Reading and Phonics
The two main areas of reading are the literal decoding (or sounding out) of words and the comprehension (the ability to understand what the text means). Both are important parts of the process.
Once the children are settled in Reception, they will start to bring home a reading book. At first these might be books with no words. Books like this help a child to re-tell a story in their own words and to discuss what is happening without worrying about words on the page. It will enable the child to develop comprehension skills.
Once they are confident with their first sounds, your child will begin to bring home books which contain simple sentences that include words with those sounds that your child has been learning. They will be able to practise their phonics skills of blending, segmenting and changing sounds to sound out these words and increase their reading fluency (the speed at which they read). This tackles the decoding element of reading. We want to encourage children to read these books at home aloud with increasing independence.
At this stage they may also bring home a book which they are unable to read completely by themselves so this is an opportunity for you to share the book with them and read any words they cannot yet read.
Our aim is to fill our children with the joy of reading: we want them to love reading and being read to.
Phonics at Malden Manor
At Malden Manor we take a whole word approach to phonics.
Our key focus is teaching the spelling of written words through sounds. Children learn that letters represent sounds and that those sounds can also represent one or more letters. We teach that letters or combinations of letters are how we show sounds in writing. The phonic programme we use is called Sounds Write.
Our phonics approach supports children in simple, progressive steps and develops three crucial phonic skills: blending, segmenting and changing sounds. Children learn to use these skills for all reading and writing until they achieve fluency as a successful reader and writer. Children are exposed to familiar words which motivates them to achieve quickly and efficiently.
The three main skills are:
Blending: This means putting the smallest sounds (phonemes) together and blending them together to make a whole word. For example the single units of sound: /c/ /a/ /t/ would blend together to read ‘cat’.
Segmenting: Taking a whole word and segmenting it into sounds, ‘cat’ would reverse to /c/ /a/ /t/. This helps children to use their knowledge to spell new words.
Changing Sounds: The ability to change a sound in a word, for example if you remove the /a/ sound and swap it for an /o/ sound the word would become cot.
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 books to read as well as having access to a huge range of texts on our online library which is called Bug Club.
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.
Reading Lists - please click on the links below for ideas of books to read with your child or that they can read independently.