Reading and Phonics

Our approach to Phonics and Reading:

At Rock Ferry Primary School we firmly believe that reading is vital in enabling children to learn and we aim for all children not only to become fluent readers but to develop as life-long learners with a passion for reading for the rest of their lives. Reading for pleasure is a key aspect in accessing the curriculum and time is set aside on a daily basis for the teaching and practising of reading skills in classes. At Rock Ferry Primary School we pride ourselves in providing a rigorous, systematic approach to the teaching of reading and this is mainly through the use of Phonics.  

What is Phonics?
Reading is taught using an approach where children are taught the phonemes (sounds) and how to blend the sounds within a word e.g. early individual letter sounds such as ‘c-a-t’ and later move onto words such as ‘sh-o-p’ where some letters join together to make different sounds.

Teachers and support staff have an excellent knowledge and understanding of the processes that help children to read and use Phonics as the central part of this process.

How is it taught?
The school uses the government published programme ‘Letters and Sounds’ to teach the 6 ‘Phases’ of phonic development, which begins with very early reading readiness in Phase 1, right up to becoming fluent, confident readers in Phase 6. In order to address each child’s different needs teachers assess each child’s phonic and reading progress regularly. This allows children to be grouped according to their needs and ability so that really effective, targeted teaching can be employed at each child’s level. The Phonics sessions take place every day for at least 20 minutes. Those children who have passed the Phase 6 level move onto another programme entitled ‘Support for Spelling’ and, in addition, are taught higher level reading skills.

At Rock Ferry Primary School all our early reading books are selected by either phonic phase or book bands across  a range of different reading schemes that we use. Your child will be given a colour band to choose from which will help to ensure that the book they select is at the right reading level. Every colour band included books from a range of reading schemes so that they will experience a range of stories, text types and illustrations. Once they become proficient at one level, by reading a wide range of books within it, they will move onto the next. Therefore, the more practise they get, the better they get and the quicker they will progress through the levels!

In class children are taught and are able to practise their reading skills through ‘ Guided Reading,’ sessions on a regular basis, where a teacher takes a small group of children at the same level of a ability and teaches them using one book with a copy for each child. Also some younger children or those experiencing difficulties may be heard read individually. There are, in addition, opportunities for silent reading as well as whole class stories/texts built into the curriculum on a regular basis.

Reading Homework:
Children are given regular reading homework to enable them to practise the skills they have learnt in school. This is vital in terms of building up their knowledge of words as well as helping them develop confidence and fluency. We feel that reading homework is a vital part of ensuring that children are able to progress and succeed as readers. It is clear that those children who get good support from home with their reading homework – by listening to them read regularly and then returning books on time- often make the much better progress than those who do not.

If you can take just 5 or 10 minutes to sit with your child each day you could make a HUGE difference to how well they learn at school. Just think what a great investment in your child’s future you could make!

And so to sleep……
One of the most powerful ways you can interact with your child is to read them a bedtime story. Children love it and, not only does it help with developing their language skills and imagination, it also helps them wind down after a hectic day at school.

If you would like any support, help or advice with helping your child to read please do not hesitate to contact any member of staff, who will be happy to help. The school also provides a recommended booklist and opportunities throughout the year to purchase quality books through the school book club and book fair. 

Below are links to some websites offering some guidance for the pronunciation of phonics which you may find useful when helping your child to ‘sound out’ words.