Learning to read at Springfield
Teaching children to read and write independently, as quickly as possible, is one of the core purposes of a primary school. These key skills not only unlock the rest of the curriculum but also have a huge impact on children’s self-confidence and future life chances.
The National Curriculum programmes of study for reading are based on the simple view of reading. This model shows that reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading. In all our classrooms, from Nursery to Year 6, we prioritise reading to our children because we know that listening to and talking about stories develops children’s vocabulary. The Reading Framework 2021
To ensure that our children are able to read and write successfully, we use the programme Read Write Inc to teach phonics. Phonics teaches children that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. Children’s knowledge of the English alphabetic code – how letters or groups of letters represent the sounds of the language – supports their reading and spelling.
In Read Write Inc. Phonics children:
- Decode letter-sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly, using their phonic knowledge and skills
- Read common exception words on sight
- Understand what they read
- Read aloud with fluency and expression
- Write confidently, with a strong focus on vocabulary and grammar
- Spell quickly and easily by segmenting the sounds in words
Watch this short introduction to RWI phonics for more information: What is RWI Phonics?
Early Reading at Springfield
Reading is one of the most important lifelong skills that children will begin to develop while they are in our nursery. We actively teach the skills needed for children to become good readers using a range of activities, strategies and resources. First and foremost, we aim to instil a love of reading in our children. We do this by sharing carefully selected stories with the children every day. As well as reading to the children, we encourage them to share books with their friends. Our Nursery classroom has an inviting book corner where children can choose their own books to look at or share.
Before children begin matching letters to sounds in phonics sessions, we teach our children about sounds around them so that they can spot the differences and differentiate between many sounds. In these sessions we also teach children about the rhythm in words, about rhyme and alliteration. Children will learn and join in with many songs, jingles and rhymes while they are with us. They will develop their own repertoire of Nursery rhymes and Maths rhymes to help them learn skills to help them read. When the children are ready, we start the next stage of our phonics programme by teaching the children the letters of the alphabet and their corresponding sound. We use the Read Write Inc. sound cards and mnemonics to support children as they match letters to sounds.
In Reception, learning to read becomes an essential part of the children’s daily routine. Within a group, children are taught the initial sounds of the alphabet. Sounds are associated with familiar words, for example a for apple, to help children to grasp the letter-sound correspondences quickly. Children are also taught to read common exception words e.g. the or he.
Following the RWI programme, we start by teaching children to read the first thirty sounds (Set 1 Sounds) and to blend these sounds to read words (i.e. to know that the sounds c/a/t can blend together to read the word cat). We introduce the sounds of letters first rather than their alphabet names as the sounds support them as they learn how to decode texts. Once our children have mastered the skill of sounding out and blending, they start reading stories and texts that have words made up of the sounds they know. This means that they can embed and apply their phonic knowledge and start to build their reading fluency. At the same time, we teach them to write the sounds and use this knowledge to spell, leading to writing short sentences.
Once our children have mastered the Set 1 sounds and have started to build-up a bank of words they can read on sight, they progress to learning the more complex sounds (Set 2 and 3). As their confidence and fluency grows, the children read texts with increasingly more complex sounds and graphemes (different ways of spelling the sounds, e.g. /igh/, /ie/ or /ay/, /ai/). They learn that a sound can be written using 2 or 3 or even 4 letters. We call this a grapheme (e.g. igh represent the /i/ sound in the word night).
During their phonic lessons, children read lively phonics books which are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of sounds so that they experience success in reading. Alongside their phonics lessons, we continue to immerse children in high-quality texts which are read aloud to the children every day. We use story-maps as a way of encouraging children to learn these narratives off by heart so that they can retell them with confidence. Children are encouraged to select their own books to read which are on display in the book corner. All around the Reception classroom, we have text asking children questions, making statements and giving information. These purposeful texts help children to read for meaning and understand that writing has a purpose.
Watch this pronunciation guide to learn how to say all the sounds: How to say the sounds.
As the children progress into Key Stage 1, they continue to develop and consolidate their growing knowledge of sounds or phonemes and their associated graphemes. Within a group, children are taught sounds in a lively and engaging lesson. They continue to read phonics books which contain the sounds they know so that they can read with increasing fluency. Children’s comprehension or understanding of the story is developed through multiple readings, making predictions, book discussions, retelling events and answering questions.
Whole-class reading – Years 2-6
At Springfield, we teach reading whole-class from the point in Year 2 when the majority of children have successfully mastered the phonics programme. Once children can securely, confidently and fluently apply their phonic knowledge, reading lessons are designed to provide children with both breadth and depth in their reading experience and to ensure children are taught to comprehend a diverse range of appropriately and aspirationally pitched fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts written for a range of purposes.
Supporting ‘fledgling’ readers
Children who are reading below the level expected for their age are identified through assessment and rigorously supported to make rapid progress. Children in KS2 who are new to English attend daily phonics lessons until they are able to decode texts accurately and read fluently. Regular phonics assessments track their progress through the different sets of sounds in RWI.
How can parents and carers help at home?
There is much you can do to support your child at home.
- Talk to your children! The most important thing you can do is to talk to your child and listen to them when they are talking to you. Try to extend their vocabulary range and their skill at talking in increasingly more complex sentences. For example, try to teach them alternative words for ideas, or nouns they already know.
- Read to them and always discuss the story you are reading to try to build your child’s comprehension skills and understanding.
- Practise the sounds they know at home. The sounds the children know are in the front of their home reading books.
- Listen to your child read every night. Find a quiet time to hear your child read and use lots and lots of praise to encourage them.
Look out for our Reading Workshops for parents and carers, where you can find out more details of how to help at home. Click here for some further ideas.
If you need further advice or help with how best to help, please do ask your child’s class teacher who will be really happy to meet with you.
Please see the document below from our Early Reading parents meeting for more information about our early reading programme and how you can support at home.
For further information about Read Write Inc. Phonics and how you can support your child, please click here: http://www.ruthmiskin.com/en/parents/