PHONICS & EARLY READING AT ST THOMAS'
We teach early reading through the validated systematic, synthetic phonics programme Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS). In Reception and Year 1, phonics is taught daily for 30 minutes. This is in addition to the daily English session.
We follow the Essential Letters and Sounds expectations of progress:
- Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 and Phase 4 graphemes with fluency and accuracy. They are also taught to read and spell some words which do not decode using their known phonics rules. These are known as 'Harder to Read and Spell Words'.
- Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.
- Children in Year 2 are taught to use spelling patterns which link back to their learning in phonics.
Follow this link to find out more about the Essential Letters and Sounds programme: https://essentiallettersandsounds.org/parents/
Any child who needs additional practice has daily support, and is taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up sessions match the structure of class teaching and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.
We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 or above who is not fully fluent at reading or to support those who have not passed the Phonics Screening Check. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. We use very regular assessments to identify the gaps in phonic knowledge and teach to 'fill' these gaps at pace.
EYFS and KS1 Reading
We follow the Essential Letters and Sounds Phonics scheme and all our reading books are linked closely to this scheme with a number of Reading Collections which are published by Oxford Publishers.
In Reception and early Key Stage 1, whilst children are becoming fluent readers and learning phonics, reading books are matched closely to the stage of phonics learning the children have encountered. This ensures that the children can decode the words they meet in their reading. Children complete reading sessions in school reading the same book, focusing on decoding, prosody (re-reading for fluency and expression) and comprehension. We then send this book home for children to read and discuss with their carers. A Home/School Reading Diary is completed each time a reading session takes place to inform parents of the focus of the reading session and the child’s progress. We ask that parents and carers also complete the reading diary at home to provide feedback on their childs reading.
In Key Stage 2 the majority of reading books available to the children are Project X, Tree Tops classics, Pearson Bug Club and Collins Big Cat, with some additional poetry and non-fiction texts to supplement the scheme. Children will complete 1 or 2 guided reading sessions in school each week, focusing on decoding, prosody (re-reading for fluency and expression) and comprehension. This Guided Reading book will remain in school.
What will my child bring home to read?
- Whilst learning phonics, each child will bring home a reading book to read which is closely matched to their learning in phonics. They will also bring home a supplementary reader, which is to be shared at thome. We ask that adults read this TO their child and discuss the text and pictures. These books will be changed weekly, but we ask that children repeat reading these books aloud throughout the week, as this helps them to gain confidence, fluency and develop understanding. In addition to these books, children will bring home a book from our school library which they have chosen independently.
- Once independent and not learning phonics, each child will bring home a reading book which they have chosen from within a banded selection in school. This book will be changed once the child has completed the book. In addition, children will bring home a book from our school library which they have chosen independently.
Partners in Reading
A Home/School Reading Diary is completed each time a guided reading or reading session takes place in school, so that parents/carers are well informed of the reading which has taken place. We ask that parents/carers also complete a section within this diary each time their child reads at home to provide feedback and communication. We ask that all children read at least 3 times each week at home. Little and often is better than one long reading session!