At Key Stage 2 (Years 3,4, 5 & 6) children are making the transition from scheme and very structured books to ‘real books’. They still have access to a central store of graded books which the children are supported to work through. Children are encouraged to keep a record of what they read in their reading record. This reading record is a useful communication device between home and school. It allows positive comments to be made by children, parents and teachers when appropriate. All teachers keep a record of the books the children are reading and track the progress they are making.
We use a range of reading schemes with KS2 children, these include:
Oxford Reading TreeTops
Oxford Reading Tree Classics
Ginn pockets facts
In addition to this all pupils have access to a comprehensive collection of reading material (including fiction, non-fiction, picture books, poetry, plays, traditional and modern texts, reference books, information from the internet and texts they have created themselves. Each class has a specific reading area, which encourages the children to go and read different books.
Each class has a Book Swap Box available outside the classroom at the beginning and end of the day. Children are encouraged to bring a book they have read to ‘swap’ in the box for another, with the aim being to promote and foster a love of reading.
Each class has a timetabled session in the school library. These sessions can be used for focused research, reading for pleasure and storytelling. The children are encouraged to share their books with each other and discuss them.
Guided Reading also takes place in school. In Reception, guided reading is introduced in the summer term or when the teacher deems the children are independent enough to read within a group session. In KS1 and KS2, guided reading takes place daily for half an hour each day. To aid the teaching of guided reading, each year group has access to a range of guided reading books and text extracts. Each teacher keeps a record of the children’s progress during guided reading and uses the information to update tracking information.
Reading is further promoted in school through book reviews written by each class and displayed in the hall, authors of the term and specific storytelling time towards the end of the day, when teachers can share different texts with their class.
At The Links, we use Letters and Sounds as our basis for teaching phonics and then use Phonics Play to support planning and activities. There is a parents and children part to the Phonics Play website which can be accessed at www.phonicsplay.co.uk
We also use songs and actions from the Jolly Phonics programme to support children’s phonics learning in the early stages.
Phonics is a method of teaching children how spoken words are composed of sounds called phonemes and how the letters in words correspond to those phonemes. The process of reading involves decoding or ‘breaking’ words into separate phonemes, so that the meaning can be gained. On the other hand, the process of spelling requires the writer to identify all the phonemes in a word and then use their knowledge of the phonemic code to write or ‘make’ the word.
English is essentially a code that can be encoded (written) and decoded (read). We need to teach children this code with as much emphasis as possible on the rules and regularities of the written language.
Children are taught that we can make a word from the sounds and then break it apart again when we want to spell it. Spelling and reading are taught together, but children may be better at reading before spelling or vice versa.
Written English is recognised as being a complex language. We have 26 letters but 44 phonemes in the spoken language. There are a huge number of letter combinations needed to make these 44 phonemes (a phoneme is the technical name for the smallest unit of sound).
Phonics is taught through school from Nursery to Year 6. Although discreet teaching of phonics and the majority of learning takes places in EYFS and Key Stage 1, the teaching often continues into Key Stage 2 where appropriate.
Phonics is taught in differentiated groups. Each child’s phonic ability is assessed and children are placed in the appropriate ‘phase’ group for their ability. These can be and often are mixed year groups. Children are taught in groups by teachers and teaching assistants. The groups are assessed regularly and children moved if appropriate. All teachers and teaching assistants have accessed recent phonics training.