Phonics and Reading

At Milton Primary Academy, teaching children to read is an essential part of our curriculum. We value the importance it has on enabling children to access the whole curriculum and strive to promote a love of reading. As your child moves through the academy, their reading experiences will change to reflect the increasing level of texts they will read. Please read on to discover more.

Early Years

In the Foundation Stage, our focus is on the importance of communication, language and how children can explore the English language. By using a systematic approach to phonics, the children are taught early reading skills and are able to explore this by role playing new texts and having independent and teacher-led activities matched to their class text. Here are some of the ways in which we support our children:

  • Children take part in a daily phonics lesson to build their knowledge of sounds and to learn how to blend sounds together to read words. The phonics programme is called ‘Read Write Inc’.
  • Children bring letter sounds on a key-ring and blending cards home to practise and tricky words.
  • The children are given a reading book that is linked to their reading ability. The children are sent home with picture books to begin with to help with early comprehension skills. When they can blend, they will receive books that are phonically decodable. This will be sent home on a daily basis for you to enjoy some reading time at home with your child. This should be recorded in your child’s reading log.
  • Children are exposed to class reads and oral storytelling to help expand their knowledge.
  • Reading books and activities to promote reading development are available throughout the day for your child to access indoors and out.
  • Secret storyteller is a key initiative that promotes engagement and a love of reading where parents are invited in to school to model reading to the children.
  • Children take home a shared library book alongside their reading book that they can share with their parents all week.
  • We access the Booktime initiative to ensure each child receives two free story books and can become a member of Hanley Library.

Your child can be practising a lot of the skills they need for reading and writing before they come to our academy. They can explore and learn through singing and saying rhymes, making and listening to music, talking, sharing books, using puppets and toys to make up stories.

Speaking and listening are the foundations for reading and writing; they help us to build confident readers and writers. This can be modelled to your child by reading with them and also reading to them. If your child needs help when sounding out an unknown word, help them to sound the word out and model it to them.

Key Stage 1 

In Key Stage One, we recognise the importance of the early mechanics of reading. Texts that are given to each child in class, or that are taken home, are selected to help with their phonics skills, reading fluency and to build up their comprehension skills. Here are some of the ways in which we support our children:

  • Children will have a daily reading session where they complete a mixture of teacher led and independent reading activities. Their progress in reading is assessed, monitored and recorded during these sessions.
  • In Year 2, children move to whole class guided reading which is used throughout the academy from Year 2 onwards. You can find out more about this in our key stage 2 section.
  • Every child in key stage one will be heard reading by an adult once a week. This is to ensure that each child has the right book at the right time.
  • Children also take part in a daily phonics lesson to build their knowledge of sounds and to learn how to blend sounds together to read words. The phonics programme is called ‘Read Write Inc’. Children will be sent home with a set of sounds that can be used at home.
  • We endeavour to give each child the right book at the right time to ensure that the book that they are taking home is matched to their reading ability, phonic knowledge and their comprehension skills. This will be determined by: hearing your child read, phonics assessment and benchmarking in Year 1 and AR Star Testing in Year 2.
  • Children in Year One will receive a book which is phonically decodable based on their assessments and also a book for enjoyment that can be read by parents, family members or siblings. Children in Year Two select their own book matched to their zone of proximal development.
  • Every Wednesday, children have allocated enjoyment for reading time to enjoy a book from home or from the library or the teacher will read their class story.
  • If a child requires additional support with reading, we have targeted interventions that are identified to suit their needs and these will take place over a short period of time.

To help your child in KS1, think about what topics the children enjoy at home.  Another really important way that you can help your child is by sharing stories with them – this might be telling them funny stories of what they did when they were a baby or reading a book with them.

Key Stage 2

In Key Stage Two, we work with the children to foster their love of reading. By helping them to find texts that they can enjoy, to show them the importance of reading in everyday life and by helping them to become more proficient readers, we can help to encourage our children to enjoy reading for life. Here are some of the ways in which we support our children:

  • Children will take part in daily reading sessions where they complete a mixture of teacher led and independent reading activities. These sessions start with a preread of the class text which is sent home as homework on a Friday. On a Monday, the children explore the text, learn about new vocabulary and can ask questions about what they have read. On Tuesday and Wednesday, children answer questions that are based on National Curriculum objectives. On a Thursday and Friday, the children have the opportunity to read a range of different genres and answer retrieval questions based on these texts. Their progress in reading is assessed, monitored and recorded during these sessions.
  • In Years 3 and 4, children will be heard reading by an adult fortnightly and in Years 5 and 6 children will be heard reading by their class teacher twice in a half term. This is to ensure that each child has the right book at the right time.
  • Children will be given the opportunity to develop their reading skills across the curriculum, exposing them to a range of genre types.
  • It is important children read the right book at the right time to secure reading development. Children will be assessed through benchmarking, AR Star Tests, hearing children read, daily assessment in lessons and end of term PIRA assessments. This helps us to support children in making the right choice for them and their stage of development so that their book that they take home is matched to their reading ability and comprehension skills.
  • Accelerated reader is our way of helping children to engage with the books that they are taking home and gives them a purpose to read them as often as possible. This allows the children to see for themselves how much they are understanding of the books that they are taking home. When the children come in to school, they can let a teacher know that they have finished reading their reading book and take a quiz to see how much they have remembered.
  • Every Wednesday, children have allocated enjoyment for reading time to enjoy a book from home or from the library or the teacher will read their class story.
  • If a child requires additional support with reading, we have targeted interventions that are identified to suit their needs and these will take place over a short period of time. Specific assessments are carried out to identify if children need additional phonics sessions due to gaps in phonological awareness or if there is an additional/specific need. The SENCo is consulted as part of this process.

In KS2, still take the time to read with your children. Think about the topics that they enjoy (this could even be football on SkySports) and share things that you may be reading with them. Take a trip to the library – they have fantastic books to borrow for free. Another way to engage reluctant readers is to listen to audio books,  read books based around their interests and show them that you enjoy reading too!

Make the most of everyday opportunities to talk to your child. Talk whilst you’re making the tea, tidying up, putting the shopping away or when you’re on the bus. Tell them what you’re doing, ask them what they can see. Make sure you look at them and show them you’re interested in listening to them. This might not seem important, but it really is!