At Marish, our aim is to make children into lifelong readers with a love of books because children who love reading do well at school. On the way, they have to pass tests and assessments in reading, and use reading as a way of getting information about a variety of subjects. It is a fundamental skill that everybody needs.
We teach children to read using carefully selected books, with lesson in phonics to support their understanding of how letters and words work. It is not possible to decode all the words in the English language using phonics, and we would read very slowly if we did, so we teach children to think about what they are reading – what is happening in the story and if the sentence makes sense. We also teach them to read fluently and with expression.
In the early years, we use carefully graded books. At level 1, the books have a repeating sentence with a clear picture to support the meaning. As the children learn to read a few words, the difficulty of the books increases in small steps. We carry out regular assessments to make sure that all children are reading books at the right level. The books come from a variety of publishers but our main scheme is Oxford Reading Tree with the adventures of Biff, Chip, Kipper and Floppy.
Once children can read independently, we use an on-line assessment system (Renaissance Place) that encourages the children to take a quiz after each book they have read. If they get all the questions correct, they receive a small prize.
Helping your Child with Reading
Here are some practical ideas for how you can help your child at home.
The aim is to make reading an enjoyable experience for both of you and to help your child with reading, not test them, and to help them come to a love of reading.
Explain what the book is about and look at the pictures. Discuss any tricky vocabulary, making sure he understands any new words, as well as being able to read them.
If your child is anxious about reading, it is perfectly acceptable for you to read the book to him first. This helps them to hear the phrases and language in the book before they try to read it.
If your child is reading simple books with up to 10 words per page, they should point to the words as they read. Once they can follow the text with their eyes, they do not need to point, but may choose to do so at a tricky bit.
Prompts and praise
“Well done, you had a go”
“Well done, you used expression”
“Good, you corrected yourself”
“Good try, but did it make sense?”
“Good try, but did that sound right?”
“I like how you re-read that bit to check you understood it/got it right”
“Let’s try reading that word again”
What if they get stuck?
“What is the first letter?”
“What would make sense?”
Ask a question specific to the book “What did Dad say?”
Or …tell them the word – then they can carry on with the story.
Discuss the story and go back to a sentence the child read well and praise them.