Phonics and Reading

We are currently in the process of adopting a new resource to support the teaching of phonics and early reading in years R, 1&2 called 'Essential Letter and Sounds'.

Phonics gives children the key to unlocking the English alphabetic code for reading and spelling. Children’s knowledge of this code – how letters or groups of letters represent the sounds of the language – supports their reading and spelling. Children are systematically taught the phonemes (sounds) and graphemes (written letters), how to blend the sounds all through the word for reading, and how to segment the sounds in order to write words. They are taught to use their phonic skills and knowledge as their first approach to reading, but are also taught high frequency words which do not completely follow the phonic rules.

Early reading and phonics are taught using the highly regarded 'Essential Letters and Sounds' programme; a 'systematic synthetic programme' that provides access to high quality teaching and learning resources, and reading books that directly link to the phonemes that children are being taught. These books are often referred to simply as ‘decodable’ books; their use can help children feel successful from the very beginning as they do not encounter words that include phonemes they have not been taught.  

The implementation of the 'Essential Letters and Sounds' programme will ensure that our children will be taught to read aloud accurately books that are consistent with their developing phonic knowledge. These books will start to be sent home with year R this week; children will be using real books and electronic copies. 

Working in partnership with you our aim is that all children really enjoy learning to read, achieve well and make speedy progress in reading. Teachers will use a variety of techniques to male all phonics lessons quick paced and multi-sensory. Children who require additional support in acquiring their sounds will be given this in addition to their daily phonics lessons.  

The Essential Letters and Sounds programme is split into 6 progressive phases throughout years R and 1 with keep up provision in year 2.

Reading schemes: we use phonetically decodable reading books published by Oxford University Press which link directly to the phonemes that children are learning. Your children will be given reading books that directly link to the relevant phonemes that they are being taught and will also be using reading books that help them to develop comprehension and narrative skills. 

Love of reading - we encourage children to develop a love of reading before the they start school by taking part in our Reading Challenge, in conjunction with Fareham Library, borrowing books to enjoy with their families. 

Once they begin school, we continue to expect families to share books with their children, and all classes have a designated story time. From Year R children visit the school library and have the opportunity to borrow books to share at home. We want a love of reading to start in year R and continue as pupils get older - once children are independent readers, pupils select their own books and our librarian is on hand to guide and advise pupils. Teachers also share their current reading material outside their classrooms to promote a reading rich environment.

Mrs Davies, our Reading Lead, and Mrs Clyma also organise many enrichments to promote reading, including author events, bed-time stories, reading picnics and story treasure hunts.