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St. Michael's Church of England Primary School Thorpe on the Hill

Reading at St Michael's

As always, things keep moving on in Education! As a forward thinking school we constantly evaluate our current practices and adapt them to ensure we provide the highest quality education we possibly can.

How to help at home

Links between school and home are very important. We expect children to read at home at least three times a week. To support this, the library will be open after school every day before and after school as well as during break times. The importance of reading at home can be seen here.

If you would like to know more about synthetic phonics and reading reading please follow the link, How children learn to read in school | Oxford Owl. This site, in particular the “Expert Help” section, has many useful tips and information about how you can support your child with their reading throughout their time at primary school

The teaching of reading

Your child will learn to read at school using our highly successful multi-sensory, synthetic phonics approach.  Children learn the names of letters of the alphabet as well as their sounds (phonemes).  From here children then build up their knowledge of reading  through blending the phonemes together.

.As children move through the scheme they will begin to use two (diagraphs) or more letters to represent one sound.

We follow the “Letters and Sounds” scheme which outlines the order of learning the letters.  

Children actively engage in the fun, multi sensory activities and quickly realise they can blend some letter sounds (phonemes) to read simple words within a few weeks of starting school. Early success gives our children the confidence to have a go at reading for themselves and gain pleasure from this new world they are entering for the first time. Daily phonics teaching begins in reception and continues throughout key stage one.

We have a parent information sheet to support your understanding of the letters and sounds scheme

Much of the actual focused teaching of reading is done either in groups or as a whole class with adults trained to support understanding, as well as decoding skills. Reading lessons have specific focuses on either developing accuracy and fluency or comprehension.


Reading Scheme

The reading scheme that we use to support our phonics teaching is the very popular Oxford Reading Tree scheme, supplemented with a variety of graded books to add interest, challenge and diversity to our children’s reading. Throughout the school our children are encouraged to make the most of opportunities to read individually and for personal pleasure.

Reading Enjoyment

In addition to our reading scheme we have a range of high level reading books and magazines which the older children have specifically chosen thus highlighting how keen we are to develop reading for pleasure.

We believe in the importance of reading for pleasure and in support of this we timetable daily 'Drop Everything and Read' (DEAR) sessions. During this the whole school stops what they are doing allowing children to access different classrooms to listen to stories and engage in independent reading.

To further encourage reading for pleasure, the infant children take ‘share books’ home each week. These books are for parents to read to the children as we value this as much as the children reading to parents. KS2 children can choose to take additional ‘share books’ home as they require them

Reading Volunteers

We do welcome parent volunteers to hear children read in school and we offer short, informal training sessions so that volunteers feel confident and well equipped to provide consistent experiences for our children during these individual reading times.