Promoting a love of reading is at the heart of our curriculum at Sycamore. We have a wide variety of texts that the children access to develop their reading which are banded into groups. Our main texts are from Bug Club. Bug Club is a powerful whole school reading programme that is proven to raise attainment in reading and spelling – and loved by over a million children in the UK. It brilliantly combines stunning books and an incredible online reading world, filled to the brim with kid-favourite characters, to hook children into a lifelong love of books and develop confident young readers. The texts are also available online so that children can access them at home on a computer or tablet.
Guided reading takes place every day and each week children will read with both the teacher and the teaching assistant. During these sessions the children will work as a group to decode text and develop their understanding of the choices authors make. Children will both ask and answer questions and make inferences from the text using both picture clues and clues from the text itself. Children read a wide variety of texts during these times including fiction, non-fiction, newspapers, graphic novels, leaflets and poetry.
Our reading scheme is Big Cat from Collins. Children will be given a book that they are able to bring home to read with an adult. Each book has suggested questions in the back to help develop your child’s comprehension skills. Children have a reading diary so that you can record whenever you have read with your child.
So, what exactly is phonics?
Words are made up from small units of sound called phonemes. Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word. This helps children to learn to read words and to spell words
In phonics lessons children are taught three main things:
They are taught GPCs. This stands for grapheme phoneme correspondences. This simply means that they are taught all the phonemes in the English language and ways of writing them down. These sounds are taught in a particular order. The first sounds to be taught are s, a, t, p.
Children are taught to be able to blend. This is when children say the sounds that make up a word and are able to merge the sounds together until they can hear what the word is. This skill is vital in learning to read.
Children are also taught to segment. This is the opposite of blending. Children are able to say a word and then break it up into the phonemes that make it up. This skill is vital in being able to spell words.
What makes phonics tricky?
In some languages learning phonics is easy because each phoneme has just one grapheme to represent it. The English language is a bit more complicated than this. This is largely because England has been invaded so many times throughout its history. Each set of invaders brought new words and new sounds with them. As a result, English only has around 44 phonemes but there are around 120 graphemes or ways of writing down those 44 phonemes. Obviously we only have 26 letters in the alphabet so some graphemes are made up from more than one letter.
ch th oo ay (these are all digraphs - graphemes with two letters)
There are other graphemes that are trigraphs (made up of 3 letters) and even a few made from 4 letters.
We are following a personalised phonics scheme based on Jolly Phonics with letters and sounds.