Reading at St Michael's
As a forward thinking school we constantly evaluate our current practices and adapt them to ensure that our children make the best progress in reading that they possibly can.
How to help at home
Links between school and home are very important. This begins with sharing nursery rhymes, picture books and stories with your child from the very earliest age and continuing this even when they they can read for themselves.
Once they have started to be able to read words independently by blending sounds together they will begin to bring books home to read to you. They will start off with a 'Blending Book' to practise their developing skills at word level, moving on to simple 'ditties' and books as they start to be able to read phrases and sentences independently. Books will become progressively longer and more complex and are designed to be carefully matched to the sounds that your child has been taught and can use. We aim only to send books home that your child can read with confidence, building their enjoyment, fluency and stamina.
We encourage all children to read regularly at home and this is the best way to for you to support your child's progress in reading as well as by continuing to read aloud to them, sharing stories, rhymes, books and poems together.
The teaching of reading
At St Michael's your child's reading journey will begin straight away, with regular story times scheduled every day, building a shared experience of listening to and remembering a wide variety of stories.
Your child will learn to read at school using our highly successful systematic synthetic phonics approach. We follow the 'Read Write Inc' program from the very start of Reception. Children first learn to hear the individual sounds that make up words by playing fun listening games featuring 'Fred the Frog'. They then learn to recognise the sounds when they are written down and blend them to read words. We use Fred the Frog to help here as well, so children can 'Fred Talk' (sound out) the word before reading it.
As children move through the scheme they will begin to recognise that 2 or more letters can represent one sound, in Read Write Inc these are known as 'Special Friends' to help children remember. Children will become confident with reading phrases and sentences and soon be able to read simple stories and books for themselves.
Children actively engage in the fun, well-structured and fast-paced Read Write Inc sessions. They quickly realise they can blend some sounds to read simple words often 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 firmly believe that learning to read accurately and fluently is the key to children's success in education and aim to ensure that children are able to 'keep up not catch up' by providing additional help and support to those who need it.
Your child will be able to bring home Read Write Inc 'Bookbag Books' which are carefully aligned with the books they are reading at school, these books include opportunities to practise reading 'Green' words which they can 'Fred Talk' and 'Red' words which are not yet phonetically decodable but which they will have learnt to recognise at school.
They will also receive a log in for the 'Oxford Owl' website where their teacher will assign online copies of the books they have read at school, alongside quizzes for extra practice.
In addition to our reading scheme we encourage children and families to share stories at home, whatever the age of their child. For September 2022 we have purchased a variety of brand new books featuring diverse characters and families for children to take home each week and share with parents and carers, highlighting how keen we are to broaden children's experiences of literature and develop not only physical reading skills but reading for pleasure.
Stories and books are read aloud in every class every day, starting with favourite picture books in Reception, progressing through longer stories and books, through to high quality, varied and challenging texts in Key Stage Two. Children are consistently able to hear, share and discuss fiction and non fiction texts which they may not yet be able to read for themselves but are able to enjoy and respond to.
We 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.