Phonics and Reading at Mount Hawke Academy
It is essential that our approach to teaching phonics and reading is accessible to all learners, regardless of background.
Phonics (reading and spelling)
At Mount Hawke Academy, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised (this link leads you to the parent pages) which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.
As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At Mount Hawke Academy, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.
Daily Taught Phonics Session
The reading, including the teaching of systematic, synthetic phonics, is taught from the beginning of Reception.
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 read words and to spell words using the corresponding graphemes (the written corresponding sound). The children progress onto digraphs and trigraphs: sounds made up of two letters such as -ch, -sh, -th and three letters, such as -igh, -our.
Our ongoing, 6-weekly assessment of children’s phonics progress is sufficiently frequent and detailed to identify any pupil who is falling behind the programme’s pace. If any child does fall behind, targeted support is given immediately through daily 'keep up' sessions.
Each day in your child’s phonic lesson, they will be introduced to a new phoneme as well as revise previously taught phonemes. They will then be encouraged to recognise and use these phonemes in their reading and writing.
Supporting your Child with Reading
Although your child will be taught to read at school, you can have a huge impact on their reading journey by continuing their practice at home.
There are two types of reading book that your child will bring home in their Book Bag:
A reading practice book (spot book). This will be at the correct phonic stage for your child. They should be able to read this fluently and independently.
Sharing books (star book). Your child will not be able to read this on their own. This book is for you both to read and enjoy together.
Reading Practice Book
This book has been carefully matched to your child’s current reading level. If your child is reading it with little help, please don’t worry that it’s too easy – your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading.
Listen to them read the book. Remember to give them lots of praise – celebrate their success! If they can’t read a word, read it to them. After they have finished, talk about the book together.
In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure. The sharing book is a book they have chosen for you to enjoy together.
Please remember that you shouldn’t expect your child to read this alone. Read it to or with them. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters, explore the facts in a non-fiction book. The main thing is that you have fun!
Ensuring Reading for Pleasure
‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)
‘The will influences the skill and vice versa.’ (OECD 2010)
We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.
- We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at Mount Hawke Academy and our local community, as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.
- Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books.
- Children from Reception onwards have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school.
- As the children progress through the school, they are encouraged to write their own comments and keep a list of the books/authors that they have read.
- We subscribe to Cornwall Education Library Service at Gold Level, giving us regular book exchanges, a wide range of topic books and resources and two visits a year from a librarian to audit and resource our provision.
- Our school library is a wonderful asset, made available for classes to use regularly.
- Children across the school have regular opportunities to engage with a wide range of Reading for Pleasure events, such as book fairs, author visits and workshops, national events...