Early Reading at Vicar’s Green Primary School
At Vicar’s Green Primary School, we believe that every child should learn to read, regardless of their background, needs or abilities. We use the Read, Write Inc programme to teach systematic, synthetic phonics, from the beginning of Reception to Year 2 and have clear expectations of pupils’ phonics progress term by term. The sequence of reading books follows the progression in phonics knowledge and is closely matched to the phonics programme.
Reading in Reception
In Reception, children first begin to read by using phonics. This involves learning letter sounds and hearing and saying the sounds in words. They move on to being able to read and write the 44 phonemes in the English language, which includes groups of letter such as ai and igh. Alongside learning letter sounds, children will also learn to read common exception words or tricky words. These words cannot be sounded out e.g. said, could. Children are taught phonics systematically and they practise their early reading by reading words which contain taught phonemes and phonetically decodable books.
When reading books, children use their own experiences, pictures and the setting of the story to help them understand what they are reading about. They are encouraged to use language and their knowledge of known stories to tell a story by using pictures to help them. We encourage children to develop their comprehension skills so that they make sense of the words they read and learn to interpret meaning.
Teaching of reading
The teaching and practice of reading is teacher-led to begin with. This is achieved through whole class sessions, smaller guided reading sessions and individual reading with a teacher or teaching assistant. Staff read aloud stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction texts that develop children’s vocabulary, language comprehension and love of reading. At Vicar’s Green, we use a range of books from different reading schemes which are banded. Many of the books are phonics based at the beginning. This is to ensure that children take steady and progressive steps towards being successful readers. Books are sent home weekly so that children can practise their skills with a parent or carer. Children are given sufficient practice in reading and re-reading books both at school and at home. As a result, pupils are familiar with and enjoy listening to a wide range of stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction.
We strongly encourage parents to read daily with their child. At the beginning of the academic year we hold a Phonics Workshop for parents, where we model how phonics is taught at school and encourage parents to get actively involved and ask questions. We hold a reading morning once a term, where parents are encouraged to come into their children’s classroom and read with their children. Teachers support parents in using strategies to develop comprehension skills by asking targeted questions.