At Arkholme Church of England Primary School we believe in creating a love of reading throughout the school. Reading is a skill that not only provides children with a gateway to learning, but also a door into a world of enjoyment, imagination and creativity. We have a strong reading culture, which has been developed in partnership with staff, children and parents, by creating welcoming reading areas in classrooms, school and class libraries with a variety of books, regular access to Lancashire Library Service via the mobile library, reading competitions, book fairs, and enrichment activities such as World Book Day fancy dress.
We follow the National phonics programme, ‘Letters and Sounds’, where children are taught the 44 phonemes that make up all the sounds required for reading and spelling. When children start school it is crucial that they develop phonic skills that allow them to precisely and accurately say the sound which each letter, or group of letters, makes. The teaching of phonics is of high priority to all teachers as it enables pupils to decode for reading and encode for spelling. We ensure that our teaching of phonics is rigorous, structured and enjoyable. Children have discrete, daily phonics sessions where they are introduced to new phonemes, can practice and revise previous learning and have plenty of opportunities to apply the knowledge they have.
We use a range of multisensory strategies to enthuse and engage the children, including the use of interactive whiteboards, magnetic letters, speaking and listening, songs, rhymes and practical activities. Children work with pace and are encouraged to apply their knowledge across the curriculum with reading and writing activities. Alongside the teaching of phonics, children have access to a language rich environment where they are able to apply their decoding skills and develop language comprehension in order to ‘read’.
In nursery, children choose a book each week to take home and enjoy reading with their parents, Towards the end of nursery, the children are given Oxford Reading Tree books, without words, to look at, at home. When the children start Reception, they begin to learn the phonic sounds in phase 2. Alongside this they learn 20 high frequency words which will appear in their first reading books. These are sent home in a word tin. The children look at these words everyday at home and at school. They also choose a story book to take home. Once the children have all 20 words, they will start to take home the home reading scheme books. This is based on books from Oxford Reading Tree with some other books to provide a range.
As children progress, they will deepen their understanding of the meaning of the text, rather than simply knowing how to link the letters in to sounds and pronounce words. Therefore, when the children are old enough they begin to participate in Guided Reading. This starts as a continuation of the teaching of how to decode unfamiliar words using phonic skills and quickly moves on to discussing the understanding of the text. During Classes 2 and 3, children are introduced to higher order reading skills in Guided Reading sessions such as inference and deduction as well as considering the authors intention, the effect of the text on the reader, and other focuses.
We believe children are individuals, and that a one size fits all approach is not the best. Therefore we use reading materials from various different publishers. You may find that your child follows one part of one reading scheme closely and in a very structured way as they learn to read. For other children they may move from one type of book to another, or one part of a reading scheme to another. The structure which links all the materials together is called the Book Bands system. This colour coded system enable us to match the difficulty levels of texts from different publishers easily.
Reading Scheme materials that we use in school include:
- Oxford Reading Tree
- Story World
- For children who are competent readers, we encourage them to choose their own books from the school library
The Phonic Alphabet (YouTube Link)