Learning to Read
At Iver Village Infant School we recognise that there are lots of different ways to teach reading. We use a combination of different strategies and resources to deliver high-quality experiences to achieve the best results for our children.
You may think that your child’s reading experience is simply the reading book which comes home from school, but reading is happening all the time in our classroom and in our school. It is taught in specific literacy lessons, but children are practising and using their ‘reading’ constantly. A child’s ‘reading journey’ begins with ‘learning to read’ and moves on into ‘reading to learn’. This advice will help you to make sense of the different terminology and understand how reading is taught and developed at Iver Village Infant School.
You will probably hear about different methods of teaching and practicing reading such as:
Children start to learn how to read by using phonics. They also need to recognise and remember those 'tricky words' that cannot be sounded out letter by letter e.g. 'the' or 'said'
- There are special phonic 'decodable' books that help children to practice their early reading
- At 6 years old (in the Summer term of Y1) children sit a statutory 'phonic screening check' to ensure they are making good progress in the basic phonics skills.
- Children also draw on their own experiences (the language and stories they know), the setting of the story and the pictures, to help them understand what they are reading about. Comprehension skills are vital in making sense of what the words say and interpreting meaning.
- Our reading scheme is a structured and levelled set of books written specifically to ensure that your child can take steady and progressive steps towards reading success. We use a range of reading schemes in our school and our scheme is very phonic-based in the beginning stages.
- Levelling allows a teacher to work out what book is right for your child at each stage of their reading journey to ensure that they gradually develop in skills and confidence. A book will be levelled on how decodable it is, the complexity of the sentence, plot, number of tricky words, pictures and pages it has and the type of language used etc. Levelling allows your child to move steadily from early reading skills to more complex reading skills and to do that at their own pace to ensure confidence and enthusiasm. We use a colour coding system called 'book bands' which is linked to National Curriculum levels as well as age/year groups.
Different types of reading
- Children are encouraged to read stories, plays, poetry, and information, but remember that reading is all about words, not just books, and words are everywhere in a school. Children read to help them with their work, e.g. instructions, displays, word lists for tricky words, projects (the Egyptians), other subjects (Science), signs, rules etc. As a school, we make sure that we are swimming in words in print and on screen. We live in a digital world and your children will do plenty of digital reading both at school and at home. They will take much of this in their stride, so embrace it!
Speaking, listening, reading and writing...
- Good speaking and listening underpin so much good reading and writing so there is often lots of talk in the classroom. Children need a rich bank of words to make sense of their reading and to use in their writing. When they are learning early reading skills, there is a very close connection between sounding out, and spelling – putting the letters back together again to write. Children will start writing from Reception; the spelling may not always be quite right, but as they work out the code and the rules, it quickly develops.
It is vital that there is communication between you and Iver Village Infant school. You should try to:
- Attend curriculum meetings to hear about how the school teaches literacy and reading in particular – and how you can best help.
- Read the school prospectus or look on the website for more information about the wider curriculum. Use the reading diary to send in quick and easy messages about your child or home.
- Speak to the class teacher after school if you have a very quick query or concern.
- Book an appointment if you need a little bit more time to discuss a concern.
- Wait for open evenings or parent consultation meetings for one-to-one meetings with your child’s teacher (but don’t wait for this if you have urgent concerns!).
- Offer to help in the classroom or school; teachers love to have extra ears to hear children reading.
Reading at home
As parents, you can make the biggest difference to your child’s success as a reader by encouraging your child to read as much and as widely as possible at home. Your child has a reading bag/book bag to keep the take-home reading book in (and other homework). A short daily reading session at home can make all the difference to your child’s progress.