Reading at BSPS
At Bedlington Station Primary School we value reading as a fundamental skill that all children need to develop to prepare them for life. We place a strong emphasis on reading in school, across the curriculum and at home. In school we have a team of Reading Buddies who help promote and support reading in school, particularly at lunchtimes. Across school, children take part in a daily early reading phonics sessions, focussed spelling lessons, shared reading and individual reading.
It is an expectation at all children will read or share a book at home every day.
Early Reading (Phonics)
Reception to Year 2
Read, Write Inc. Phonics is a structured programme that uses systematic phonics to teach all children to read and write. The ability to read and write is a key life skill that paves the way to success at school and in the world beyond. To begin children are taught individual sounds daily during 'Speedy Sounds' sessions. After these have been learnt, children begin to learn how to blend these sounds into words during regular 'Word Time' sessions. It is vital that children are taught to pronounce ‘pure’ sounds. Sounds are either stretchy, like ssssssss or bouncy, like b,b,b,b. See the video below to find out the correct pronunciation of all the sounds taught through the Read, Write Inc. programme.
Green words 'Green' words are phonetically decodable words that the children learn to read. They allow children to become fluent readers because regular reading of these words mean that they become familiar and are able to recognise/read them on sight. They can then use their knowledge of these words to read similar words more quickly.
Red words are sometimes known as ‘common exception words’ or ‘tricky’ words. These are words that children will need to learn on sight because they contain parts that are not decodable. For example the word 'the' could be decoded as 'theh', but children must learn the correct pronunciation and spelling. Some of the red words are only tricky until a specific sound is learnt or because people pronounce them differently in different parts of the country.
Research has shown that incorporating 'alien' or nonsense words into teaching reading can be an effective way to establish blending and segmenting skills. However it is important to ensure that children understand that they are reading nonsense words so that they are not confused by trying to read the words for meaning. By reading nonsense words children develop their ability to decode individual sounds and then blend them together to read. They are an indicator of early reading skills and work as a quick and valid way of assessing children, which is why they form part of the Phonics Screening check that all children in Year 1 have to take. However, reading nonsense words is only a small part of the Read, Write Inc. phonics teaching.
Fred is our Read, Write Inc. mascot/friend. He can only speak in sounds though, so we have to help him learn to say words, instead of sounds. For example Fred says 'c-a-t' instead of cat. We also teach him not to add 'uh' to our sounds in order to keep them pure. For example we say 'c' and not 'cuh'.
We use 'Fred Fingers' to help make the transition between oral sounding out and spelling with magnetic letters or on paper.
Firstly we count how many sounds we can hear:
"cat, c-a-t, 3 sounds".
Then we hold up that many fingers. For each sound we use our other hand to squeeze a Fred Finger and say the sound"c-a-t".
Watch out - words such as fish needs 3 Fred Fingers - "f-i-sh". Words such as flight need 4 Fred Fingers - "f-l-igh-t".
As children become more confident with their sounds and spelling words they will move away from using their Fred Fingers and instead rely on sounding out in their head.
Read, Write Inc. books
After children have learned and are confident in pronouncing enough sounds they will begin to read 'Ditty' books in their Read, Write Inc. lessons. Ditty books contain short stories that the children read and these stories are made up from green and red words. Following Ditty books children continue to read groups of books that have been specially written to support progress through the scheme. Children will be given a 'Book Bag' RWI book that matches what they have been reading in class, to read at home. Please hear your child read these books. By the time children bring the books home, they should be familiar with the phonics in the book and once practised at home, be able to read them fluently therefore you will be able to celebrate their excellent reading with them! Children will still bring home other books to share that they have chosen. As part of the RWI scheme, children read on a daily basis in school.
Beyond Early Reading (Year 2 to 6)
Building on a foundation of early reading, children move beyond Read, Write Inc, usually around year 2 or Year 3. At this point the focus moves to supporting children in becoming confident, fluent, independent readers. Spelling and comprehension learning continues through our Spelling Lessons and Shared Reading Sessions throughout Key Stage 2.
Children in Key Stage 2 use Accelerated Reader (AR)
AR is a computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Your child picks a book at his or her own level and reads it at his or her own pace. When finished, your child takes a short quiz on the computer. (Passing the quiz is an indication that your child understood what was read.)
AR gives children and teachers feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher then uses to help your child set goals and direct ongoing reading practice.
Children using AR choose their own books to read, rather than having one assigned to them. This makes reading a much more enjoyable experience as they can choose books that are interesting to them.
Teachers help your child choose books at an appropriate readability level that are challenging without being frustrating, ensuring that your child can pass the quiz and experience success.
If your child does not do well on the successive quizzes, their teacher may help your child:
In most cases, children really enjoy taking the quizzes. Since they’re reading books at their reading and interest levels, they are likely to be successful. This is satisfying for most children. Best of all, they learn and grow at their own pace.
You can hep your child at home. As with anything, performance improves with practice. Encourage your child to read at home. Create a culture of reading in your household by reading with your child, starting a home library, visiting your local library or bookstore on a regular basis, letting your child see you reading, and discussing books that each of you has read. When reading with your child, stop and ask questions to be sure your child is comprehending what is read. Reading with your child, no matter what the child’s age, is an important part of developing a good reader, building a lifelong love of reading and learning, and creating a loving relationship between you and your child. Make learning a family affair!