At St Michael’s we believe passionately that reading is a vital life skill and we are committed to ensuring that all children become fluent readers as quickly as possible.
We use the letters and sounds progression to teach children the sounds of the English language through daily phonics lessons.
In reception, the children begin by learning the 44 sounds. Through ‘sounding out’ words and blending the sounds together children learn to read and write. At this early stage children use their sounds to help them spell, as well as learning a small number of common and tricky words from Dr Jonathon Solity’s list of common words such as ‘was’ and ‘you’.
Phonics teaching continues throughout Year One where children learn the different ways sounds can be represented in print. Children continue to learn to read and spell common and tricky words such as ‘were’ and ‘who’. In Year Two the emphasis in phonics teaching moves towards increasingly accurate spelling and choosing the right spelling for the sound in a particular word.
In addition to daily phonics lessons, children in KS1 have regular guided reading sessions focussing on the 3 main skills of reading:
- Decoding (using their phonics knowledge to sound out unknown words)
- Comprehension (understanding the text they are reading)
- Prosody (reading with expression)
By the end of Key Stage 1, our pupils are able to read aloud age-appropriate texts with fluency, speed and expression.
The books that children take home are closely matched to their phonics knowledge and are fully decodable (meaning they can use their phonics knowledge to sound out any unknown words). Repeated practice of these books both at home and school allows children to develop fluency.
In addition to their decodable books, children also take home a high quality book to share with adults and siblings. This exposes children to a range of vocabulary, stories and non-fiction texts beyond their current reading ability.
Reading at home
Although your child will be taught to read at school, you can have a huge impact on their reading journey by helping them to practice at home.
There are two types of reading book that your child may bring home:
A phonics book – This will be at the correct phonic stage for your child. They should be able to read this fluently and independently.
A 500 book – Your child will not be able to read this on their own. This book is for you both to read and enjoy together.
Phonics book – This book has been carefully matched to your child’s current reading level. If your child is reading it with little help, please don’t worry that it’s too easy – your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading.
Listen to them read the book. Remember to give them lots of praise – celebrate their success! If they can’t read a word, read it to them. After they have finished, talk about the book together. If your child is having to ‘sound out’ lots of words in the book, then it is too difficult for them – please get in touch with your child’s teacher.
500 book – The St Michael’s 500 books have been specially selected to represent the very best of children’s literature. The programme is designed to give children access to a wide range of high quality books with fantastic vocabulary, wonderful illustrations and great stories. If children read 4 of these books per week from reception to the end of year 2 then they will read all 500.
The 500 book they bring home will be a book that they have chosen for you to enjoy together. Please remember that you shouldn’t expect your child to read this alone. Read it to or with them. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters, explore the facts in a non-fiction book. The main thing is that you have fun!