The understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words underpins children’s reading and spelling of all words. Children should listen to and discuss a wide range of stories, poems, plays and information books. The sooner that pupils can read well and do so frequently, the sooner they will be able to increase their vocabulary, comprehension and their knowledge across the wider curriculum.
‘No book ever ends, when it’s full of your friends…’ – Roald Dahl, The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me
At Beddington Infants’ School, we aim for all children to develop a lifelong love of reading. We ensure high-quality books are available and accessible in every classroom. Our book corners are cosy and inviting and our staff share and discuss stories with the children every day.
Through stories and rhymes, we ensure children are exposed to new words and talk about what they mean in order to develop their vocabularies. As well as engaging with fiction, children have plenty of opportunities to read and share non-fiction texts which develop their knowledge and understanding of the world around them.
Throughout the day, we encourage children to link what they read or hear to their own experiences. They become very familiar with key stories, fairy stories and traditional tales, which they are encouraged to retell. They discuss different events that happen and make predictions and inferences. When they read independently, children are also taught to check that the text makes sense to them.
How to help at home
We have a variety of books within reading schemes at school, including the Oxford Reading Tree Scheme and Phonics Bug Club Books. Books from the correct colour band will come home with your child so that you can read after school and ask your child questions linked to the text. Daily reading improves your child’s confidence and ensures they make good progress as they are learning to read trickier texts.
There are many different ways to promote a love of reading at home:
Listen to your child read to you every day.
Read a bedtime story to your child every evening.
After family days out e.g. to a farm, make a memory book with your child – include your child’s drawings of the animals and label them, adding captions too.
Encourage your child to start telling you stories beginning with ‘Once upon a time’.
Put on a puppet show with your child using home-made or bought puppets and act out a familiar or made-up story.
Go on a ‘listening walk’ to see which sounds you can spot around the house, at the park, in the high street, at the farm etc.
Listen to stories on CDs.
Share books with no words.
Take time to look together at the words and pictures in a story.
Use actions as well as your voice when you read.
Use animal sounds (woof, growl, hoot etc) to bring the story to life.
‘It would be so nice if something made sense for a change’ – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Phonics is the code that turns written language into spoken language (and vice versa). At our school, we follow the Letters and Sounds programme and every child takes part in an exciting, multi-sensory phonics session for 20 minutes each day.
Phonics is an interactive, games-based lesson where all children are active learners. You may hear your child using some of the key phonics terms at home. Here is what we say at school (and what each term means):
We say: Grapheme (a letter, or group of letters, that spell a sound in a word)
We say: Phoneme (the sound that a letter, or group of letters, makes when it is spoken aloud – a phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in speech)
We say: Blending (the process of combining the individual sounds in a word when reading)
We say: Segmenting (often referred to as ‘sounding out’– the process of breaking words into individual sounds when spelling)
We say: Tricky words (these cannot be read through ‘sounding out’ and should be learnt by sight– words such as ‘said’, ‘could’, ‘people’)
The Letters and Sounds programme consists of different phases. Click here to find out how children progress through the phases:
At the end of each phonics phase, children are expected to read and spell a number of high frequency words. Here are the lists of words (tricky words which cannot be decoded using phonics are in blue):