How We Teach Phonics & Reading

Reading is something that we are passionate about at Parkland Infant School - Our aim is to create a community of children who delight in books and find enormous pleasure in reading stories, poetry and non-fiction. Below you will find the steps that we take to ensure we promote a real love of reading…

  • We start by following the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme when the children join us in the Foundation Stage.
  • Letter sounds (phonemes) are taught each week. When the children have learnt 6 sounds (s, a, t, p, i, n) they begin to blend these together to make words.
  • As well as individual letter sounds and phonemes, children also learn high frequency words and ‘tricky words’ by sight. Children take home sounds and words in their home/school books during The Foundation Stage and build up to looking at phonic patterns.
  • Children start taking a class library book and a reading scheme book home in the first weeks of school once the teachers have assessed the children's current knowledge. We use Oxford Reading Tree books as well as Collins Big Cats. This ensures individualised support is given.
  • Children have daily letters and sounds (phonics) sessions throughout school which involve games and activities that teach blending and segmenting. They read in a group once a week (guided Reading) and they also read to an adult on a one to one basis at least once a week.
  • We encourage parents and grandparents to support reading at home and welcome them in to school to help during the week.
  • A range of texts are chosen and are often linked to our Learning Journey. These may be non-fiction, fiction or poetry.

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We actively promote trips to our school library and children are exposed to a minimum of three stories each day in school.

Reading at Home - Information for Parents

At Parkland Infant School, we are aware that children learn to read in a variety of ways. We immerse the children in shared reading, guided reading, individual reading and in ‘Letters and sounds’ sessions on a daily basis. We also ensure that there is a story session to end each day at school. Please find below some of the things that we do to promote reading in the classroom and some ideas for helping your child with learning to read at home. A two-way partnership will benefit your child greatly:

Reading at Home

We expect your child to read at home EVERY day and this should be recorded in your child's reading diary.

Individual reading at home is the most valuable reading time your child can have! A five or ten minute session a day with your child can greatly improve their reading ability. (Reading also unlocks a whole world of possibilities in other curriculum areas too!) It may not always involve hearing your child read to you, it may be that you are ‘sharing’ the book and discussing what has happened. You could also use words that come home to learn for playing games such as bingo.

Please sign your child's reading diary every day when you read with them or practise their words. This keeps us informed of how things are going at home and allows us to provide fresh challenges.

Reading other books and texts apart from school reading books is also very valuable and it does not always have to be their school reading book that they read.

Other Top Tips for reading with your child

  • Play games such as I spy or pretend to be The Three Billy Goats Gruff or The Gruffalo when you are out and about.
  • Visit our School Website Phonics section and watch the video!
  • Enjoy rhyming stories to help children learn the stories off by heart.
  • Act out stories together using dfferent voices.
  • Read joke books, non-fiction, comic book and poetry. There are some great magazines for children too, such as National Geographic for Kids.
  • Remember to visit the library too - They offer some really valuable advice and story time sessions as well as The Summer Reading Challenge.

Guided Reading

Your child will read as part of a small group once a week at school. They may be reading a non-fiction or fiction text and it will match the book band that they are currently on. The Foundation Stage begin guided reading sessions in Term 2. This provides the adult time to sharpen key skills and promote questioning about the book. This ensures comprehension skills are developed as well as decoding skills.

Individual Reading

Your child will read to a teacher, learning support assistant or parent helper at least once a week. The child's book will be changed when they have finished it. We encourage children to choose their own book from their book band. This helps children to develop reading for pleasure and to have ownership over their book. Books within book bands may include books from different schemes and different genres - to ensure children are reading a wide variety of texts. In KS1, Children take responsibility for putting their book out to be changed.

Letters and Sounds sessions

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All children in all classes will have a 20 minutes session of Letters and Sounds every day. The session may focus on a specific phoneme (eg. ‘a’) or diagraph (eg. ‘ch’). The session may also focus on ‘tricky words’ (words which are hard to sound out eg. ‘the’) or on blending and segmenting words for reading. We often play lots of fun games during these sessions! Look out for the demonstration lessons!

Shared reading and Story Time

Often we will share a ‘Big Book’ with children as part of a shared reading session. The whole class look at the text together and the teacher is able to model good reading skills. For example, using the picture to help predict a word, using the context of the sentence, pointing to words, using expression when reading speech and using punctuation to read with expression etc. At the end of every day, we finish with a story.

If you have any questions about reading, please do speak with the class teacher or myself. We are always happy to help! Do look out for the Recommended Reads section of the fortnightly newsletter too.

Ms J Castle Mercer - (Literacy Subject Leader)

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