Reading and Phonics in the Early Years
At Park Walk we feel passionately that fluent, confident reading is key to both academic success and your child’s well-being and happiness. During their time in our Nursery and Reception classes, we will dedicate ourselves to laying the foundations for every child to become a successful reader and writer, as well as encouraging a love of reading and books, which will last a life-time.
Early Reading in the Early Years is taught by targeting both fluent word reading as well as comprehension. Both skills are equally important for children to develop, but require different teaching strategies.
Skilful and fluent word reading is taught from an early age through speedy decoding and recognition of printed words. This is taught during daily, systematic phonics sessions, using the Read Write Inc phonics programme.
Children are split into small groups, to ensure that they receive targeted teaching and support, personalised to their level of understanding. Each day your child will learn new skills to help them on their journey to reading fluently.
In Nursery, the focus of phonics sessions will be on encouraging the children to listen carefully to different sounds, and developing their blending, segmentation and sound discrimination skills, through fun games and exercises.
In Reception, phonics sessions will focus more on teaching letter sounds as well as blending and segmenting skills. Children will be taught to recognise, say and write all the sounds of the alphabet, and additional blend sounds (e.g., sh, th, ay, ee). They will also be taught to blend those sounds together to read words (e.g., h – a – t à hat), and segment the sounds in words, to help them write (e.g., sheep à sh – ee - p). Whilst initially focusing on letter sounds, every child will quickly progress to reading words, sentences and books during each session.
All children will also receive phonics books and phonics homework each week to take home to read and practise with a parent or carer, which will be carefully matched to their skill level, and planned to support what is happening in class.
In addition, every child reads multiple times a week with their teacher and teaching assistant, to ensure their phonics group is matched exactly to their level of skill, and extra booster sessions run daily for children who need more support. Weekly Paired Reading sessions with Year 6 children also offer further reading practise for our Early Years children.
Please check your child’s Class Dojo for tips on supporting your child with their phonics, including a video to help ensure you are pronouncing the sounds as we do in class.
Learning to read is about listening and understanding, as well as decoding letters printed on the page. Comprehension skills are therefore just as important to every young reader, and at Park Walk we teach them by immersing all children in an environment rich in high-quality communication and discussion, story-telling, and role-play, as well as providing daily opportunities for children to practise their budding literacy skills.
Reading to, and with, your child is the best, most supportive, way of building a child’s comprehension, and at Park Walk we are lucky enough to have a bank of quality, engaging story books which we share with our children throughout each day. Through repeatedly hearing carefully selected stories, children are exposed to a wide range of words, ideas and concepts which supports them in building their own vocabulary and improving their understanding of both words and the world around them, all of which is vitally important as they start to read.
Throughout Nursery and Reception, staff develop a love of reading in our children through reading aloud our own favourite stories, introducing children to new high-quality books, as well as re-telling the classics again and again. Children can gain just as much from hearing (and joining in with!) The Very Hungry Caterpillar for the 10th time, as they can from the 1st reading of a new book!
At Park Walk all children will have the opportunity to listen to, and join in with, at least 2 stories each day, and we carefully balance allowing children to quietly sit, listen and absorb a story, with building their comprehension skills by asking them to engage in a discussion with us about the book. To further develop your child's comprehension skills all children will also borrow from our class Book Corners 1 - 2 quality story books each week to share with you at home.
Please also check out our recommended reading list for Early Years, as well as Class Dojo, and the front of your child’s Reading Record, for tips on how you can support your child’s reading and comprehension development at home.