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How we teach reading at St Kentigern’s


The Importance of reading

Learning to read is one of the most important things your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.

Reading for pleasure

We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we work hard to make sure children develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.

How we teach reading skills

We start by teaching phonics in Reception using the highly successful ‘Bug club’ phonics programme. Children learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well.

The children also practise reading (and spelling) ‘tricky words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’.

Once children can blend sounds together to read words, they practise reading books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. They start to believe they can read and this does wonders for their confidence.

Teachers regularly read to the children, too, so the children get to know and love all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. This helps to extend children’s vocabulary and comprehension, as well as supporting their writing.

Up until the end of Year 2, your child will work with children who are at the same reading level.  This is so that the teaching can be focussed on their needs.  Some older children will continue to access Phonics if they need further consolidation and development of reading skills, particularly if they do not pass the year 1 Phonics screening check. We check children’s reading skills regularly so we that we can ensure they are in the right group.  Children will move to a different group if they are making faster progress or may have one-to-one support if we think they need some extra help. 

Guided reading

 In Key Stage 2 (years 3, 4, 5 and 6,) the children undertake regular guided reading sessions with the staff in their class, have a wide selection of free reading materials to choose from and projects linked to reading, with rewards systems for encouragement. We have a wide selection of reading material linked to each topic which pupils can access to read further about each topic they are studying.

How long will it take to learn to read well?

Every child is different and children will learn to read at different speeds.  By the end of Year 2, most children will be able to read aloud books that are at the right level for his or her age. In Year 3  and beyond, we concentrate more on helping children to understand what they are reading, although this work begins very early on.

In the summer term of Year 1, the government asks us to do a phonics check of all the children.  We will let you know how your child has done.  Children who do not pass the phonics check in Year 1 retake the assessment during Year 2 to ensure that they have made progress.  If your child is a candidate for this, then we will let you know in advance and also feedback the findings.  

Challenge and ERIC time

Advanced readers take up the challenge and access a range of free reading materials in class and to develop their comprehension skills. All pupils have allocated reading time and read for 10 mins daily at ERIC time when they arrive into class after lunchtime play.


What does school offer to give my child reading incentives?

In school we have made a significant investment in a variety of reading schemes to encourage your child to access a range of texts suited to their own personal interests while also extending their reading ability and confidence.  The schemes are: Bug club, Dandelion and Oxford Reading Tree.

Pupils also have access to a significant 'library' collection of books (currently held within each classroom) and are encouraged to read three times weekly at home.

We part in reading competitions including One hundred million minutes reading challenge and national incentives such as World Book week and poetry week.  Pupils enjoy opportunities to dress up as Book characters and learn about famous authors such as Roald Dahl as well as visits form local authors.

Shared reading

Classes read shared texts where reading and writing combine, providing children with a deeper understanding of texts.  Books are carefully chosen to meet the needs and interests of the cohort and staff develop teaching plans to enthuse the children.  They often link into our wider curriculum, with history, geography and social themes particularly popular with our pupils. 

What can parents/carers do to help?

Make reading fun! Remember to keep reading to your child. They will come across far more adventurous words than they will in their early reading books and you will be helping them to grow a vast vocabulary, develop a deeper understanding of different stories etc. It will also encourage them to love books and want to read more; if a child sees and hears an adult reading, they are inspired by them!

What if my child finds it difficult to learn to read?

We want every child to learn to read, however long it takes us to teach them. We will find out very quickly if your child is finding reading difficult. First, we move children to a different group, so that we can make sure that they have learnt what they need to know. If they need more help, we may provide extra 1:1 support. 

If we have any concerns about your child’s reading, we will talk to you about this.

Remember, all children are individual so some children take a little longer to learn to put sounds together to read a word, e.g. c-a-t to make the word ‘cat’. At our meeting, we will explain how you can help your child to do this.

Extra help support or guidance

If you have any further queries about how we teach reading, please don't hesitate to get in touch; your class teacher can offer help, or alternatively Mrs Harris (EYFS and KS1) or Mrs Jones (KS2)  reading in school.

To access your reading books online by following the link to Active learn below 

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