Reading & Phonics

Learning To Read At Bexton

Children learn to read in different ways and at different speeds. The first part of a child's journey towards being a successful reader starts when the child is a baby and is listening to stories and rhymes. This encourages a love of language and stories and develops the child's vocabulary and understanding of language as they start to become familiar with what words mean and what they look like.

A vital first stage of a child's development as a reader is to be able to 'read' pictures and to determine what is happening or to predict what might happen from the pictures in a book. As this skill develops, children become able to use their grammatical  skills to listen to words within a sentence and to make sense of what they can hear. This is an important tool for the young reader as it enables them to make sensible guesses at unknown words within a sentence and to continue to read for meaning without being stopped in their tracks.

Most pre-school children are already reading before they start school; they will be able to read the supermarket sign above the shops they visit frequently, McDonalds, Lego and Disney will be easily identifiable to them too! Whilst your young child won't necessarily be able to identify the letters and sounds within those words, they read them because they remember the overall shape of the word. At Bexton we ensure that children have a good range of high frequency words that they identify without having to ask or sound them out so that they can maintain fluency within their reading, which in turn supports a good understanding of what they have read.

At Bexton children will have a range of reading experiences in school. It is a priority for children to be read to regularly and teachers will read stories to the children everyday, whether this is in an English lesson or a story at the end of the day. In reception the children will regularly read to the teacher on an individual basis and will progress to reading in small groups (sometimes called guided reading). This is an opportunity for the teacher to teach the children a specific skill and allow children time to practice it. We also teach reading in whole class reading sessions where the children read together and develop their understanding through questioning and discusssion. 

We use a range of reading schemes to support reading development:

  • Oxford Reading Tree
  • Rigby Star
  • Big Cat Collins
  • Read, write, inc

Once the children progress beyond the banded book schemes they have access to our library books. The children have free choice in these books, but their teacher will monitor their choices carefully. 

Teaching Phonics At Bexton

In addition to these basic reading skills the teaching of phonics  is a key focus at Bexton for our developing readers and writers.  We ensure that all children in  our Foundation Stage, year 1 and year 2 classes are taught phonic skills through a daily 20 minute discrete phonic lesson. This develops the child's ability to tackle unknown words within a text by blending the phonemes (sounds) within the word. These phonic skills also enable a child to work out the phonemes they will need to use when they are writing words.

The phonic lessons are structured to ensure that children are first able to identify letters and to say the sound those letters make. Once children are confident with saying the single letter sounds and blending them to create words, they then start to learn the common digraphs (where two letters go together to create a new phoneme such as sh), trigraphs (where three letters create a new phoneme such as igh) and spelling patterns that we use within the English language.

At Bexton, the key objectives in our phonic, reading and writing lessons are that children are taught to:

  • love books and enjoy listening to stories, poemsand rhymes

  • read and write letter-sound correspondences quickly

  • decode effortlessly, spell and handwrite easily

  • comprehend what they read

  • read with fluency and expression

  • write confidently using oral rehearsal

  • work effectively with a partner or within a group to articulate their learning at every step


How can you support your child's reading at home?

Your child's reading experience is so much more than the reading book which comes home from school. Reading is happening all the time in a classroom and in the school. It is taught in specific reading and English lessons, but children are practising and using their 'reading' constantly across all subjects too.

Parents can support this 'reading journey' through regular reading at home. Reading to and with your child every evening for at least ten minutes can make a dramatic difference to a child's achievement within school. A report from the Oxford University Press highlighted the importance of parents reading with their children. 'Children who read outside of class are 13 times more likely to read above the expected level for their age'.

The report also offers six tips for reading with your child at home, including:

1. Make time to read- even ten minutes a day

2. Choose different types of books

3. Take turns to read

4. Talk about the book- asking your child questions

5. Pay attention to the language

6. Enjoy reading

In order to support parents we have created bookmarks with questions and ideas you can talk about with your child. You can download these on this page. These are also found in your child's reading diary.

This website gives some excellent recommendations for books your child might enjoy.


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