Check out our Book Displays!
We have been continuing to share our love of books by sharing our book displays. We have enjoyed reading a range of texts together as a class. We have used the book blog to share our ideas.
Early Reading Development
After a recent review of the teaching of reading by the Department of Education we have made some changes to the way we teach reading at St Joseph’s. Our approach follows a scheme called Little Wandle letters and Sounds which follows the recommendations set out in the reading review. Below is a link to a parents web page which contains short videos about the programme.
Some notable aspects of the reading approach
- Children will receive a daily phonics session to learn the sound system with opportunities to apply these skills with activities for home learning
- Correct pronunciation of these sounds and effective blending skills are key to success in learning the sound system to aid reading. There are videos on the link above which shows the exact pronunciation of every sound.
- In these sessions children will blend sounds to read words and learn ‘tricky’ words which do not follow the usual pattern of the sound system, they will also apply these by reading and writing.
Guided Reading Sessions/Reading Practice
- Children will have regular reading practice through guided reading sessions with an adult three times a week focussing on the three key skills – decoding (being able to identify all of the words, reading with expression- using understanding of the words to read with the correct emphasis, Comprehension- understand what is happening in the story) The same book is used for all of three sessions in the week so children have the opportunity to apply all of these skills with the one text.
- Books used for reading practice will be pitched within the secure phonic knowledge of each child meaning that these books must be fully decodable. Fully decodable means that the book only contains sounds children have been taught previously and are known securely. As a result books used to practice reading should be easily read when they bring it home after working with it in school all week and will not contain words or sounds being learnt in the daily phonics sessions.
- Books will be sent home on a Friday and need to come back in to school on Monday
Books to share and enjoy/develop early reading skills
- During the week we still encourage children to take other books home to enjoy with an adult, a sibling or by themselves. These will not be fully decodable and are not meant to be used to practice their own reading. These books will develop a knowledge of story plots and characters, develop vocabulary, understand how expression can be used to enhance a story, develop comprehension skills and most importantly of all promote a lifelong love of reading. These skills are as important as decoding when children are first learning to read.
What is the Phonics Screening Check?
The national Phonics Screening Check was introduced in 2012 to all Year 1 pupils. It is a short, statutory assessment to ensure that children are making sufficient progress in the phonics skills to read words and are on track to become fluent readers who can enjoy reading for pleasure and for learning. Due to COVID last year's screening check was cancelled so Year 2 will carry out the check before Christmas this year. Year 1 will carry out the check as usual in June.
Our children also learn how to tackle comprehension questions using a programme called Cracking Comprehension. Using an interactive whiteboard the children are introduced to a text. The teacher models how to find answers from within the text. The children then work independently to answer the questions themselves, using and applying the strategies taught. Discussion is encouraged so that the children can compare their own answers to the model answer as there may be alternative possible ‘correct’ answers for each question.
Reading for pleasure
We believe in both the importance of developing children’s discrete word reading skills and comprehension, and the need to engender children’s love of books and reading. The two elements are intertwined; each relies on the other if children are to become life-long readers.
We build time for all children to read independently, read aloud and to be read to during the school day. Reading for pleasure gives opportunities to learn about a multitude of things that cannot be covered by a school curriculum.
We also have our very own St Josephs’ VIP’s – volunteers from our local community who come in on a weekly basis to help support our children’s reading.
Reading at home
Children who are supported in their reading at home are more likely to enjoy reading and tend to achieve more highly at school. Try to set aside ten minutes a day to read together. Turn the television off to help your child focus. Do let your child read favourite books over and over again if they want to. Research shows this will help them become more fluent readers. Keep on reading to your child, as well as listening to them read, for as long as they will let you. As well as listening to you reading to them at bedtime, your child can listen to books online. They can have fun playing phonics game apps on your phone. They can help you read text messages. They can go on websites for fun reading activities. There are lots of great ideas out there, from podcasts to treasure hunts to quizzes and puzzles.
Oxford Owls has a free ebook library with over 100 free online books for children between 3 and 11 years old. Click on the link below to access it.
We use high quality texts as a starting point for writing. We consider the purpose for our writing and children are encouraged to understand who their audience is.
Language rich environment!
From the moment our children start St Joseph’s they are immersed in a language rich environment. They are encouraged to explore vocabulary through all aspects of the school day. From nursery they begin to explore mark making and exploring the language all around them to encourage them to be articulate, independent learners.
We discuss the vocabulary and grammatical features in the texts used to help develop our own writing. As a class we generate a toolkit for writing. We use our working walls to aid our writing.
In year 6 our children have been advocates for change! They have spoken about current issues in the world and written speeches. They have shown great maturity in addressing Global issues!