Reading at Fern Hill
At Fern Hill, we awaken the inner reader in every child. We recognise that learning to read unlocks unlimited possibilities so from their very first day with us in Nursery, our pupils are given the skills to enable them to decode and understand language to ensure that they become independent, confident and fluent readers at the earliest possible stage.
Every one of our pupils will grow into life-long readers who take pleasure in learning from, or escaping in, a great book every day in school and at home. At our school, our children are surrounded by a plethora of engaging, informative, enjoyable and challenging texts across the curriculum and have access to stimulating reading environments which promote and celebrate a passion for reading.
All our children enjoy the pleasure of being read to everyday. They are guided in finding and choosing books that they love as well as being introduced to exciting new authors, poets and topics to broaden and enrich their reading diet.
Throughout our curriculum, our pupils read, comprehend, interpret and respond to texts that inspire them, educate them, enrich their vocabulary, challenge their thinking, make them laugh, make them cry and most importantly, teach them to understand, empathise with and value different cultures, traditions and opinions - real or imagined.
Children take home reading books each week from when they are ready in Reception and then throughout their time with us right up to Year 6. We have a full range of reading books from a variety of different schemes including Pearson Bug Club, Oxford Reading Tree, Read Write Inc and Collins Big Cat, organised by reading level into coloured bands, including fiction, poetry and non-fiction.
Your Child’s Reading Record
Each child has their own Reading Record book. Parents and carers, and our older pupils, are asked to sign the Reading Record every time they read at home and jot down a comment. For parents and carers, comments might be about whether their child found the book easy or difficult to read. Did they struggle with a particular sound or word? Did they enjoy the book? Could they retell you the story, or part of the story? Our older children might like to make a note of how many pages they have read and whether they are enjoying the book and would recommend it to friends. What was interesting about the chapter you just read? Was it funny, or sad, and why? These comments are invaluable to teachers.
We follow the Letters and Sounds Programme to help our children to learn how to read and write. From Nursery to Year 2, children will be taught phonics on a daily basis. Phonics is based on learning the smallest sounds which make up words. For example: sh – o – p
Children learn the sounds then blend them together to read a word. To spell, children are taught to say the word, segment it into the smallest sounds then write it. They are also taught to read (by sight) and spell high frequency words (words that they commonly find in the books they read).
Letters and Sounds Programme
The Letters and Sounds Programme is divided into six phases which children continue to learn throughout the school.
Nursery - Phase One
Phase One supports the importance of speaking and listening and develops children’s discrimination of sounds, including letter sounds.
Nursery and Reception - Phase Two
In Phase 2, children learn to pronounce the sounds themselves in response to letters, before blending them. This teaches them to read simple words and captions.
For example: s – o – ck
Letters: s, a, t, p, i, n, m, d, g, o, c, k, ck, e, u, r, h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss
Reception - Phase Three
Phase Three completes the teaching of the alphabet and moves on to sounds represented by more than one letter (digraphs and trigraphs).
For example: r – ai – n
The children will learn letter names and how to read and spell some high frequency words.
Letters: j, v, w, x, y, z, zz, qu, ch, sh, th, ng, ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er
Reception and Year 1 – Phase Four
In Phase Four, the children learn to read and spell words containing adjacent consonants.
For example: s – t – a – m - p
Year 1 – Phase Five
In Phase 5, the children broaden their knowledge of sounds for use in reading and spelling. They will begin to build word-specific knowledge of the spellings of words.
For example: d – o – n – k - ey
Sounds: ay, ou, ie, ea, oy, ir, ue, aw, wh, ph, ew, oe, au, ey, a_e, i_e, u_e, o_e
Year 2 – Phase Six
Phase Six focuses more sharply on word-specific spellings. It encourages children to become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers.
This includes spelling rules such as adding suffixes ( - est, - ly, - ful, - ness, - ment, - ing) and prefixes (un - , im - , dis - , re - ).
Children are also taught how to make plurals and spell homophones such as blue / blew.