At Hornton Primary School, to teach all children to read as soon as possible, we have a systematic approach to phonics. For most children, their phonics programme will last for two years, in Reception and Year 1. For a few children, it may take a little longer to develop their phonic skills.
Phonics is the method of teaching reading through the identification of sounds and the graphemes (letters) that represent them. Importantly, children need to know letter sounds, rather than letter names, in order to learn to read.
The English language is very complex and although all words are made up of sounds, some can be decoded using their sounds and some cannot. Therefore, we also teach children to read common exception words (we call these 'tricky words'), words like ‘the, said, you', that cannot be sounded out and need to learnt by sight. We use word families (words that have a common feature or pattern) to help children read tricky words, such as 'he, me, be, she' and 'could, would, should'.
Alongside learning each set of sounds, children will have a reading book that contains the sounds and words they have learnt. This allows them to practice and succeed in their reading.
As in any other area of learning/curriculum, there is no set path on which children learn, therefore we do not follow any reading schemes, colour bands or levels, choosing instead to follow the individual reading needs of each child. We have a vast resource of early reading books, some from a selection of reading schemes, some from elsewhere. In KS1, the books chosen for each child are based on their current ability and interests, not because it is the next one in a scheme, supplied by a company who have no idea how your child learns.
How you can help.
At Hornton Primary school, we place great value in the work you do at home supporting your child’s learning. In Reception and year 1, we do not set homework as such, but very much appreciate your help in supporting your child’s reading skills. Each week, information regarding what your child is learning in phonics, will be sent home in their book bag. Reading with your child and helping them with their new sounds and words will have a huge impact on the speed at which their literacy skills develop. On top off the daily reading opportunities that occur within our learning environment, we aim to listen to your child read on a one to one basis every week. Having opportunities to read to another adult at home, on a one to one basis, will, of course encourage learning at a brisker pace.
At Hornton Primary School, through a combination of specific daily phonics input, working with parents, daily reading and writing activities and access to a carefully resourced environment, that encourages children to practice their skills, children become successful and confident readers.