Reading & Phonics
Reading at St Thomas of Canterbury is given high priority. As soon as our children enter Nursery they have reading as a key focus and this continues throughout Key Stages One and Two.
In Nursery, links between letters and sounds are introduced and taught daily, following the first phases of the Letters and Sounds document; this leads to the introduction of letter formation, following the LetterJoin handwriting scheme. Writing is introduced through mark- making opportunities leading to more structured activities. Every week each child chooses a book from the class library to take home to share with their family.
In Reception, children continue to develop their knowledge of Letters and Sounds (the comprehensive phonics scheme) and phonological awareness is taught through a daily phonics session.
As well as reading during daily Literacy sessions, children read in a guided reading session at least once a week. Every week, each child takes home a reading book which is at their ability level from recommended reading schemes. Throughout the Foundation Stage, speaking and listening skills are developed through daily story sessions, singing rhymes, role-play, modelling and repeating language and rhymes.
All opportunities are taken advantage of to encourage and develop children’s language, reading and fine-motor skill development. For example through role-play, drama and art.
This development is continued throughout Key Stage One.
We encourage parents to read with their children to encourage them to develop a love for reading for pleasure and books. Support for parents on the pronunciation of sounds, is available on this Letters and Sounds support website.
In Year One children continue to develop their knowledge of writing with Letters and Sounds. The scheme develops phonological awareness during daily phonics sessions in preparation for the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check in June. Through these sessions they further develop their reading and writing skills. Guided reading sessions also take place in class.
More information about the Letters and Sounds scheme used across EYFS and Key Stage 1 can be found here:
In Year Two children who did not achieve the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check continue to develop their phonological awareness through daily phonics sessions in preparation for their reassessment in June. Those children who did achieve the Year 1 Screening Check have a daily Guided Reading session in which they develop their reading and comprehension skills.
All children continue to take home an appropriate reading book from recommended reading schemes. The class teachers are primarily responsible for guided reading with the support of classroom assistants, who also hear one-to-one readers.
Extra reading sessions take place for any children that may need them. We also welcome trained visitors including governors and parents into our school to listen to individual children read on a regular basis.
In Key Stage Two, Guided reading sessions take place daily and children continue to take home an appropriate reading book from recommended reading schemes. In the school Library, we have a comprehensive selection of schemed reading books. When they have completed this scheme they become a ‘Free Reader’ choosing a book from the school or class library.
Our school library stock is frequently monitored and updated by the Literacy Coordinator and every class has a small class library which is updated regularly to ensure that children have access to classic and new publications, that are appropriate to their age and reading ability. Children also have access to quality children’s newspapers and magazines/comics through which they can develop their wider reading skills.
Reading for pleasure is promoted throughout the school through a range of book related events and activities that take place throughout the year. These include celebrations of World Book Day, Roald Dahl Day, Children’s Book Week, author visits to school, theatre trips to see adaptations of classic books and story writing competitions. Children are also encouraged to choose their own book from class libraries in Key Stage 2 to allow children the enjoyment of picking and choosing a book they find appealing.