At Shoreditch Park Primary, we know that every child deserves success right from the start. We know that the sooner children learn to read, the greater their life successes. This is why we put reading at the heart of what we do. We teach children to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension using the Read Write Inc. and Destination Reader programmes. We aim to foster a love of reading, giving children the very best start they can have - balancing learning to read with reading for pleasure!
The systematic teaching of phonics has high priority in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. During this time, we group children by their reading progress for 45 minutes a day (20 to 45 minutes in Reception) and re-assess children at least every half-term so we can place them in the group where they’ll make the most progress. All our staff are phonics trained and receive regular coaching and modelling to ensure they are expert phonics teachers.
Phonics depends upon children learning to read and write sounds effortlessly, so we make it simple and engaging. The phonic knowledge is split into two parts. First, we teach children one way to read and write the 40+ sounds in English. We use pictures to help, for example we make ‘a’ into the shape of an apple, ‘f’ into the shape of a flower. These pictures help all children, especially slower-starters, to read the sounds easily. Children learn to read words by sound-blending using a frog called Fred. Fred says the sounds and children help him blend the sounds to read each word. Then we teach children the different spellings of the same sounds, for example, they learn that the sound ‘ay’ is written ay, a-e and ai; the sound ‘ee’ is written ee, e and ea. We use phrases to help them remember each sound for example, ay, may I play, a-e – make a cake?
We give children books we know they can read – without any guessing. (We read lots of other stories to them, but do not expect them to read these yet.) Before they read the story, they sound out the names of characters and new words, practise reading any of the ‘tricky red’ words, and tell them a thought-provoking introduction to get them excited about the story. Then, over four days, children read the story four times: first to focus on reading the words carefully; then to help them read the story fluently; and finally, we talk about the story together, for example, how the characters might be feeling and why. By the time children read the story at home, they will be able to read it confidently with expression.
We make sure every child can read the last set of phonic stories before they progress to our higher-level programme, Destination Reader.
Children who need extra support with reading receive daily tutoring sessions. Children are regularly assessed to ensure tutoring sessions are purposeful and target phonics gaps.
Good phonics teaching will make sure that all children learn to read.
More About Read Write Inc
Reception Home Reading
Children in Reception begin their reading journey learning the initial sounds, then blending these sounds to read words. Children begin reading words from the Word Time 1 list. As their confidence grows, they progress through the reading lists and begin to read words in storybooks called ditties. See below for a list of Word Time words to read with your child. Your child’s class teacher has also sent home a blending book for your child to read. We have plenty of copies, so please ask your child’s class teacher if you need a new copy.
You must share a story with your child each day to develop their love for reading. Children will bring home a story to share each week from the class book corner.
Year 1 and 2 Home Reading
Children in years 1 and 2 who access the RWI programme will bring home two stories each week. The first story is their Book Bag Book which contains the sounds children have learnt at school, so they will be able to read this decodable book to you! The second book is a story to share, and this should be read by an adult as it contains ambitious vocabulary children can’t read for themselves.
All the sounds children learn over the week are posted in Google Classroom each Friday so children can have extra practice to build reading fluency!
Read Write Inc Videos
These packs are available now from the school office. Set 1 cards can be purchased for the new Reception children!
Reading for Pleasure
Questions and Answers
Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.
We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.
How will my child be taught to read?
We start by teaching phonics to the children in the Reception class. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters. Ask them to show you what these are.
The children also practise reading (and spelling) what we call ‘tricky words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’.
The children practise their reading with books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. They start thinking that they can read and this does wonders for their confidence.
The teachers read to the children, too, so the children get to know all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. They learn many more words this way and it also helps their writing.
How will I know how well my child is doing?
We will always let you know how well your child is doing.
We use various ways to find out how the children are getting on in reading. We use the information to decide what reading group they should be in. Your child will work with children who are at the same reading level as him or her. Children will move to a different group if they are making faster progress than the others. Your child will have one-to-one support if we think he or she needs some extra help to keep up.
We also use a reading test so that we can make sure that all our children are at the level that they should be for their age compared to all the children across the country. In the summer term, the government asks us to do a phonics check of all the Year 1 children. That gives us extra information about their progress. We will talk to you about how well your child has done, and especially if we have any worries at all.
How long will it take to learn to read well?
By the end of Year 2, your child should be able to read aloud books that are at the right level for his or her age. In Year 3 we concentrate more on helping children to understand what they are reading, although this work begins very early on. This happens when the teacher reads to the children and also when the children read their own story book.
How do I know the teaching will be good?
