Reading

Learning to read is probably the most fundamental academic skill your child will learn at school.

Here we have included information and resources to help you understand the reading work that is undertaken in school, and how you can help your child at home.

Children are introduced to reading through the Oxford Reading Tree scheme which leads them into using the Accelerated Reader.

Accelerated Reader

Accelerated Reader (AR) is a progress monitoring software system used widely by primary and secondary schools for monitoring reading.

How does it work? Your child will take a 'Star Test' 3 times a year; this will give your child a 'Reading Range', for example 2.9-4.2. Your child then starts at the first level, chooses an appropriate book and reads it at school and at home. They then take a 'Reading Practice Quiz' (RP Quiz) on the computer, ideally as soon as possible. These quizzes measure comprehension and are motivational because they ensure a successful, positive experience if the student reads a book at an appropriate level. The lower level quizzes start at 5 questions and progress through 10 questions to 20 questions. It is expected that all children will score 85% in each test regardless of the book level they are working at. Your child receives immediate results from the quiz (% and number of questions answered correctly); they also have the option to review incorrect or missed questions.

Shorter books carry less 'points' than longer books. (So trying to read more 'shorter' books does not score any faster!) Your child's reading is monitored weekly.

How to help your child

Read with your child daily.  If you have English as an additional language you can read books in your home language too.

Ask questions about what they have read, this will help prepare them for taking the quiz.

Encourage your child to read fiction AND non-fiction.

Take ANY opportunity to read with your child. Not just their reading book from school, but books from libraries, websites, timetables, signs and posters when out and about.

Children who see their parents reading for pleasure are far more likely to develop a positive reading habit of their own.

 

Phonics

At Rose Hill we use the 'Letters and Sounds' phonics scheme developed by the Department for Education. 

So what is phonics?

Words are made up from small units of sound called phonemes. Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word. This helps children to learn to read words and to spell words

In phonics lessons children are taught three main things:

  • Graphemes and Phonemes?
    Put simply, the graphemes are the letters, the shapes we write, while phonemes are the sounds those letters make.

    Children are taught all the phonemes in the English language and ways of writing them down. These sounds are taught in a particular order. The first sounds to be taught are s, a, t, p.
  • Blending
    Children are taught to be able to blend. This is when children say the sounds that make up a word and are able to merge the sounds together until they can hear what the word is. This skill is vital in learning to read.
  • Segmenting
    Children are also taught to segment. This is the opposite of blending. Children are able to say a word and then break it up into the phonemes that make it up. This skill is vital in being able to spell words.

What makes phonics tricky?

In some languages learning phonics is easy because each phoneme has just one grapheme to represent it. The English language is a bit more complicated than this. This is largely because England has been invaded so many times throughout its history. Each set of invaders brought new words and new sounds with them. As a result, English only has around 44 phonemes but there are around 120 graphemes or ways of writing down those 44 phonemes. We only have 26 letters in the alphabet so some graphemes are made up from more than one letter.

ch; th; oo; ay (these are all digraphs - graphemes with two letters)

There are other graphemes that are trigraphs (made up of 3 letters) and even a few made from 4 letters.

Another slightly sticky problem is that some graphemes can represent more than one phoneme. For example 'ch' makes very different sounds in these three words: chip, school, chef.

Resources for supporting your child's phonics learning at home

Glossary of 'phonics-speak' your child may use!

Oxford Owl - Oxford Owl Reading offers lots of resources for helping with phonics as well as reading in general.

PhonicsPlay - Lots of games to play for each of the different stages of learning phonics.