At Dormansland we are determined that all children will learn to read fluently as a result of making the very best start with their reading in Reception and Year 1. We recognise that all children learn to read through decoding (phonics). Therefore in Reception and Year 1 children will be taught daily phonics lessons to enable them to learn phonemes (sounds) and to blend these in order to decode words quickly and fluently.
Children will be taught to apply their phonics by decoding, in order to read books.
In Reception, children will initially bring home books to share with adults. This enables children to practise discussing the book with parents, without needing to decode words.
Children will then begin to bring home decodable readers (phonics books). These books will be phonemes (sounds) that your child has already been taught and is secure in. It is important that children re-read the book throughout the week at home because this enables them to become more fluent as they begin to recognise the words without needing to decode and also will ensure they feel successful.
Children will continue to read decodable books in Year 1. Again these will be sounds that your child is already secure with. Children may bring home a book with a sound that they are not yet secure at, that they learnt previously.
Whole class reading (decoding)
In Year 1 we will additionally teach whole class reading sessions. The book used for these sessions will be fully decodable and will have sounds the children are learning in school. The teacher will use a range of strategies to support children to decode the words. This will enable children to apply the phonemes they have been taught in phonics.
Individual reading (decoding)
Children will read individually at least once a week to an adult in school. Children who need extra support with decoding will also read more frequently to either the class teacher or another adult. This will ensure children are further supported in developing decoding skills. It is vital that all children continue to practise their phonics 5x a week at home as this enables them to become fluent with these phonemes.
All of the strategies above will ensure that children learn to decode speedily and fluently.
Children will be formally assessed in phonics and reading at least once each half term to see if they have progressed and need to move onto books which support a new phase (eg moving from phase 4 to phase 5 books).
Reading for meaning
We teach reading for meaning (comprehension and understanding of the text) separately from phonics and decoding in Reception and Year 1. This is because when children are focusing on decoding texts, they do not have enough space left over in their brains to understand what is happening in the text.
We therefore teach this skill during our daily story time sessions. Children are read aloud to daily and the teacher will model:
- think aloud - what they are thinking as they read
- retrieval – finding answers within the text, eg what was the girl’s name? It says her name is Cinnamon
- inference – answering questions by digging deeper, eg why was the girl sad? I think the girl is sad because she can’t talk and that would make me feel sad
- vocabulary – identify new and challenging vocabulary in the text, explain what it means and how I know, for example, frustrated. It says the girl was frustrated that she could not talk. I think this means she felt cross that she couldn’t talk. Model what this emotion would look like facially to support children to remember