Reading with your child
One of the greatest gifts that you can give to your child is a love of reading. Research has shown that one of the biggest indicators of success in a child’s life is whether or not they have books in the home. As a parent, try to focus on making reading fun and enjoyable. There are many, many different things that you can do:
Let your child see you reading - This is a powerful message to send to your child for them to see their parent(s) as a reader and reading for pleasure.
Reading to your child - Bedtime is great but any other time is fine too. Even when children are old enough to read by themselves they will still love to hear you read to them. Reserach has shown that bedtime reading enriches children's vocabulary development.
Talk about what they are reading - Talk before you start. Talk whilst you are reading. Talk after you have finished. You can still talk about what your child is reading even if they don’t want to actually read with you any more.
Praise your child - Studies show that children who are given specific support with their reading make much greater progress if they are given lots of praise than if they are given the support alone.
Paired reading- read a book together with your child; take in turns to read a page each or you model reading a page then your child has a go. Approaching reading as a 'team' can help many children who see reading as an effort. It can also give the adult opportunity to model reading skills e.g using 'voice' and intonation for different characters.
Supporting your child with book choice- when chldren become 'free readers' it is important to support them with finding appropriate rreading material both in terms of content and challenge. Finding a book which interests your child and is challenging but not too challenging can be quite tricky. Libraries are a great source of knowledge and will always support you with this. In school children in Year 4-6 have 'Book Bingo' grids which offer a menu of age appropriate, quality children's literature. Scroll to the bottom of this page to find these grids.
The National Literacy Trust has some fantastic resources for inspiring reading. They also have a dedicated webpage on their Family Zone for all the Young Readers Story Club films. Click on the links below and have a look.
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. At St Andrew’s we use a synthetic phonics approach called ‘Letters and Sounds’. Children are taught in ‘phases’ please see the documents below for the GPCs taught in each phase.
Phoneme: This is the smallest unit of sound in a word.
GPCs: This stands for grapheme phoneme correspondences. This simply means that 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 will learn to blend sounds. This means that they will learn to look at a short word, such as 'tin' and rather than saying three separate sounds 't', 'i', 'n', link the sounds together and say the whole word in one go. This is a big step for many children and can take time.
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.
Digraphs and trigraphs: English only has around 44 phonemes but there are around 120 graphemes or ways of writing down those 44 phonemes. Obviously we only have 26 letters in the alphabet so some graphemes are made up from more than one letter.You may hear your child talking about digraphs and trigraphs, these are simply terms which refer to the number of letters used to make a particular sound. E.g ch th oo ay are all digraphs - graphemes with two letters whereas igh, ear, air are trigraphs- graphemes which are made with 3 letters.
Phase 5a: Children will learn more graphemes and phonemes. For example, they already know ai as in rain, but now they will be introduced to ay as in day and a-e as in make.
Phase 5b: Alternative pronunciations for graphemes will also be introduced, e.g. ea in tea, head and break
Phase 5c children revisit the sounds in groups. E.g all of the possible ways of making the 'ai' sound: a, ai, ay. a-e
Phase 5d children begin to look at some prefixes and suffixes.