar reading attainment. Reading in a group, under the teacher’s guidance, is a way to offer focused instruction while enabling children to appreciate increasingly challenging texts. The children enjoy listening to each other read the story and it provides an opportunity for the teacher to model intonation, look at punctuation, discuss the book and so develop listening and comprehension skills. It also allows for group discussion of the text, meaning of words and opinions of the story. Hearing other people’s views encourages a deeper reading of the material and cognitive stimulus.
When first starting to read the children are taught phonic recognition. This happens daily either through whole class or small group activities. Phonic recognition is continued through from reception to year 2.
Informal Reading Opportunities
Reading aloud to the teacher is not the only form of reading that your child will experience in class. This is just a small part of the literacy skills that your child is taking part in everyday within the class.
Words are all around them. Displays and notices give a sense that the written word is about enjoyment as well as information.
Each class has a reading box full of books and the children have opportunities everyday to look through these books and enjoy the pictures as well as the words.
Throughout the day the children are encouraged to express and share their ideas in order to draw out their awareness of language. Sounds, letters and words are also introduced through games, wordplay, poem reciting and shared book time.
Story time is an important part of reading. Having the opportunity to listen to a story helps children to focus on the sounds of words read without interruption and provides a model of fluent reading. Parents in the Reception class are invited in once a week to read their child’s class a story.
Children Needing Support
Children not making the expected progress are worked with individually and daily using a structured programme that develops phonic and high frequency word recognition and decoding skills. In some cases children will be taken out of class by support staff, in other cases support is provided in class.
Children Needing to be Challenged
Depending on the ability and circumstances, children may join guided reading groups in classes above.