Learning to read is a tricky and sometimes challenging thing for children. Teachers, other adults and parents can collectively help to make this an enjoyable and fun activity. If approached in the right way then children learn to read fluently and for a variety of purposes with speed, accuracy and understanding. Reading opens the doors for children and should be an enriching experience sparking a child's interest in language and literature for lifelong success and enjoyment.
We use a variety of techniques and materials/resources to help children learn to read. We must stress that learning to read is very much an individual process and children must not be 'switched off' from learning through their early experiences. We all want children to make progress but if they are rushed or pushed through the development stages they need to experience then they will have misconceptions or difficulties later on or even worse, be switched off from reading. There is an old saying which goes 'children start by learning to read and then they read to learn.' Lets get it right together - please see your child's class teacher who will gladly help parents in supporting their child's progress in reading.
Children need to be read to often with enjoyable books and stories, often at bedtime as a positive and lovely end to the day but also at other times and within school as part of a shared reading activity.
Listening to words and sounds within words relies upon children to develop their 'ear' to tune into initial sounds of words. Often a teacher will start by asking children to identify the sound and repeat it.
At the same time children will be taught to recognise and write letters of the alphabet 'linking letters to sounds'. We use a systematic scheme of introducing these letters and sounds (phonics) so that children do not become overloaded by the complexities of the English language. These are built upon through phonic phases 1-5 of letters and sounds (a national scheme). We teach phonics all the time throughout the curriculum but also as a discrete daily session of phonics in FS and KS1. Sometimes teachers will group children for these activities so that they can teach at the right level. Teachers teach phonics systematically but use a variety of resources to supplement 'letters and sounds'.
Early reading books should be closely matched to a child's phonic understanding and we are in the process of re-stocking our shelves to ensure this is possible.
As well as phonics, children as they progress are taught 'tricky words' which defy the usual phonic rules. In addition, 'sight vocab' of words is built up and children are taught to make predictions from their knowledge of sentence structure and context. This is built upon from the childrens knowledge of spoken language.
We use the Oxford Reading Scheme within school which is banded into stages. Your child will soon be familiar with the characters like Biff and Chip as they go on their adventures! This is also supported by many 'banded' non-fiction and poetry books and 'Bug Club' books.
Once your child has become more able to decode unfamiliar words and sight read 'tricky words', the emphasis is placed on fluency i.e. reading at speed and comprehension. Shared reading sessions are part of all teachers timetables and follow the VIPERS strategy that enables children to identify and answer Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval and Sequencing or Summarising questions.
As children develop their own tastes and hopefully enjoyment of reading it is important that they develop a broad range of interests including non-fiction and poetry. These text types provide good opportunities to develop vocabulary which is key to a child's academic success. Please support your child by hearing them read on a regular basis, even in the later KS2 years, so new vocabulary can be discussed and understood.
Technology - Although nothing can replace a good book please do not dismiss children reading magazines or tablets, iPads etc. Anything which gets children reading for pleasure is a good thing (although do keep an eye on what your child is accessing online!). After all, many adults now choose to browse and read on kindles, iPads or phones rather than tucking into a good book. Let's promote a healthy interest in both worlds!
Should you require additional support, please speak to your child's class teacher.
Additional help can be sought from Mrs Pettit (our Literacy Co-ordinator)
We do offer curriculum evenings annually for all year groups where will share with you information on reading - please try to attend.