The National Curriculum explains that the programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:
- word reading
- comprehension (both listening and reading).
It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.
Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words.
Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (i.e. unskilled readers) when they start school.
Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with adults, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction.
All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum.
Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.
Below are some questions you should aim to use whilst reading with your child to develop their comprehension:
Reading Comprehension Year 1
Reading Comprehension Year 2
Reading Comprehension Years 3 & 4
Reading Comprehension Years 5 & 6
Top Tips For Reading To Children
Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:
- recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
- identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make – such as /sh/ or /oo/; and
- blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.
Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.
Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read.
It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7. Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment.
The main focus of phonics teaching is from Foundation Stage up to Year 2. Phonics is taught discreetly within each Reception / Key Stage 1 class.
We currently use the ‘Letters and Sounds’ teaching scheme as a basis for teaching phonics at school and we use different resources such as Jolly Phonics songs to enhance the pupils learning. Letters and Sounds is split into six ‘phases’:
- Phase 1 – being introduced to sounds through songs and games.
- Phase 2 – learning the first sets of sounds and high frequency/tricky words.
- Phase 3 – learning the first sets of ‘digraphs’ sounds (such as ee, ay, oo).
- Phase 4 – consolidating their knowledge through practising reading and spelling words with the sounds already learnt, often using polysyllabic words.
- Phase 5 – learning the remainder of the sounds in our language.
- Phase 6 – learning spelling rules, such as how prefixes and suffixes change the ‘root’ word.
We assess the children regularly on their progress and adapt our teaching accordingly.
Please see the link for further details and explanation of the above phases: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/190599/Letters_and_Sounds_-_DFES-00281-2007.pdf
Useful Phonics Website Links
www.readwithfonics.com – an excellent website containing lots of information and activities
www.phonicsplay.co.uk – lots of useful information and activities that you can use with your child
Activities to Download and Use:
- http://www.phonicsplay.co.uk/PrintableResources.htm – print out the flashcards from Phases 2, 3, 5a and then use them with your child to practise the individual sounds
- http://www.phonicsplay.co.uk/PrintableResources.htm – print out the picture/match cards for Phases 2, 3, 4 and child love to first read the words and then find the matching pictures
Some Excellent Videos:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqh11DN6jmbBHVCDeYtWRgJcZLowiu9cv – Mr Thorne Does Phonics – an excellent range of videos that children love to use to learn their phonics
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGpsVmWLRFA – Jolly Phonics Phase 2 song which has actions to help children remember the sounds
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjKq8s8154s – Jolly Phonics Phase 3 song which has actions to help children remember the sounds
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8Q0BaUaqrI – Video of teachers going through the Phase 3 sounds
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KJcEILxOYI – Video of a teacher going through the Phase 5 sounds