Reading and Phonics
At Southfield Park Primary School we see reading as an integral part of the school curriculum that impacts on all learning. We value the importance of children becoming lifelong readers and work hard to develop their reading and comprehension skills. We want children to enjoy reading a wide range of different books and be able to talk confidently about books and authors.
Your child's reading experience is much more than the reading book which comes home from school. Reading is happening all the time in the classroom in the form of one-to-one reading with an adult, shared reading, guided reading sessions and independent reading but children are practising and using their 'reading' constantly across all subjects too.
Our reading programme bands fiction and nonfiction books from a range of high quality schemes such as Oxford Reading Tree, Collins Big Cat and Pearson Bug Club etc into colours. The books increase in difficulty in both phonics and comprehension and they aim to be challenging at both word and text level. Children are regularly assessed by their class teacher through the PM Benchmarking scheme to see whether they are confident enough to move to the next colour band, teachers complete a running reading record to assess how accurate children are at decoding words and then there are a series of comprehension questions to assess how accurate they are at understanding what is happening within the text. Once the children have moved through all the colour bands they become a ‘Free Reader’, they then take more ownership of their reading and choose books based on their own judgement.
Guided Reading sessions provide the opportunity for a small group of children (about 6 who are all at a similar ability level) to all read and discuss the same text. For beginning readers, the emphasis will be on learning to use reading strategies, such as context clues, letter and sound knowledge, and syntax or word structure. As children develop as readers, the adult uses focused questioning to strengthen the children’s comprehension skills and deepen their understanding of the text.
The teaching of phonics is a key focus at Southfield Park for our developing readers. We ensure that all children in Reception, year 1 and year 2 classes are taught phonic skills through a daily 20 minute interactive phonic lesson. This develops the children’s ability to tackle unknown words within a text by blending the phonemes (sounds) within the word.
The phonic lessons are structured to ensure that children are first able to identify letters and to say the sound those letters make. Once children are confident with saying the single letter sounds and blending them to create words, they then start to learn the common digraphs (where two letters go together to create a new phoneme such as sh), trigraphs (where three letters create a new phoneme such as igh) and spelling patterns that we use within the English language.
In Years 1 and 2, children are allocated into groups across the key stage in order to achieve an appropriate level of challenge. If it is needed children continue to receive phonics teaching where appropriate.
We actively encourage parents to support their child’s development in reading through regular reading at home. Reading to and with your child every evening for at least ten minutes can make a dramatic difference to a child's achievement within school. From early in Reception, children are able to take home books to read with an adult. We provide a range of reading schemes in order to broaden children’s understanding, interest and enjoyment of reading. In Phase 2 and 3, as their reading develops, children are encouraged to read from a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books. As well as choosing books from class book corners, all children have the opportunity to visit our school library which is full of exciting books