Phonics and Reading Schemes
Children are encouraged to develop a broad range of skills in speaking and listening, reading and writing. Children participate in a daily English lesson in Year 1 to 6, and in a wide range of language activities in Reception Class.
Reading is a fundamental skill and we encourage parents to join in the excitement of their children learning to read. We don’t use a single reading scheme, but rather match children to books that will best develop their skills and interest. Every class has its' own book corner with a variety of books suited to a particular age group.
Since December 2019 we have used Accelerated Reader to band our books in school, as previous bandings were not phonically appropriate and often were not matched in comprehension levels. Previously, gap analysis found a lot of our children were able technical readers, but their inference skills were limited and they lacked stamina, this led to a lack of progress over their time in school. To further develop our children's reading we looked at a range of reading schemes which would help us and this is a scheme which addresses all of our gaps.
Accelerated Reader is a computerised programme that has not only been speciﬁcally designed to improve children’s reading ability and continue to raise their reading age, but also to encourage and nurture a love of reading that will continue into adulthood.
. Each child in Y2-6 has sat a short online comprehension test in order to determine their ZPD. A child’s ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) is essentially a selection of books that will not only match their ability, but will also challenge them and develop their vocabulary.
Using the outcomes of these tests, the children will be directed to choose books from the school library that fall within this range. When they have ﬁnished the book, they will take a short, electronic quiz that assesses their understanding of what they have read.
The school runs a range of rewards to encourage this reading, from weekly reading awards, words read, points scored and targets met.
Why are we doing this?
This testing enables us as teachers to have meaningful discussions about a child’s reading: what they have learnt and how we can help them to develop. It also enables us to closely monitor individual reading progress and ensure that children are selecting books that are challenging enough to meet their individual needs.
At Lynsted and Norton Primary we want pupils to appreciate how valuable and rewarding reading can be and dedicated time is built into our curriculum for independent reading and accessing the quizzes after completing each book.
A Parent’s Guide on the scheme can be found here.
An event which we join in with each year, is World Book Day. This is a great opportunity to focus on the pleasure that books and reading can bring to our lives. As well as enjoying a range of activities based around books, the children come to school dressed up as various characters from books. The effort which is put into these costumes is always amazing!
Phonics is a method of teaching children to read and write quickly and skilfully. A major part of early language learning is the teaching of phonics, which is done using a range of methods including both written and practical kinaesthetic activities.
We mainly use the following phonics schemes; Letters and sounds and Jolly Phonics. This enables us to use a variety of techniques to adapt the curriculum to the needs of the children and provide a variety of layers of learning.
In EYFS children are taught to recognise the 44 sounds in the English language which we put together to form words. Some are represented by one letter, like 't', and some by two or more, like 'ck' in duck and 'oi’ as in oil. We refer to these as diagraphs.
Once they have mastered the initial sounds the children are encouraged to match them to letters, then blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word. Finally, they use their knowledge of the sounds and blending skills to support their spelling. The children learn to read a list of age appropriate ‘tricky’ words, words which do not follow the rules of standard English and cannot be sounded out using their phonics e.g ‘the’.
In Key Stage 1 the children revise the 44 sounds and begin to blend 3 sounds (trigraphs) to support ‘decoding’ of words that they hear or see and in turn, learn to spell words phonetically. Towards the end of Key Stage 1 and moving in to Key Stage 2, we teach the children important ‘spelling rules’. This enables children to make the shift from writing phonetically to spelling words accurately.
Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7.
Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently and to read for enjoyment. Children who have been taught phonics also tend to read more accurately than those taught using other methods, such as ‘look and say’. This includes children who find learning to read difficult, for example those who have dyslexia.