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Learning to read at St. Paul’s in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2

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 Letters and Sounds Revised’ 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 take part in timetabled Reading Practice sessions three times a week, where they have the opportunity to read with a trained adult. During these sessions, children will have the opportunity to practise their decoding skills, develop their expression and intonation, as well as their understanding of the text. These planned sessions will improve their vocabulary knowledge and promote a love of reading!

In Key Stage 1, children will take home two different books. 

Their Little Wandle book will be fully decodable, matched to their phonic ability. They will also bring home a book to share and enjoy with the family. Parents/carers are to read this book to children so they can enjoy the story and foster their love of reading and listening to stories for pleasure. 

In Key Stage 2, children will take home a book they have chosen through our Accelerated Reader software that ensures their reading book is matched to their ability. Reading is taught through three lessons a week, with the teaching focusing on the building of reading skills: retrieval, inference, vocabulary, summarising, predicting, identifying themes and conventions and making comparisons. To mirror the practice in KS1 and Year R, we also teach children to read with expression (prosody).

All children will have a reading diary or log and this will include reading developmental comments from staff in school.

All children will have a reading diary or log 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 - ask your child 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.
  • Ask them what they focused on in their reading session at school today - decoding / prosody (expression and intonation) / comprehension (understanding of the text)
  • 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 this character is wearing arm bands and a swimsuit - I wonder where they're going?' 
  • 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.

Don't forget that our Little Wandle decodable books should be matched to your child's reading ability so they should be reading it with 95% fluency. By their final read in school, they will hopefully be reading confidently, adding intonation and expression and showing a good understanding of what is happening in the book. If you're still worried about a book being too difficult or too easy, please speak to your child's teacher.

What can you do at home to support Reading?

It is really important that as parents/carers, you mirror what we are teaching at school. To find out more about how we teach Phonics and Reading Practice at St. Pauls, please click here for the link to the parents' pages on the Little Wandle website and read the attached Early Reading Workshop slides. 

We will also attach Home Learning sheets to the weekly bulletin to reflect what your child has been learning in Phonics lessons (Reception, Year 1 and Year 2). We encourage you to discuss this with your child to help consolidate learning. 

Click here to go to the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Website


Promoting diversity and Inclusion through Reading

During World Book Week we share a diverse and inclusive range of books with children throughout the school, drawing from the No Outsiders initiative, which aims to promote diversity and inclusivity in school. Please see below for a link to these books.