Learning to read
At our school, your child’s journey in reading will begin with the DfE 'Letters and Sounds' programme, which helps children learn to say all the sounds they will need to read English. The following websites will all help you to understand how the programme works and can be used in a fun way.
By the end of Y2, children should have completed phase 6, thus developing fluent word reading skills and a good foundation in spelling.
Children will bring home an appropriate book to read from our reading scheme. Parents are given the opportunity to provide feedback about the child’s reading in the reading record, so that pupils, parents and school can all work together. Teachers monitor children’s reading closely and look to increase the level of challenge as soon as the children are ready –up until the magic moment when they become ‘free readers’!
Children learn reading skills in school through:
- literacy lessons;
- a weekly guided reading session with the teacher;
- reading out loud to other adults; and
- having the opportunity to enjoy texts individually through independent reading.
We have a wide range of reading books in school, all the way from texts which focus only on specific letters and sounds taught so far in Foundation Stage up to the latest Anthony Horowitz or Charlie Higson in year 6. We also have use the stimulating and well-liked Code X series of books to help the small number of older readers with dyslexic-type difficulties or who still find reading difficult in KS2. The link below suggests some great appropriate reads for KS2 children who are reading independently.
We believe that children become fluent and enthusiastic readers if they develop good reading habits at home. Some good websites with useful tips on reading at home with your child are:
Handy hints for early readers
- We recommend a ‘book introduction’ before reading. Talk with your child about the title, how the cover gives clues about what might happen, or what words we might expect to find. These predictions might help when your child has to read an unfamiliar word.
- The following ways of working out unfamiliar words will help your child become an independent reader:
- phonics – getting the children to say the sounds in the word.
- breaking the word down into recognisable parts can help eg under | stand | ing
- looking at the picture for clues.
- reading on to the end of the sentence then going back to work out the missing word.
- Make sure your child does just the right amount of reading so that they enjoy it and don’t become restless.
- At an early stage of reading development, it is helpful for a child to point at the words however it will slow them down when they become more fluent, so be ready to make a judgement about when your child should stop doing this.
- Suitable Reading targets for children on the early stages of National Curriculum reading levels (up to level 2) can be found here: http://www.hurst.bexley.sch.uk/site/files/I_Can_statements_-_READING.pdf
- Most of all, have fun! Hopefully your child will develop a lifelong love of reading!
Handy hints for older readers
- Children’s reading progress beyond level 2 is much more about understanding and discussing what they have read, rather than just their ability to read out loud. It is still really useful for your child to practise reading aloud in order to help them develop their fluency and expression, but your child should now also be able to read to themselves.
- Some great ways of discussing what your child has been reading and checking their understanding are:
- Getting them to predict what might happen next in the story and why they think that
- Getting them to retell the story afterwards in order – can they retell it in a way that is easy to follow and also entertaining?
- Asking them what they think of the book and why – can they mention parts of the book that they liked and disliked and say why?
- Getting them to explain how or why things happened in the story. A brilliant way to get your child to have a deeper understanding of what they read is to ask ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions that make them have to use clues and ‘read between the lines’ in the book – e.g. ‘why do you think Mr Wonka doesn’t save Violet?’ or ‘How do you think Matilda feels at this point?’
- Suitable Reading targets for children as they progress beyond level 2 in the National Curriculum reading levels can be found here: http://www.hurst.bexley.sch.uk/site/files/I_Can_statements_-_READING.pdf
- …and again, most of all, have fun! Hopefully your child will develop a lifelong love of reading!