Reading and Phonics
Phonics at Malden Manor
At Malden Manor we use the Sounds-Write phonics programme to teach our children to read, spell and write. Sounds-Write is an effective method of teaching phonics as it helps children to hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language. The code (phonic sounds) will be taught throughout EYFS and KS1 and will be developed further into KS2.
Each week the children will be following systematic phonics teaching. In EYFS they will be learning the Initial Code. From Y1 and Y2 the children continue following the systematic phonics teaching and work through the Extended Code. The Extended Code teaches same sounds that have different spellings, e.g ‘rain’, ‘cake’, ‘play’ and ‘great’ and teaches words that contain the same spellings but with different sounds, for example ‘break’, ‘treat’, ‘head’. This is when the children learn how to read and spell words using a variety of different alphabet code and their reading skills..
There are four concepts that underpin Sounds Write. They teach children that:
- Letters are symbols (spellings) that represent sounds
- Each sound may be represented (spelled) by a 1, 2, 3 or 4 letter spelling, for example: dog street night eight.
- The same sound can be spelled in more than one way, for example: rain play baby gate
- Many spellings can represent more than one sound, for example head seat great
The three skills that are taught throughout Sounds-Write are:
- Blending: the ability to push sounds together to build words, for example: c-a-t = cat
- Segmenting: the ability to pull apart the individual sounds in words, for example: dog = d-o-g
- Phoneme manipulation – the ability to insert sounds into words and delete sounds out of words, for example cat > cot > cut > but > bit. This skill is necessary to test out alternatives for spellings that represent more than one sound.
The concepts and skills are taught in every lesson and targeted interventions ensure appropriate challenges to suit your child.
Reading Books in Reception, Year 1 and 2
Yellow reading diaries and reading books need to be brought to school every day. This is so we can record our reading in school in the diary. Please sign the reading diary each time you read with your child. It does not need to be a long comment, but signing it lets us know that your child has read that book and is ready for a new book. Reading books will be changed by the class teacher each week.
Your child will be taking home a decodable book to read. Our decodable books are in units and we allocate books individually and appropriately based on your child’s current reading level. A decodable book means your child will use their code knowledge and three skills of blending, segmenting and phoneme manipulation to support them when tackling new words.
Decodable books should not be a challenge and your child should be able to read the majority of words, although they may need some support when reading common high frequency words that cannot be sounded out, for example ‘said’ and ‘the’.
As well as a decodable book, your child can choose a reading for pleasure book. This book is a text chosen by your child, from our classroom or library collections, to share and enjoy with an adult as either a shared reading experience or a bedtime story. Your child is not expected to read all of the words in this text, although they might recognise some words. Listening to someone else read is just as important in the child’s learning.
Supporting your child’s reading at home:
This video will show you how to help your child to read a decodable story. https://video.link/w/c2fad
Reading at home, everyday will have a huge impact on your child’s learning and progress. Here are some suggestions below that will support you with supporting your child:
- Read with or to your child everyday
- Use letter sounds rather than names with children at home. This will avoid confusion for the children.
- When listening to your child read, encourage them to have a go at unfamiliar words by encouraging them to “say the sounds and read the word”
- Look at shops, buses and places in the local area - can your child use their sounds to read?
- Talk about the story, can your child answer questions and make predictions about the story?
Here are some very useful links explaining more about Sounds Write
An introduction from John Walker, the founder – although it is written for parents of children in Reception, it is a useful read for all -
Links to free resources, including free online courses -
Free printable resources -
There is a short 20 minute, online course that parents can complete that is aimed specifically at parents and carers and will further your understanding of the Sounds-Write program and teaching. You can find the course by going to: https://www.udemy.com/help-your-child-to-read-and-write/
If you have any questions about reading or phonics, please don’t hesitate to contact your class teacher or Miss Edwards the phonics lead.
We truly aim for our children to feel joy when reading. We want them to love doing it and to become lifelong readers.
Reading happens all the time in the classroom and around school. Learning how to read and to understand what we have read is one of the most important skills we can give our children. It is not just about reading books though, or their learning in Literacy lessons. Children practise using their reading skills constantly: they read in maths lessons and topic lessons; they read non-fiction books, posters, instructions and leaflets; they read displays and charts and games; they read on the laptop and ipad and of course on the interactive whiteboard.
In order to become good readers, children need to be able to read the words, understand the text and develop some fluency and stamina so that they can read longer texts. We practise all of these things in school but for greater success it helps enormously if you can encourage your child to read at home and make them feel that reading is a pleasure. They will bring home a book to read from our colour code selection, our classroom or library collections. They will also get the chance to visit and borrow a book from Old Malden library during the year.
We also encourage you to carry on reading to your child. This is still very important to help them develop language and listening skills and their understanding of written texts at any stage. It is important to continue to talk about the books with your child.
Another way to develop your child’s comprehension skills is to ask them questions about what they are reading. At school, we use VIPERS to cover the different reading domains: vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval and sequence/summary.
Children are expected to read at home every evening. Books are changed on a regular basis by the teaching staff based on their assessment of the child’s knowledge and confidence across both of these areas.
Core Curriculum Texts
Reading Lists - please click on the links below for ideas of books to read with your child or that they can read independently.