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Reading

Phonics

Phonics are the building blocks for reading and here at Abacus we base our phonics teaching around the Jolly Phonics programme. In the early years, children are introduced to a new sound each day in a tactile way. This could include finding objects with that sound, writing the graphemes (letters that represent each sound) using different materials, cutting and sticking and learning songs and actions.

 

 

Children are initially taught to recognise single sounds before finding and using sounds in a sequence in words. Sounds are taught in set order, giving children sounds they encounter frequently to let them read and write very early on.

Children are taught to create sound buttons for each letter they read, touching each letter and making the corresponding sound before blending the sounds together.

Children will also begin learning ‘tricky words’ or ‘sight words’ alongside their phonics. These are words that cannot be sounded out using phonics and need to be recognised instantly and said when reading.

Guided Reading

Children take part in Guided Reading sessions every day. Guided reading is an instructional teaching session where an adult works with children reading at a similar level. At Abacus our guided reading sessions are supported by guided reading packs, designed to ensure children are exposed to a range of texts and question types.

Sessions run from 20-30 minutes and involve children reading, summarising, discussing and answering questions about what they have read. During these sessions children are taught how to read and answer questions as well as different reading and comprehension strategies.

In the Early Years children will also work with a teacher 1:1 to focus and develop each child’s reading needs.

Question Types

At Abacus we have adopted 12 question types to assist children in analysing and answering questions. Children are taught these over the course of the year and discuss how best to answer each question type.

Home Reading

At Abacus the expectation is that children are reading at home for at least 20 minutes each day. This may be reading school books, books they have at home, reading to an adult, reading to a sibling, reading independently, retelling stories, reading in the real world (i.e. shop signs, letters…) or listening to stories read to them. Please take time to read and discuss different texts every day and encourage your child to talk about what they have read and ask and answer questions.

The yellow reading record is a place to share both school and home reading and how your child is enjoying what they are reading. In the Early Years, it would be great for you to record how your child is getting along but as they get older the children can let us know what they are reading and how they are finding it.

Helping Your Child at Home

Here at Abacus Belsize we want to do everything we can to help your child read and write. We want them to read and write really well! We want children that are so confident that when they see pages of writing that they haven’t seen before they tackle them with ease and enthusiasm. We want our children to develop a love of reading so that they cheer when they hear it is reading time (and they do!) and struggle to put a book down!

Supporting an Emerging Reader

  • Let the reading time be short (about 5-10 minutes), enjoyable, and stress free for both you and your child.
  • When your child first brings home a reading book, do not expect them to know all the words. Model the reading by reading it to them at first or taking it in turns. Many first books have a repeated phrase which you can help them to anticipate by reading up to the word that varies, for example ‘I like to paint’, ‘I like to ……swim’.
  • Much of the early reading your child does is memorising. It is more important that they read the whole book remembering the sequence of the story than that they should recognise each word and what it says. With repeated readings the memorised words will start to become familiar as text.
  • In the very early stages, it is fine to simply tell your child an unknown word and explain what it means. As they progress you may encourage them to use the picture or the first letter of a word to help them
  • Do not let your child struggle with trying to sound out words that are not phonetically decodable, for example ‘tricky words’ such as ‘come’ and ‘who’ which cannot be sounded out as c-o-m-e and w-h-o.

Supporting a Developing Reader

  • Point to each word as it is read and encourage your child to use the sounds that they know, or tricky words, to piece together words and sentences.
  • Discuss the text. Suggest how the story might end, alternative endings, how it could be improved, cover a word and think of another that would make sense. Discuss characters; what are they like or how they are feeling. Make links to other books, for example by the same author or on the same subject, and to their own experiences. And finally, express opinions about the book and who they would recommend it to.
  • Pay attention to the punctuation, speech bubbles and so on, using different voices for different characters and reading for meaning

Supporting a Confident Reader

  • Encourage your child to use the sounds that they know, or tricky words, to piece together words and sentences. Children at this stage will become increasingly confident and will be able to read more words by sight, relying on their phonic knowledge to blend more complex or unfamiliar words.
  • When you are sharing a book or your child is reading to you, use questions to help open up a discussion about the book. Being able to think and talk about what they are reading develops a fuller understanding of the text, and helps children to explore their imagination, feelings and responses.
  • Discussion of the text could include; suggestions how the story might end, alternative endings, how it could be improved, cover a word and think of another that would make sense. Discussing characters; what are they like or how are they feeling. Make links to other books, for example by the same author or on the same subject, and to their own experiences. Express opinions about the book and who they would recommend it to. Discuss who the book is written for and why.
  • Using inference questions where the answer needs to be inferred from the text, in other words, reading between the lines is a good way to check deeper understanding of the text.
  • Good readers often skip over difficult words because they can still get a sense of what they are reading. Reading aloud encourages them to tackle more difficult vocabulary and extend their word power. Reading on may help your child figure out an unknown word, as long as they return to it rather than skip it completely.
  • It is important that your child has access to an inspiring and varied range of books, and does not only read the books they take home from school. Please comment on the books your child is reading outside of school as this will help us to develop an understanding of your child as a reader.
  • By this point children won’t always be pointing to the words and this is an important step as they begin to move towards fluency and tracking by sight. Fluent readers will not need to point to the words as this will slow them down and may hinder their understanding.

Supporting a Fluent Reader

  • At this stage, your child will probably be reading longer books that will span weeks, rather than being changed weekly. It is still important to develop fluency and confidence at this stage, so re-reading paragraphs or whole chapters can continue to develop this.
  • Even when your child has achieved a good level of fluency, they still benefit from being listened to by you. It helps you to see whether they fully understand what they are reading, taking note of the punctuation and pronouncing words correctly.
  • Discussion of the text could include; suggestions how the story might end, alternative endings, how it could be improved, cover a word and think of another that would make sense. Discussing characters; what are they like or how are they feeling. Make links to other books, for example by the same author or on the same subject, and to their own experiences. Express opinions about the book and who they would recommend it to. Discuss who the book is written for and why.
  • Using inference questions where the answer needs to be inferred from the text, in other words, reading between the lines is a good way to check deeper understanding of the text.
  • Writing answers to written questions will further develop their comprehension skills and writing a summary at the end of a chapter/book will show their understanding.
  • Getting your child to think of their own questions about the book shows a great understanding of what they have read.
  • Good readers often skip over difficult words because they can still get a sense of what they are reading. Reading aloud encourages them to tackle more difficult vocabulary and extend their word power. Reading on may help your child figure out an unknown word, as long as they return to it rather than skip it completely.
  • Take the time to discuss what they think about their reading and develop their opinions.
  • At this stage, children should be encouraged to develop their ‘reading voice’- changing voices, pitch, speed and tone to make the story enjoyable for a listener. Ways of making this exciting could include; reading to siblings or toys, reading to a mirror or videoing a reading and playing it back later.
  • It is important that your child has access to an inspiring and varied range of books, and does not only read the books they take home from school. Please also comment on books they are enjoying at home, outside of the reading scheme. They can enjoy more complex texts by listening to story CD’s, which you can get from the local library.
  • Children at this stage should not always be reading by themselves but be given feedback and the opportunity to discuss their reading. At this stage, children will often ski words, mispronounce or misunderstand. Reading frequently with an adult is still important for a fluent reader.

Reading is an important part of our school curriculum and an essential life skill. If you have anything you can add to our reading or any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the school.

As always, thank you for your continued support and HAPPY READING!