Reading at St Benedict’s

At St Benedict’s reading is valued and promoted to be an enjoyable activity and an essential life skill. Children are encouraged to become confident, fluent and enthusiastic readers; to support this they have access to a wide range of reading opportunities.

Foundation/Key Stage 1

Children first learn their letter sounds and names then apply these to word building. We use Letters and Sounds, Phonics Play and Jolly Phonics as the basis for our teaching of phonics. Letters and Sounds is recognised as a synthetic phonic scheme. The children will also learn a variety of other key words by sight.

Letters and Sounds have seven phases:

Phase Phonic Knowledge and Skills

Phase One

(Nursery/Reception) Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.

Phase Two

(Reception) up to 6 weeks Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.

Phase Three

(Reception) up to 12 weeks The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the “simple code”, i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.

Phase Four

(Reception) 4 to 6 weeks No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.

Phase Five

(Throughout Year 1) Now we move on to the “complex code”. Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.

Phase Six

(Throughout Year 2 and beyond) Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.

Children read individually, in small groups and as a whole class. A variety of different genres are chosen at an appropriate level of ability for each group of children. As well as being able to read (decode) the text, children are encouraged to discuss the content of the book and asking and answer questions about the book. Response activities will include clarifying unknown words and phrases, predicting, summarising and answering comprehension questions including inference questions.

At St Benedict’s we use books from a range of reading schemes. These include: The Oxford Reading Tree, Project X, Storyworld and Tree Tops. Each child takes home a levelled book according to their ability. They have a home school reading record that teachers and parents can use to share information about a child’s reading. Parents are encouraged to read with their child daily.

We supplement these opportunities to read with a huge variety of other literature from a variety of real books and scheme books. Teachers use these resources when they feel it will result in even more progress.

Key Stage 2

In Key Stage 2 the children continue to read and develop a love of reading. The children  take home a levelled book from our school library and are encouraged to read regularly; choosing longer, more complex texts to read both independently and to an adult. As part of English Lessons, the children regularly study a text which provides the basis for their writing and other curricular work. For example, in year 6 the children study War Horse and in Year 5 they study Kensuke’s Kingdom. The children also develop their comprehension skills through regular reading comprehension sessions. These sessions allow the children to develop the ability to infer, deduce and understand an author’s use of language.

Every classroom has a designated reading area which the children can use to develop their love of reading. Reading areas are updated regularly and include a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books. In years 5 and 6, magazines and newspapers are evident in reading areas also. In addition, teacher’s regularly read to their children during story time at the end of the day.

Across all Key Stages, the children have a class novel which is read daily.

Julia Donaldson’s top reading tips.

You can find some useful links on Phonics and Reading below:

Phonics Website

Teach your Monster to Read

Oxford Owl

Phonics Play

Letters and Sounds