How we teach reading and phonics
At St Matthew’s reading is supported using a variety of book schemes which are put into colour coded bands. The reading schemes used within school are: Pearson’s Bug Club, Big Cat Phonics, Songbirds and Project X. In addition to their reading scheme books, children will often take home a book of their choice and also make regular use of our school libraries. Children are expected to read daily and achieve this through different lessons including literacy, guided reading and the topic that your child will currently be working on. Children have a reading log which parents/carers are asked to sign, to verify that that their child has read or shared a book at home. Any child who falls behind will be supported through reading interventions. We deploy our teaching support staff and ‘Reading Ranger’ volunteers to read with children where we believe that children will benefit from this extra reading practice. Teachers share books and/or a class novel with their children on a daily basis. Each classroom also has an inviting book area, where children are able to read quietly.
Guided Reading sessions take place in all classes daily, from Year One to Year Six. In these sessions children are taught to interpret and understand meaning in texts. During this time, in addition to independent reading tasks, children have the opportunity to listen to a wide range of quality ‘talking books’ and work directly with their teacher and teaching support assistants.
Throughout the school, children have the opportunity to visit the local library. The children work with the librarians to choose appropriate books and to gain an understanding of how the library works. In year 6, pupils have the opportunity to register with the library and are shown where to locate books which they may need at secondary school.
At St Matthew’s we teach phonics through high quality, systematic daily sessions which follows the ‘Letters and Sounds’ scheme and use the mnemonics from ‘Cued Articulation.’ Our aim is to enable children to start learning phonic knowledge and skills from Reception age, with the expectation that they will become fluent readers, having secured word building and recognition skills, by the end of Key Stage One.
From an early age we encourage children to apply their phonic knowledge as their first approach to reading and spelling, even though all words do not conform to regular phonic patterns. We provide children with opportunities to read texts and words that are within their phonic capabilities as early as possible, even though all words may not be entirely de-codable. We support children to attempt to spell words for themselves, within the range of their phonic knowledge, by building an individual repertoire and developing the confidence and strategies to attempt the unfamiliar. We hold yearly phonic information meetings for parents and also give parents/carers the opportunity to see phonics in action during literacy morning workshops within the classroom throughout the year.
Children in Year One undertake a Phonics screening check in June. This is carried out by the child’s class teacher in a quiet and informal manner so that your child feels comfortable and relaxed. The school provides information for parents about this national test and holds a couple of ‘drop in sessions’ for parents in the summer term to answer any questions regarding the screening check. For any child that does not meet the required standard the school puts into place interventions to support them at home and at school in the areas identified from the screening check.