How we teach Reading at Selling School
Reading is closely linked to phonics. As the children learn the sounds of letters, they are able to piece together words, initially the consonant- vowel-consonant words and slowly and surely more and more complex words.
A child's ability to decode is tested in Year 1 when they sit a phonics test which tests them on sounding out nonsense words (see phonics for information about this test).
To be a good reader a child needs to know how to get the most out of a book. This means not only reading the words, but also the pictures and expressions on peoples faces. Often children are better technical readers at first, which means they can read the words and the understanding and comprehension comes later. Inference is a skill that is taught during guided reading sessions and is a hard skill to learn.
An example question would be:
Ben's mother looked at the kitchen floor, there were muddy foot and paw prints across it and small pools of water where Floppy had had a good shake.
What is the weather outside?
The answer would be rainy, due to the clues in the text, but often children say 'I don't know, it doesn't say'.
This is a skill that needs to be taught and rehearsed. Often when a child has learnt to master the technical side of reading, it is easy to leave them to read but there is still a lot they can learn from the text rather than what is there in black and white.
At school there are daily readers and guided reading sessions. A daily reader practices the technical skills of reading, the sounding out and breaking down words with a small amount of inference and comprehension work. The practice of daily reading becomes less as a child moves up the school, as they generally need less help decoding. It is in the guided reading session that the skills of questioning, inference, summarising, and clarifying are taught. These occur in small groups of children who are at the same level in reading and have similar pace and reading techniques. Children are encouraged to think about texts and respond to a series of questions or complete activities on what they have read. At Selling School we use a wide range of books that are levelled so that we can pitch the work correctly. For daily readers we use a range of schemes as when only one scheme is used there can be a danger of limited vocabulary or style. The main schemes we have in school are the Oxford Reading Tree, (Advice for parents) Ginn 360 and the Sunshine series.
How can I help at home?
Children love routine, and reading is something that you and your child can look forward to every day. By taking the time to read with your child, you show him or her that reading is important and fun to do. It doesn’t always have to be books or school books. Reading magazines, signs, list etc. all use the same skills. Some children love fiction others non fiction. Talking about what they have read is just as important as reading them. Discussing a story or a book with your child helps your child understand it and connect it to his or her own experience of life. It also helps enrich your child's vocabulary with new words and phrases.
Ten ideas to help with reading at home
1. Draw a picture of your favourite part of the book and add speech or thought bubbles.
2. Draw your favourite character and explain to someone why they are your favourite.
3. Imagine you had to interview someone from this book, write down three questions you would ask them.
4. Draw a picture of a setting in the book
5. Complete a book review.
6.Pretend you are one of the characters from the books - write a diary for the day.
7. Write a letter to a friend telling them about the book - why should or shouldn't they read it.
8. Make a word search using key words from the book.
9. Make a family tree to show the relationships between the characters within the book.
10. Create a story board of the characters within the book.
- Example questions you may want to use when reading
- How to help your child with reading
- An age appropriate recommended booklist