How we teach Reading at Great Berry
At Great Berry the children are taught reading skills from the Early Years Foundation Stage. Each skill is taught to individual needs and although we use the following strategies they are adapted to meet the children’s individual needs of development. The children quickly become skilled confident readers and show enjoyment in developing independent, successful reading skills.
We teach the children Word Reading using a Systematic Synthetic Phonics approach. This first teaches the individual letter sounds (phonemes) and then builds up to blending (synthesising) these sounds together to achieve full pronunciation of whole words. They are taught to pronounce each sound in a word, then to blend the phonemes together to form the word (e.g. /s/ - /a/ - /t/; "sat"). This knowledge can also help the children when spelling the new words they hear by segmenting words into sounds.
The children are taught in a systematic way. They are taught sets of initial sounds (phonemes) and then taught to blend (synthesis) them. These sets build up and become more complex (e.g. they will learn one sound for two letters e.g. /sh/ for the sound shhhh.) The children become confident at identifying the sounds that the letters relate to. The sounds are taught in a specific sequence; as opposed to incidentally or on a 'when-needed' basis.
Alongside these skills to decode words the children are taught sight recognition words (words that don’t lend themselves to the decoding rules). Therefore the children learn the shape and letter combinations for these words. This also facilitates the development of fluency as the reader gains confidence. Comprehension and vocabulary are taught throughout topics, shared stories and discussion during class time and guided reading time.
The school Reading Scheme has been organised to reflect the sounds taught through the phonics scheme (Letters and Sounds). It incorporates a variety of published reading schemes which are then organised into a Great Berry reading scheme, of coloured bands which reflects the progression of sounds and words taught through the various reading opportunities in the school. Initially, the children select their own books from the first coloured bands in the scheme. This is done to encourage the children to develop an interest in books and a desire to take books home to share. The books are from a variety of schemes to allow the children access to as many types of texts as possible. This means that within each of the colour bands there is a range of books that the children have access to.
The children enjoy selecting their own books and using the school library. Reading is celebrated throughout the school and parents are given support and guidance as their child progress through the stages of reading development.
Reviewed by SMT: September 2019