All the staff have been trained to teach reading in the way we do it in this school. We believe that it is very important that all the teachers and teaching assistants work in the same way. Senior teachers watch other teachers teaching to make sure that the children are learning in the way we want them to learn.
If you are worried about the teaching or you have any questions, please come to school and talk to us.
What can I do to help? Is there anything that I shouldn't do?
You will be invited to a meeting so that we can explain how we teach reading. Please come and support your child. We would very much like you to know how to help.
Your child will bring different sorts of books home from school. It helps if you know whether this is a book that your child can read on their own or whether this is a book that you should read to them. The teacher will have explained which is which. Please trust your child’s teacher to choose the book(s) that will help your child the most.
Help your child to sound out the letters in words and then to ‘push’ the sounds together to make a whole word. Try not to refer to the letters by their names. Help your child to focus on the sounds. You can hear how to say the sounds correctly on the Ruth Miskin website.
Sometimes your child might bring home a picture book that they know well. Please don’t say, ‘This is too easy.’ Instead, encourage your child to tell you the story out loud; ask them questions about things that happen or what they think about some of the characters in the story.
We know parents and carers are very busy people. But if you can find time to read to your child as much as possible, it helps him or her to learn about books and stories. They also learn new words and what they mean. Show that you are interested in reading yourself and talk about reading as a family. You can find out about good stories to read to your child on the Ruth Miskin Facebook page.
Does it matter if my child misses a lesson or two?
It matters a lot if your child misses school. The way we teach children to read is very well organised, so even one missed lesson means that your child has not learnt something that they need to know to be a good reader.
What if he or she finds it difficult to learn to read?
We want children to learn to read, however long it takes us to teach them. We will find out very quickly if your child is finding reading difficult. First, we move children to a different group, so that we can make sure that they have learnt what they need to know. If they still struggle, we give them extra time with an adult, on their own. These adults are specially trained to support these children. Your child will still be in the same group with the other children and won’t miss out on any of the class lessons.
If we have any serious worries about your child’s reading, we will talk to you about this.
Some children take a bit longer to learn to put sounds together to read a word, e.g. c-a-t to make the word ‘cat’. At our meeting, we will explain how you can help your child to do this.
What if my child turns out to be dyslexic?
The way we teach reading is especially helpful for children who might be dyslexic. This is because we use a very well-organised programme that has a strong focus on phonics. This is very important for children who find learning to read difficult. If you are worried about your child, please come and talk to us.
My child has difficulty pronouncing some sounds. Will this stop them learning to read through phonics?
This isn’t a problem for learning to read as long as we know what sound the child is trying to say. This is not something to worry about. Many children have a few sounds that they can hear clearly but find it difficult to say, particularly the l-sound, r-sound, w-sound, th-sound, s-sound, sh-sound and j-sound. Often they say a t-sound for the c-sound; "tttssh" for the s-sound; "w" for the r-sound and "r" for the l-sound. You can help your child by encouraging him or her to look at your mouth when you say the sound. Whatever you do, do not make your child feel a failure. They can easily learn to read, even if they find one or two sounds difficult to say.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns. We are here to help.
What about comprehension?
Being able to decode a text alone is not enough. Children need to comprehend what they are reading and need to be actively taught key comprehension skills from a very early age. We do this through comprehension activities linked to the stories the children come to read with Read Write Inc, and in our daily Power of Reading English lessons. We know that good readers question, check and engage with their own understanding – these are some of the skills we seek to develop. We know that decoding and comprehension should not be taught in linear progression but need to be taught simultaneously.
Where does vocabulary fit in?
Our entire curriculum has a strong emphasis on vocabulary acquisition. Vocabulary is key to understanding and learning. Children need to know, through active teaching, what words mean in order to understand what they have read. Again, this is a core purpose behind the books we read to the children in the Power of Reading English programme.
What happens once children have learnt to read?
Once children have learnt to read independently we continue to teach key reading strategies through the Destination Reader programme. Children are taught learning behaviours which enable them to support and listen to other points of view and to discuss and explain their ideas. Through this they then apply the seven reading strategies of predicting, inferring, asking questions, evaluating, clarifying, making connections and summarising.
I don’t feel confident pronouncing the sounds. How can I learn them so I can teach my child?
Take a look at our video to see how the sounds are pronounced.
Do I need to buy the Read Write Inc books?
Children will bring home a photocopy of the book/ ditty they are reading, so you don’t need to purchase them. In January, we are launching Read Write Inc book bag books. These are books children will bring home to consolidate the sounds they have been learning that week.
Are there any free books?
Yes, visit the Oxford Owl website and register with your email address to get free e-books.