In Toft Hill Primary School we teach children to read using a phonic approach. In Early Years children learn the skills which underpin phonics; the ability to listen to, recognise and discriminate between different sounds.
When children are in Reception they begin to learn their letter sounds (phonemes) and the written letters which represent them (graphemes). Children will also learn to blend sounds together to read a word and to listen to a word and recognise which sounds are used to make it. This is called blending and segmenting.
Our phonic approach is based on the ‘Letters and Sounds’ document and we teach using a multi-sensory approach. A variety of materials and resources are adapted according to the needs and interests of the children so that phonic teaching is accurately differentiated. Children’s progress and attainment in phonics is carefully tracked and as children enter Year 1 they are grouped by phonic assessment and taught in small groups so that they can learn new sounds. These groups change every half term to reflect the progress that children make.
Not all words can be sounded out using phonics and these are called ‘tricky words’. Children learn to recognise and sight read these ‘tricky words’. Whilst the majority of children will learn to read using a phonic approach, for a very small minority a phonic approach does not work. For these children they will learn to read using other approaches. This will always be discussed with parents first and is part of our provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Reading begins in Reception with children bringing home books to share with grownups at home. Once children can blend their letter sounds then the books they bring home start to contain words.
Reading continues throughout key Stages 1 and 2. In class we teach reading skills using guided reading and have a home reading system based on book bands. The school uses the following reading schemes: Collins Big Cat, Oxford reading tree, Pearson and Ginn. Children’s reading ability is carefully tracked and they will bring books home which match their level of ability, so that they can read at home with 90%-95% accuracy and fluency. As children progress with their reading the phonic approach will be only one skill in underpinning their fluency and comprehension.
They will also begin to learn to skim and scan texts and develop higher order comprehension skills.
We encourage children to read at home as much as possible and to talk about their enjoyment and understanding of the text. Talking about what a child has read and predicting what might happen next in a story or why a character has done something is really important as it helps children practise their comprehension skills