Our Approach to Phonics and Reading

The children at Walkington school enjoy reading. Our aim in KS1 is work with you as parents to enable your child to read; once this is mastered, we then start working to help your child become a ‘reader’. Hopefully, through this two step approach, children will develop broad and deepening skills to make full use of this essential life skill, to both further their learning and for their own pleasure. The test results from our oldest pupils highlight the ongoing success of this approach, as do the piles of novels we regularly see piled up on the pupils’ desks!

Our core reading scheme is the Oxford Reading Tree, where pupils (and parents) quickly become familiar with the ongoing adventures of Biff, Chip and Kipper and their ‘Magic Key’. However, this is augmented throughout the school with a broad range of other books appropriate to the age of the children.

In line with the majority of primary schools, we follow the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme to enable children to successfully decode words using synthetic phonics. A wide range of additional strategies are also employed across all classes to support those children who may struggle initially to master these skills.

Further information about ‘Letters & Sounds’

We are acutely aware that the best way for your child to make effective progress in this area is for the school and families to work together. Guidance and support will be offered to you when your child starts school as to how you can read with your child and how often. We hope that throughout your child’s time with us, you will continue to help and encourage their reading development in a multitude of ways, but we see the prime role as being a supportive and enthusiastic listener, providing an opportunity for the skills covered in their lessons to be tried out at home.

While the staff will still hear children read individually where appropriate, much of the formal teaching of reading throughout the school is delivered through ‘Guided Reading’ sessions:

Guided reading is one component of the shared reading block during which the teacher provides support for small, flexible groups of beginning readers. The teacher helps students learn to use reading strategies, such as context clues, letter and sound knowledge, and syntax or word structure, as they read a text or book that is unfamiliar to them. The goal of guided reading is for students to use these strategies independently on their way to becoming fluent, skilled readers.

If you have any questions at all regarding how your child is learning to read, please do not hesitate to contact a member of school staff.

We wish you many happy hours together with your child discovering the wonderful world of children’s literature!

Tips for encouraging reading by Julia Donaldson