Phonics and Reading at Mount Hawke Academy
Please also read our page 'What is Phonics? Extra Information'
Our children from EYFS (Class R Mousehole) onwards are taught reading and writing skills through their daily phonics lessons, based on Letters and Sounds. The children are introduced to phonemes and the corresponding graphemes including digraphs and trigraphs throughout the year. At the same time they are taught the skills of blending to read and segmenting to spell. Through interactive games the children are able to read and spell CVC words before progressing to sentences. Through guided writing sessions the children are taught how to put these skills into practice in writing for a range of purposes and on themes which engage them, such as dinosaurs and mini-beasts.
Throughout the school day the children have opportunities to apply these skills in their ‘own learning time’. The children initiate their own activities and read and write in contexts that are meaningful to them, e.g. writing recipes and ingredients in the mud kitchen, labelling pictures, writing cards and stories and writing labels for models they have made.
Reading is an integral part of daily life in school from Year R onwards. This ranges from children’s own individual reading books and library books to share at home with family, to group and class story times with opportunities to discuss characters and predict how stories might end to reading for a purpose to find out information.
At Mount Hawke Academy, our children begin reading using our structured reading system – this is a series of different books, carefully levelled and phonically decodable, with built in progression to meet each child's needs. As our children progress through the texts, they become longer with trickier words and more complicated storylines. In the beginning there are few very words, which enable each child to discuss the picture and learn to read by decoding the words using the sounds they have been taught. By the time our children reach the end of our structured reading system, each child will be a confident, fluent and independent reader.
We ensure that there a variety of different types of books from Collins Big Cat Phonically Decodable Readers. This ensures that each child experiences a variety of books and characters, including fiction and non-fiction as they develop their reading preferences.
Members of teaching staff read regularly with our children, passing on a love of reading, and we also teach reading comprehension explicitly through whole class sessions. Teachers use their assessments to make decisions as to when children are ready to move to the next level of challenge. This is often completed in consultation with parents via our Reading Records - notebooks that link home and school. When our children are ready to move on from the structured books, they will begin to choose books more freely. We recommend ‘quick read’ books at first. These books contain fewer and shorter chapters, helping the children build their reading stamina, and to make the move from learning to read to reading to learn - such an exciting journey.