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Reading and Phonics

Our aim is to nurture a love of literature and language, and the confidence to continue reading and writing throughout the children’s lives.

  • speak clearly and confidently across a range situations
  • listen actively and respond clearly and appropriately, developing knowledge and opinion.
  • read fluently for both pleasure and information.
  • write clearly and with confidence in any given genre.
  • use taught spelling rules, phonics and grammar accurately.
  • develop the skills needed to proofread their work and make amendments and improvements.

Phonics is recommended as a strategy that children should be taught in the early stages of learning to read. It is a way of decoding written letters and spoken sounds. This approach to learning to read encourages children to decode words by sounds, rather than by recognising whole words.

In the early years, teaching focuses on synthetic phonics, where words are broken up into the smallest units of sound (phonemes). Children are taught the letters (graphemes) that represent these phonemes and also learn to blend them into words. At its simplest, pupils are taught to read the letters in a word like d-o-g, and merge them to pronounce the word dog. But, of course, phonemes can be represented by one, two, three or four letters (for example, "ough" in "dough").

Learning to read is like cracking a code, so teaching phonics is a way of teaching children to crack the code.  As reading is the key to learning it is important that we teach phonics clearly and systematically, learning easy bits first then progressing to trickier bits.

At the Wells Free School we plan the outline of our Phonics lessons using the Letters and Sounds Programme. Teaching is augmented using resources from TES phonics and Jolly Phonics.

Phonics runs alongside other teaching methods to help children develop vital reading skills and give them a real love of reading. However, not all children are able to easily use phonics as a key to decode a word. Our teaching approaches incorporate a range of strategies to support those children who are more comfortable utilising whole word recognition.

Reading skills are taught using a wide range of reading materials. As soon as the children start school they begin to learn that all print carries meaning. They will develop an understanding of story structure and characters through adults sharing and discussing books.  Children are given opportunities for individual reading with an adult, and daily class reading sessions. Children are given further opportunities to develop an enjoyment of reading through adult led daily story sessions.

We have a range of book that the children will use when applying their taught reading skills such as Rigby Readers , Jolly Phonics , Oxford Reading tree and Project X. We want to make sure that the children are confident to read across different styles and that the books reflect a variety of interests in both fiction and non fiction genres.