Nurture, Grow, Flourish



National Curriculum - The Purpose of Teaching English

"A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society..."

National Curriculum, English Programmes of Study, September 2013

The Intent, Implementation and Impact is to follow very soon.

What can I do to help my child read?

Here are a few ideas to support your child's early reading at home:

  • Read your child a bedtime story
  • Allow your child to choose the book they want, it is quite normal for children to repeatedly choose a favourite!
  • Don’t be shy, do the voices!
  • Make stories fun and exciting; laugh, smile, look scared, look sad, sound excited, etc.
  • Run your finger under the words as you read.
  • Ask a question or two, for example “What do you think will happen next?”, “Who do you think will solve the problem?”
  • Stop and talk about some of the pictures and characters.

Even when your child becomes an independent reader, sharing bedtime stories will enable your child to enjoy literature. Sharing stories will also extend their vocabulary, improve their comprehension and it is also an enjoyable experience for both parents and children alike. Often these shared stories are memories that children carry with them for life. 

  • Join the library and widen their choice of books.
  • Let your child see you reading and talk about what texts you enjoy.
  • Spend ten minutes a day reading with your child, this will include their reading book, but not exclusively.
  • Read signs, labels and captions found in everyday life.

How do I help my child read their ‘reading book’?
Books without words:

  • Find a quiet place away from other interruptions,
  • Look at the front cover and talk about what they think the story is about,
  • Look at each picture carefully and talk about what is happening,
  • Talk about the characters and where the story is set,
  • Give your child lots of praise and encouragement.

Talking about stories is very important and helps develop a child’s reading skills. Children use pictures to help them read. Books without words help children think about stories and what happens on each page. These books encourage children to use the pictures to work out what is happening. In the future, these skills will help them read the words on the page and more importantly understand their meaning.

Books with words and sentences:
When starting to read, children should put their finger underneath each word as they read. 

If they get stuck on a word:

  • Ask them to look at the first letter of the word,
  • Encourage sounding out each phoneme to build the word and blend the sounds together,
  • Use the clues in the picture,
  • Use the context of the sentences to work it out, i.e. miss the word out and read to the end of the sentence, what word would make sense?
  • Don’t spend too long on a difficult word, it is OK for you to give the word sometimes. You can go back later to reread the tricky bit.  Try to keep the story flowing so you can both enjoy reading together. 

Try to be positive and praise your child for their effort and achievement, even if they do not read the whole book fluently!

After reading:
Talk about similar experiences your child might have had.  “Do you remember when you …” “It’s just like when you…”

Talk about the story afterwards.  “Which bit did you like?”  “Wasn’t it funny when …”

At the front and back of each Bug Club and Phonics Bug reading book there is a parent’s guide. Please refer to these pages prior to starting the book as they will give you tips on how to help your child read and engage with the text.

At Stubbins we have a banded reading book scheme.

Our main reading scheme is 'Bug Club' from Pearson. Click HERE.

Please see below the images of books and text examples from each band in the scheme. You will be able to see the clear progression through the colour bands. You can also view the video link below.

Help With Phonics

At Stubbins we teach phonics using the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme of study as directed by the Department for Education. It is a fun and interactive way to support children in learning how to read and write. Initially, for the children to learn the first sounds we also use a programme called Jolly Phonics. Jolly Phonics represents each sound with an action, a story and a song helping children to remember the sound and the letters using a multi sensory approach.

The alphabet contains only 26 letters. Spoken English uses about 44 sounds (phonemes). These phonemes are represented by letters (graphemes). In other words, a sound can be represented by a letter (e.g.‘s’ or ‘t’) or a group of letters (e.g. ‘th’ or ‘ow’).

Once children begin learning sounds, they use this to help read and spell words.  This leaflet provides an overview of the teaching of letters and sounds at Stubbins, to help you support your child.

There are six phases of letters and sounds, 5 of which are taught from Reception to Year 2.  Phase 1 is usually taught at Nursery and is sometimes revisited in Reception for those children needing extra support. Phases 2, 3 and 4 are taught in Reception and consolidated in Year 1. Children are then taught phase 5 in Year 1 and phase 6 in Year 2.

What do all the technical words mean?
What is a phoneme?

It is the smallest unit of sound and a piece of terminology that is taught and used throughout the teaching and learning of phonics.  At first it will equate with a letter sound but later on will include the digraphs.  For example `rain’ has three phonemes, / r  / ai  / n.

What is a grapheme?
A grapheme is a letter or a number of letters that represent a sound (phoneme) in a word. Another way to explain it is to say that a grapheme is a letter or letters that spell a sound in a word. E.g. /ee/,/ ea/, /ey/ all make the same phoneme but are spelt differently.

What is a digraph and a trigraph?
A digraph is when two letters come together to make a single phoneme. For example /oa/ makes the sound in boat. We use the term trigraph to mean a sound made from a combination of three letters such as /igh/. We don’t have a term for when four letters make one sound!

What is blending?
Blending is the process that is involved in bringing the sounds together to make a word or a syllable and is how /c/  /a/  /t/  becomes cat.

To learn to read well children must be able to smoothly blend sounds together. Blending sounds fluidly helps to improve fluency when reading. Blending is more difficult to do with longer words so learning how to blend accurately from an early age is imperative.

Modelling how to make the sounds blend smoothly together without stopping after each individual sound.

What is segmenting?
Segmenting is when a word is ‘sounded out’ and is a skill used in spelling. In order to spell the word cat, it is necessary to segment the word into its constituent sounds; c-a-t.

Children often understand segmenting as ‘sounding out’ or ‘sound talking’ a word into its separate sounds. Before writing a word young children need time to think about it, say the word several times, segment the word and then write it. Once children have written the same word several times they won’t need to use these steps as frequently.

Children will enjoy spelling if it feels like fun and if they feel good about themselves as spellers. We need, therefore, to be playful and positive in our approach – noticing and praising what children can do as well as helping them to correct their mistakes.

What are tricky words?
Tricky words are words that cannot be decoded or ‘sounded-out’ but need to be learned by sight. They don’t fit into the usual spelling patterns. Examples of these words are listed under each phase. In order to read simple sentences, it is necessary for children to know some words that have unusual or untaught spellings. It should be noted that, when teaching these words, it is important to always start with sounds already known in the word, then focus on the 'tricky' part.

What are high frequency words?
High frequency words (or common words) are words that recur often in much of the written material young children read. Many of these are decodable and children can sound them out but it is important that they learn them by sight in order to make their early reading flow. These words are also essential for early writing and the next step after reading them by sight is to spell them correctly.

What are CVC words?
CVC stands for consonant - vowel - consonant, so words such as map, cat and dog are CVC words.   In phase 4 we learn how to blend consonants and look at CCVC words such as clip, stop, twig; CVCC are words such as limp, help and belt and finally CCVCC are words such as crust and drink.

Website Links

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