Learning to read at St. Paul’s in Reception and Year 1
In the first instance, we teach your child how to read and write using phonics. Phonics is a method of teaching children to read by linking sounds (phonemes) and the symbols that represent them (graphemes, or letter groups).
At St. Paul’s, we use the phonics resource ‘Little Wandle Revised Letters and Sounds’ to help your child learn. It aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming confident readers on age appropriate books by the end of Year 1. Whilst phonics plays an important part in our Reception and Year 1 classrooms, it continues to be applied in Year 2 and throughout their journey at St. Paul's.
What does reading look like at St. Paul’s?
In years R, 1 and 2 children have daily reading group sessions where they have the opportunity to read with their class teacher and teaching assistant. During these sessions, children will have the opportunity to develop their understanding, improve their vocabulary knowledge and grow their love for literature.
In Key Stage 1, children’s reading books (sent as an E-book) will be matched to their phonics ability. Children will also be able to bring home a book to share and enjoy with parents/carers. Children may not be able to read this independently and may need a parent/carer to read this to them so they can enjoy the story and foster their love of reading and listening to stories for pleasure. In Key Stage 2, as children develop their independence they will change the books as needed.
All children will have a reading diary or log (either paper based or via Teams in upper KS2) and this will include reading developmental comments from staff in school.
Reading with your child
Reading with your child can be hugely rewarding as you see them grasping how reading works and engaging with books. We see our children grow in confidence until they are reading independently and making their own reading choices. Of course, sometimes reading with a child can be harder work - if they find it difficult or can't seem to engage with reading. We have listed our top tips below:
1. Make reading part of your daily routine.
For example, when we are ready for bed we have reading time - you read from your reading book to me and then I'll read you a story. Try to make this happen every day.
2. Take the pressure off.
If they're struggling to read today you could:
- Be word hunters - as them to spot a certain letter/word on the page as fast as they can and point to it.
- Take it in turns to read a line / sentence - when it's your turn put expression into it and make it sound fun, model 'sounding out' words and being pleased with yourself when you get it right!
- Choose a book they've read before and read from this one instead
- Choose an easier book and have them read it to a younger sibling / pet / teddy.
- Read to them and ask questions about the story so they're still engaging from the text without actually having to decode the words themselves.
- The key thing is there is always time set aside for reading.
3. Make sure the book they're reading is engaging for them.
- Do talk to their teacher if they have strong reading preferences and they'll do their best to pick books to tempt them.
4. Make the experience as fun / cosy as possible
- Read in bed or a comfy chair and make sure that for ten minutes or so they have your undivided attention.
- Get excited about the book they've brought home.
- Talk about the pictures too -do this before starting to read the words. 'Oh I can see Biff has a key in her hand - I wonder where they're going this time?'
- Get excited about the words they get right - 'well done, you sounded it out / you blended it and got the word right / you didn't even know that word last week and now you've got it!'
- Don't worry about what they're not getting right so much. It's ok to say 'try again / you got these sounds right but try this one again / I'll read this word as it's tricky / you do the start sound and I'll do the rest.'
- Share their achievements with the rest of the family so they know how proud of them you are.
- Don't stop reading stories to them even when they're reading themselves
5. Come into school and ask for help if you need it.
We love reading and we want to share that love with you and your child. We know it's sometimes hard and we have lots of ideas and support to offer if / when it gets tricky.
For more top tips, please see the document at the bottom of this page.
Please watch the video below to find out more about exciting developments in phonics and early reading.
Here are some pictures from the last World Book Day - it happened during a period of lockdown, but that didn't stop us from celebrating the joy of reading!
The teachers also dressed up and read stories in the style of ‘The Masked Singer’, but, of course, they were ‘The Masked Readers’. Some of the teachers really had the children guessing. To hear the stories click on the link below.