Subject Coordinators: Miss Ceri Ellis and Ms Caroline Wright
English Policy 2015 – updated February 2015
Visit our Phonics page for help with pronunciation and more.
We all know the pleasure we get when reading a book. In school, we are promoting the idea of reading for pleasure – whether it is from a paper copy of a book, from a e-Reader or tablet. For our younger children who are currently learning to read, they will benefit from being read to as much as reading aloud themselves, to help them along their reading journey. Any opportunity you have to read with your children will help them engage with the process of becoming a reader.
In order to help children as they meet a variety of ways of reading and spelling different words sounds, we teach phonics. This process begins in the Foundation Stage and continues on through Key Stage 1, into Key Stage 2, with children that it is still considered necessary for. Our preferred system for the teaching of phonics is found in the ‘Letters and Sounds’ document, but it is supplemented with useful activities from other sources. Once children become more confident with their phonetic knowledge, they move on to learning content from the ‘Support for Spelling’ document which builds upon their previous experiences. The National Curriculum provides the framework of focus sounds that need to be visited in each year group.
There is an external assessment for children in Year 1 to undertake in the summer, where their knowledge of phonics is assessed. The same assessment is used with Year 2 children who were not successful when they were assessed in Year 1. This information is used when considering what the next steps are for individual children in developing their phonics knowledge.
Children are encouraged to read and discuss a variety of texts independently. Teachers share books, stories and poems with their class and discuss their features. Children have specific targeted guided reading sessions, at least once a week, where texts are read and features discussed as a group. In Key stage one; this is supplemented by 1:1 individual reading sessions with an adult, teacher or TA. This is to facilitate the acquisition of more varied vocabulary for the younger children and to support them as they move along their reading journey. From the end of Year 1, there are targeted comprehension activities taught across the school. Children are grouped according to reading ability and are supported by an adult as they read and discuss a common text.
Project X code is a targeted intervention strategy that is being used with children in Year 2 and continues on into Year 3. This builds on work that began in the Oxfordshire Reading Campaign and is a way of inspiring children who may otherwise be reluctant to read. Volunteer readers also visit to read with children in Year 2.
If your child brings home a set of spellings to learn, try and make this fun! For example, learning little rhymes that go with the spellings, or writing the spellings in different mediums, such as felt tip, sand, chalk etc. It is also important to make sure they understand the meaning of the words they are learning; so dictating a sentence where the spelling word is in context will also help them succeed.
If your child is a reluctant writer, why not encourage them to help you? For example, writing a shopping list, thank you notes, letters to family etc. This should help them see there is a reason for writing and hopefully inspire them to write about other things. If they catch the writing bug, they could also write in a diary, write short reviews of their favourite books or TV programmes, or make up a story to read to their class at school!
A handout was sent home with useful suggestions to help you engage your child with reading at home. This is also available to download here. As ever, please talk to your class teacher if you have any questions.