Reading - What to Expect
Reading, reading, reading all day long
Children are surrounded by print at school, and this rich environment provides plenty of opportunities for reading throughout the day. There are some very specific approaches that teachers use to teach and practice decoding print and developing comprehension skills - the summary here should give parents a picture of the many ways children learn.
This happens daily. The teacher will model reading skills by sharing sentences or longer texts with the class. She/he will emphasise how we always start on the left and at the top of a page, and how we go back to the left after each line of print.
The teacher will have specific skills in mind as she/he chooses the book or text to be shared - highlighting specific elements, decoding, looking at tricky words, using punctuation, discussing vocabulary choice.
This happens weekly, sometimes twice a week. The teacher works with a small group of children who are all reading at the same level. They all have a copy of the same book, which is usually slightly more difficult than the reading books that the children are taking home. The teacher focuses on a skill that the children need to develop and teaches them in the small group.
Once children can decode easily, they move on to developing their comprehension skills. Children learn to discuss more complex aspects of the books they are reading, and notice different writing styles and vocabulary choices. Experience of a wide range of high quality texts is important.
There is also a focus on using punctuation and expression to bring texts to life. Children learn to think about how different characters would sound and reflect on what might happen next.
During daily phonics sessions children are taught reading skills appropriate to their development. The children join groups that are streamed 3 times a week, and then are taught in their class on the other 2 days. This enables staff to focus teaching on the relevant sounds/tricky words, but also to expose children to the full range of phonics.
Children take reading books home to practice the skills they are being taught in class. These books should not be difficult for them to read, otherwise they may find it demoralising: struggling with perhaps 1 word in 10 might be appropriate. Teaching staff may not read with children individually very frequently, as it is a poor use of their time. It might take them 2 afternoons to hear a whole class read! We welcome parents who wish to come and help with reading, and encourage children to read every day at home with parents.
Sometimes parents tell us that their children are ready to go up a reading level, and we always welcome this information. We may then read with them individually at school to confirm that we can see the improving skills too! We ask parents to remember that the journey through the reading levels is a marathon, not a sprint!
Any further questions, do not hesitate to ask!
Reading Scheme level descriptors have been added for your information.
At Parents Forum (Autumn 2018) we discussed publishing the Reading Scheme Bands, so that parents are clear about the skill progression. The Level Descriptors have been updated to enable parents to fully understand the skills children need to have mastered in order to move onto the next level.
The most important thing to bear in mind is that learning to read is a marathon not a sprint. It is not a competition - children learn at different speeds!
Children are practising their reading at home, not learning to read: they should be able to read the books relatively fluently. Books used for teaching in school will be more difficult for them - the next level up.
The teaching staff use their professional judgement when it comes to moving the children onto the next level. Parents must bear in mind that what they see at home in terms of their child's reading ability, may not be reflected in class, and although we are always interested in parental views, we will move children on when we see they are ready.
Tips for Parents
Some ideas about how you can help your child at home.
At The Grove Infant and Nursery School we follow the PenPals handwriting scheme. The children are introduced to four main characters which help them to memorise the sequence for writing each letter correctly. The key thing to remember is that all letters start from the top
(apart from d and e).
Pattern practice and ‘play’ writing are an important part of handwriting development. Your child will be practicing letter formation in a number of exciting ways: in sand, using paint, in the air, on the interactive television screens and iPads, as well as on paper with a pencil!
Numeral formation guide
A Summary of English in Year 2
Phonics are the building blocks of reading and writing, and a fundamental part of the English curriculum. All children are taught phonics daily: 3 days a week they are split into differenciated groups, and 2 days the teaching is whole class. This ensures some exposure to a breadth of sounds, and some more focused teaching.
We follow a programme called 'Letters and Sounds', which breaks the learning down into 6 phases. Information on each phase can be found below.
A link to a video of clear enunciation of sounds is also below: parents can support teachers by watching this to clarify how sounds should be pronounced!