RESOURCES FOR HOME
READING AND PHONICS
At Hildenborough CE Primary School, early reading is taught through a systematic synthetic phonics scheme called ‘Letters and Sounds’. The programme begins in Year R and is delivered through to Year 2. The school also uses resources from Jolly Phonics to support the multi-sensory approach to learning phonics. Through this approach, children are taught phonemes (sounds), how to blend sounds for reading and how to segment them to spell words. In addition to this, the children are also taught High Frequency Words, which do not completely follow the phonic rules.
In Year R and Key Stage 1, the children read books from the Oxford Reading Tree scheme to support the development of early reading skills. These books are banded by colour, which is used to identify the level of difficulty. Other reading schemes we use are Rigby Star, Bug Club and Phonics Readers. Once a child is able to read beyond the level of the reading schemes, they are able to choose books from the class library. These books are not banded but in earlier years children will be guided by the class teacher on how to choose a suitably challenging reading book.
Reading for pleasure
A love of reading is encouraged by exposing children to a wide range of texts. Children are encouraged to borrow books from the class and school libraries as well as bringing in their own texts from home to read in school. Teachers from Year R to Year 6 read to their classes regularly during story time. The children are encouraged to read regularly both at home and school.
The teaching of reading comprehension
In Year R and Year 1, reading comprehension is taught through a shared reading approach, during which the teacher will share a text with the whole class.
Reading comprehension skills are then developed through questioning and activities linked to the text such as, drama activities. In Year R, each shared reading session will have a reading focus, which will be recorded in the child’s home/school contact book.
In Year 2 and Key Stage 2, children are taught reading comprehension skills through clearly structured reading lessons, which aim to develop children’s skills at their level.
An approach called Talk for Writing is used to teach Writing. The process is taught through three stages: Imitation, Innovation and Independent Application. Each of these are explained below.
Once the teacher has established a creative context and an engaging start, a typical Talk-for-Writing unit would begin with some engaging activities warming up the tune of the text, as well as the topic focused on, to help children internalise the pattern of the language required. This is often followed by talking an exemplar text, supported visually by a story map and physical movements to help the children recall the story or non-fiction piece. In this way the children hear the text, say it for themselves and enjoy it before seeing it written down. Once they have internalised the language of the text, they are in a position to read the text and start to think about the key ingredients that help to make it work. This stage includes a range of reading as-a-reader and as-a-writer activities. Understanding the structure of the text is made easy by boxing a text up so that the children can analyse the features that have helped to make the text work. In this way the class starts to co-construct a toolkit for this type of text so that they can talk about the ingredients themselves – a key stage in internalising the toolkit in their heads.
Once the children have internalised the text, they are then ready to start innovating on the pattern of the text. This begins with more advanced activities to warm up the key words and phrases of the text type so the children can magpie ideas. Younger children and less confident writers alter their story maps and orally rehearse what they want to say, creating their own version. The key activity in this stage is shared writing, helping the children to write their own by “doing one together” first. This may begin by the teacher modelling how to plan the text and then turning the plan into writing. This allows the children to see how you can innovate on the exemplar text and select words and phrases that really work. Teachers demonstrate how to regularly read work aloud to see if it works. This process enables the children to write their own versions through developing their ability to generate good words and phrases and also, hopefully, develops the inner judge when they start to decide why one word or phrase is best. Throughout the shared writing, the children should be strengthening the toolkit so they start to understand the type of ingredients that may help. Once they have finished their own paragraph/s children are encouraged to swap their work with a talk partner. Then with the aid of a visualiser, the whole class can also discuss some of the more successful work. Time is then given for the children to give their own work a polish in the light of these discussions.
In this final stage, the teacher assesses the children’s work and teaches activities focused on helping the children understand aspects that they were having difficulty with. This stage continues to focus on the next steps needed to support progress so the children can become independent speakers and writers of this type of text. Some more examples of the text may be compared before the children have a go themselves on a related topic of their own choosing. Typically, teachers work with the children to create ‘tickable toolkits’ which focus on aspects that they need to attend to. Again this section ends with talk partner and whole class discussion about what features really worked, followed by an opportunity to polish their work. This process also helps the children internalise the toolkit for such writing so that it becomes a practical flexible toolkit in the head rather than a list to be looked at and blindly followed.