Time and time again, research shows that learning to read is directly linked to children's success at school and beyond.
Here at St Chad's, we value reading. We want our children to be fluent and confident readers but above all we want all of our children to Love to Read.
We believe that the relationship between school reading and home reading is vital. It is never too early to start sharing books with your child. Learning to read is about listening and understanding as well as working out print. When children hear stories, they are exposed to a rich and wide vocabulary. This helps them build their own vocabulary and improve their understanding when they listen, which is vital as they start to read. Some of the things that you can do include:
- Reading aloud to your child, talking about the words and pictures, and sharing ideas about the book.
- Reading yourself: Children who see adults reading, and enjoying reading, are much more likely to want to read themselves
- Making sure your child is surrounded by books: You don't need hundreds of books at home and ou don't need to spend lots of money! We recommend regular visit to our local library at Pear Tree.
- Most importantly, talk to your child. Spend time with them, doing simple activities (playing, cooking, making something...). As you talk about what you're doing, you are helping them to learn new words. Later, when they see words written down, they have already heard them and know what they mean.
How should I read to my child?
- As you read to your child, bring the characters to life - talk about the characters, the drawings and the events so that the story starts to come alive.
- Don't be afraid to try different voices or try out your acting skills! Remember that your faces says it all so exaggerate your expressions.
- Emphasise repeated words and phrases ('fee-fi-fo-fum!'). Encourage your child to say the words with you.
- Turn off the television and concentrate on enjoying the book.
- Try audio books that the children can listen to on the car stereo, on tablets or phones.
How often should I read to my child, and how long for?
Be guided by how long your child will listen for. For younger children, this may be quite short periods of time, while slightly older children may be readier to listen for longer. Many experts suggest that a routine helps to support reading. A bedtime story can be a nice way for you to spend a small amount of time together and wind down after a busy day.
How can I choose books at the right level for my child?At St Chad's, we have a colour-coded system which grades how easy/difficult a book might be. This is particularly important when children are still learning phonics. We expect a child to read a book with about 95% accuracy if they are reading by themselves. Less then that, and it's likely that they are missing out, or misreading too many words for them to make sense of the story.
The 'Rule of Five' can support older children's reading. Encourage them to read the first page or two of a new book. They must put one finger for every word they cannot read. If they get to five fingers, then the book is too hard for them and they should choose another one.
We encourage parents to read with their children at home and actively promote the importance of bedtime reading. Throughout the year we hold a number of parent workshops to support with all aspects of home reading, including early reading skills, phonics and shared reading time. We are committed to supporting all of our parents in becoming skilled and confident readers. In addition to our parent workshops, we organise bespoke parent classes, including ESOL classes, which are delivered by an outside adult trainer. Enquiries about our parent classes can be made at our main school office.
We actively promote visits to our local library. Each year, we organise a trip to the library in our Reception class: all parents are encouraged to attend and register their child for a library card. We are visited annually by the Book Start team.
We are very fortunate to have a designated library. Children have the opportunity during the week to visit and spend time in our library and to choose a book to take home.
All children are encouraged to change their reading books as often as possible. We praise and reward recording at home through Class Dojo. Home Record Records are checked daily. We expect every child to read their school book at home with an adult three times a week.
We assign home reading books from Reception upwards. Every child is also issued with a Home Reading Record Book. At St Chad's, we value and expect regular home reading. We ask that children read their home reading book three times a week to an adult. Please sign your child's Home Reading Record to say that he/she has read. We monitor reading records on a daily and weekly basis and ask that reading bags are brought to school every day.
We are very fortunate to have a group of Reading Volunteers who work across Key Stage 1 with children requiring additional support.
Further information on how we support and teach reading in school can be found here.
The majority of our home reading books are taken from a scheme called Oxford Reading Tree. Familiarising your child with the main characters from the books will help and support during the early stages of reading.
What is phonics?
With phonics, children are taught to read by learning the phonemes (sounds) that represent letters or groups of graphemes (letters).
With this knowledge, children can begin to read words by learning how to blend the sounds together. Unlocking how this alphabetic code works means that they can learn to decode any word. For example, when taught the sounds 's' 'a' 't' 'p' 'i' early on, children can read words such as it, is, tap, pat, sip and sat by blending the individual sounds together to make the whole word.
These words can also be broken down (segmented) into their phonemes for spelling. For example, the word 'sat' has three phonemes, /s/,/a/ and /t/ which the children learn to write with the three graphemes (letters) 's', 'a' and 't' that they have been taught.
They will also be taught to read words such as 'he', 'was' or 'they' which don't follow the phonics 'rules'. They'll build up a stock of these 'tricky' words they can recognise straight away.
At St Chad's, we follow the programme Letters and Sounds
. Letters and Sounds is split into six phases:
- Phase 1 (Nursery)
- Phase 2 (Reception)
- Phase 3 (Reception)
- Phase 4 (Reception moving into Year 1)
- Phase 5 (Year 1)
- Phase 6 (Year 2)
Further information on how we support and teach phonics in school can be found here.
Further information on the 'Letters and Sounds', including full access to the programme, can be found by clicking on the image below.