Phonics and Reading
At St. Francis School, we aim to ensure every child becomes an effective reader as quickly as possible so that they can access the whole curriculum and continue in their journey of reading for pleasure and life-long learning. In KS1, the focus is very much on learning to read and in KS2, the focus shifts to one of reading to learn.
'Phonics' is the teaching of the knowledge of how the alphabetic system works and the skills of blending, segmenting and phoneme manipulation. We strongly believe that children must master this knowledge and these skills and be able to apply them when they read. This is fundamental for our children to become effective readers and therefore, ‘phonics’ forms the basis of our early reading teaching.
Please see the presentation below for more information about our chosen S.S.P. (systematic synthetic phonics) programme, Sounds-Write. More information about Sounds-Write can be found at https://www.sounds-write.co.uk
At the bottom of this page there is information about a free course (offered by Sounds-Write) that parents can sign up for and complete. We strongly recommend all of our parents do this.
Home Reading Books
The books that the children bring home from school are books to enable them to practise the skills of reading. They should be read more than once so that children can read the text to fluency (without needing to sound words out and with a natural expression). Books, particularly in Reception and KS1, will only be changed once a week. This will enable them to read for meaning.
In Reception, children will initially bring home wordless picture books to practise the conventions of reading, (front to back, left to right, page turning, etc.) and to build vocabulary and develop oral storytelling and oracy.
They will then begin to bring books home that only contain the alphabetic 'code' that they have securely learned in class. This will continue into KS1, until they have learned most of the common sound-spelling correspondences. This is to build an accurate and instant recall of their phonics knowledge. It is important that the books children practise reading independently only contain the 'code' knowledge they have learned so that they do not begin to use poor strategies for reading unknown words (e.g. guessing from pictures or shapes of words, etc.).
More information about home reading books can be found below.
Reading For Pleasure:
At St. Francis School, we understand that our children need to develop a love of reading from an early age to become an effective reader. We aim to inspire children with reading and want to ensure that they see reading as a pleasurable and worthwhile activity that they choose to partake in. We have a beautifully resourced library, which children visit often. They are encouraged to spend time in the library choosing and reading books independently, as well as discussing and sharing books with their teachers and each other.
In addition to our library, we consider each classroom to be a reading space and each year group has their own designated reading area with a diverse and varied range of texts to read. We have recently invested in updating our stock of texts and the children have a variety of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, newspapers, magazines and graphic novels from which to choose. We also encourage our children to 'self-publish' their own texts and share them in their book areas for other children to enjoy.
Sharing stories and poems is extremely important at St. Francis School and each class enjoys daily sessions, where their teachers read aloud to them. We aim to share books written by diverse authors and poets, many of whom our children may not choose to read themselves to ensure that they are exposed to a range of texts.
Children are encouraged to read books they choose for themselves in addition to any 'practice' books they take home from school.
Sounds-Write Parent Course (Free):
We recommend that all parents sign up and complete this free course (link above) offered by Sounds-Write on how your child can be supported in their reading and spelling. This first course includes all the know-how and resources to get your child started, by introducing all the one-to-one spellings in the context of word reading, word building and sound-swap with simple CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words, as well as the skills they need to succeed.
Audio For Each 'Sound' (Free):
Above is a free resource for parents to check the correct pronunciations of the sounds of our language.