St Michael's CE Primary

EnglisH

EARLY READING & PHONICS

At St Michael’s, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic synthetic phonics programme (SSP). We start teaching phonics in Nursery/Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

As a result, our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. We also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.

At St Michael's, we value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, they read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.

The resources here will help you support your child with saying their sounds and writing their letters. There are also some useful videos so you can see how they are taught at school and feel confident about supporting their reading at home. 

READING IN KS2

The teaching of reading in KS2 is based on 'Destination Reader' approach. This involves daily reading sessions incorporating whole class modelling prior to the children applying these skills through partner work and independent reading. Children deepen their understanding of the texts they read through the systematic use of a series of strategies and language stems. The approach encompasses the key principles of effective reading provision and fully meets the requirements of the National Curriculum. It also builds a culture of reading for pleasure and purpose.

Reading lessons focus on these key principles which we embed within the school:

  • Enable quality experience
  • Promote enjoyment
  • Increase reading mileage
  • Build firm foundations
  • Develop thinking and understanding
  • Make talk central

Our approach allows children to access real books of a high quality that are engaging and exciting. As talk is made central, partner reading is continued and children are given ample opportunities to discuss books with their partners.

The programme covers seven key skills identifies within the national curriculum to support the reading and understanding of a wide range of texts. These are:

  • Predicting
  • Making connections
  • Asking questions
  • Evaluating
  • Inferring
  • Summarising
  • Clarifying

While children read their book with their partner they are encouraged to stop and have discussions in a respectful way as mentioned above, and also through addressing a variety of these skills, some of which will be being specifically teacher taught using sentence stems in the same way. You could prompt your child to refer to these sentence stems when reading at home or answering questions about a book you have read to them. 

READING AT HOME

Tips from the Book Trust 

Although your child will be taught to read at school, you can have a huge impact on their reading journey by continuing their practice at home.

Reception and Year 1

In Reception and Y1, there are three types of reading book that your child will be expected to read at home:

An E-Book – This will be set online for your child to read at home. This is the book that your child is currently reading in class and will be at the correct phonic stage for your child. They should be able to read this fluently and independently. If your child is reading it with little help, please don’t worry that it’s too easy – your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading.

A reading practice book - This is a Bug Club book which is closely matched to the sounds your child already knows. It will be at the correct phonic stage for your child and they should be able to read this fluently and independently, but may need some help with tricky words. If your child is reading it with little help, please don’t worry that it’s too easy – your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading.

A sharing book - Your child will not be able to read this on their own. This book is for you both to read and enjoy together. In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure. The sharing book is a book they have chosen for you to enjoy together. Read it to or with them. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters, explore the facts in a non-fiction book. The main thing is that you have fun!

Year 2

Unless your child is still benefiting from extra support in phonics, your child will take home two books. Your child’s teacher will monitor when your child changes their book which should be happening on a weekly basis.

A reading practice book - This is a book which is closely matched to the sounds your child already knows. Your child should be able to read this fluently and independently, but may need some help with tricky words.

A sharing book - Your child may not be able to read this on their own. This book is for you both to read and enjoy together. In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure. The sharing book is a book they have chosen for you to enjoy together. Read it to or with them. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters, explore the facts in a non-fiction book. The main thing is that you have fun!

Year 3 – Year 6

Unless your child is still benefiting from extra support in phonics, your child will take home one book which is at the correct level for them to read. Your child’s teacher will monitor when you child changes their book which should be happening on a weekly basis. Do encourage your child to read silently to themselves but check their understanding of what they have read after doing so.

To support your child at home, we suggest that you use the Destination Reader skills to support the reading and understanding of a wide range of texts. These are:

  • Predicting
  • Making connections
  • Asking questions
  • Evaluating
  • Inferring
  • Summarising
  • Clarifying

Below are some questions which you may use to help with reading sessions at home:

  • Did you enjoy that book? Why?
  • What kind of text would you like to read next?
  • Is there anything you don’t understand that you want to ask me about?
  • Can you see a theme running through this story? What is it? How often is it mentioned?
  • Tell me about what you’ve just read.
  • Were there any words you didn’t quite understand?
  • The word... means...; In a sentence it’s...
  • Why is this text set out this way? How does that help you as a reader?
  • I think that.... do you agree? Why do you agree / why not?
  • Tell me your opinion about...
  • Why do you think that?

LOVE OF READING

‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)

We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.

We read to children every day. We choose these 'class readers' carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at St Michael’s and our local community; as well as books that open windows to other worlds and cultures.

  • Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books.
  • In Nursery/Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day in their free flow time and the books are continually refreshed.
  • As the children progress through the school, they are encouraged to write their own comments and keep a list of the books/authors that they have read.

WRITING

We want every child to leave school as effective and confident communicators, who love writing.  Speaking and listening is key to good writing and our children spend time discussing ideas prior to writing.  Our children learn to write in exciting and imaginative ways right from the start.  In Nursery, we begin writing our names. Writing in Key Stage 1 is very purposeful and may be linked to an activity such as writing a list of instructions for cooking. Initially, children learn to write stories and then other forms of writing such as recounts and reports. By the time the children leave us, they will have experience and knowledge of writing all text types including: non-chronological reports, biographies, persuasive texts, historical recounts, diary entries, flash back narratives, poetry, play scripts and many more.

In all writing children will be given the opportunity to discuss and plan, draft and edit, evaluate and proof read and finally present their work to a partner, small group, class and possibly even the whole school.

A crucial component of being able to convey meaning through writing is the ability to use Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (GPS) correctly. This is therefore taught discretely as well as across the curriculum. There is a separate National Assessment for GPS at the end of Year 2 and the end of Year 6.

Our Y1-6 English scheme of work is text led, meaning that most teaching and learning is stimulated by a book that the class studies for a period of time. As well as providing a context for children's learning, this also ensures that we are developing pupil’s knowledge of a wide range of books. Texts studied include: The Owl and the Pussy Cat by Edward Lear (Ian Beck); Gorilla Zoo by Anthony Browne; Tuesday by David Weisner; The Ice Palace by Robert Swindells; Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare; John Agard: Collected Poems

Ways to help your child at home 

  • Have conversations with your child as much as possible. Encourage them to use new vocabulary and extend their sentences to become more complex as they develop.
  • Read a variety of texts with your child and enjoy stories and non fiction books together.
  • Show them the right way and model back the correct language when they make a mistake. Children learn to write in Standard English so they will need to be able to speak Standard English.