English

 

Reading at Holmwood

At Holmwood School and Nursery, we promote a love of reading throughout the school day and feel proud that our children are growing to being voracious readers and keen story tellers. This journey begins in Nursery, where the children enjoy a core text each week, from which they are inspired in all areas of the provision. They are surrounded by rich opportunities to develop language, which is the basis for all reading comprehension.

We make a strong start in Reception, by commencing phonics teaching in the first week of school. We use a programme called Read Write Inc to teach letter sounds and blending. From this point, the children work on their decoding skills until they are able to blend sounds into words and then access books that are fully decodable, allowing children to feel success at reading from the very beginning.

Whilst our children are learning to read for themselves, we continue to surround them with rich language, purposeful conversation and a love of stories. At Holmwood, we have adopted a programme called Talk Through Stories, developed by Ruth Miskin. Although Talk Through Stories is for all children, it is especially for those children who need support to extend and deepen their vocabulary so that they can understand the books they will later be able to read for themselves. The stories consist of old favourites, more recent literature and books representing many ethnic backgrounds.

The programme is structured in such a way that children get to know the story really well in Story Week: the plot, the characters, and their actions and motives. In Vocabulary week, we explore eight words from the story, specifically selected to develop children’s understanding of each word in the context of their everyday lives. Once the children know these books really well, they are added to our class book boxes for children to enjoy. Children choose these familiar favourites and share them with their friends, often retelling them over and over again.

As well as our Talk Through Stories programme, we enjoy sharing poetry, traditional tales, non-fiction books and longer classics.

As well as the decodable reading book that is selected to exactly match each child’s phonic knowledge, the children have access daily to a vast range of books that they can take home to share with an adult. These may include a title from the following genres:

  • Familiar Stories
  • Short Stories
  • Adventure Stories
  • Longer Stories
  • Traditional Stories
  • Poetry
  • Non-fiction

Once per week, children are given the opportunity to choose a library book which they can scan in and out using our Junior Librarian software.

 

Phonics

At Holmwood School we teach our children to read using a phonics programme called Read Write Inc. This programme enables our children to make rapid progress in reading. First, they learn one way to read the 40+ sounds and blend these sounds into words, and then they learn to read the same sounds with alternative spellings. They experience success from the very beginning because the Storybooks we read in school are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words. As children re-read the stories, their fluency increases. Along with a thought-provoking introduction, prompts for thinking out loud and discussion, children are helped to read with a storyteller’s voice.

 

In order to support reading at home, bespoke phonic tutorial videos will be sent to parents on a regular basis from our Virtual Classroom. These allow children to practise phonics at home, and help parents to experience exactly how their child is being taught in school.

 

For more information about reading with RWInc, please follow these links: 

Introduction to Daily Phonics Lessons 

How to say the sounds 

Blending the sounds  

 

Vocabulary

We are aware that children join us at Holmwood with a broad range of prior experiences and vocabulary. We have chosen a programme called Talk Through Stories which provides children with the breadth and depth of vocabulary they will need to understand the books they will soon read for themselves, and the conversations and discussion they will have with their teachers and friends.

 

Writing

During RWInc, children write every day, rehearsing out loud what they want to say, before spelling the words using the graphemes and ‘tricky’ words they know. They practise handwriting every day: sitting at a table comfortably, they learn correct letter formation and how to join letters speedily and legibly. Children’s composition (ideas, vocabulary and grammar) is developed by drawing on their own experiences and talking about the stories they read.

Children in Year 2 who have finished RWInc phonics move to RWInc Literacy and Language. This programme teaches children to read, write and discuss texts with maturity. The programme teaches comprehension, vocabulary and grammar through reading and writing both fiction and non- fiction. Children write in a daily log book so writing becomes a habit, recording thoughts, ideas and reactions to the studied text. Thinking and discussion skills are practised through a daily ‘Big Question’ which children debate.

Some of our Year 2 children are invited to a group called Football Writers. This initiative encourages the children to complete weekly writing tasks at home, in order to share them with the coaches from Brazilian Soccer School. In return, the coaches provide these children with a fun football training session!

 

Spelling

All children learn how to spell words using Fred Fingers, from their second week in school! They carry this method throughout school and you can see an example of that here:

Spelling with Fred fingers  

 

Tricky words are taught during RWInc sessions, and children will have a list of these spellings to refer to in their home spelling book, as well as in school. Children in Yellow group and above will be encouraged to remember the spelling patterns for these tricky words.

Children in Year 2 who have finished RWInc phonics move to the RWInc Spelling programme. Although the teaching of phoneme-grapheme correspondence underpins this programme, it also develops children’s knowledge of word families, how suffixes impact upon root words, and provides mnemonics to remember the trickiest spellings.

The teaching revolves around instruction (with the help of online alien characters), partner and group practice, and competitive group challenges that help children commit new words to memory. Children on the RWInc Speling programme bring home log books in which they write the spellings that they have found particularly tricky.

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Reading at Home

We want our children to experience the same success and love of reading that they enjoy at school, at home, too.

With this in mind, we have invested in a range of brand new books that are completely matched to the sounds that the children already know. We call these books our fully decodable reading books, and children will bring one home each day in a plastic bag that has been provided especially for this purpose.

 

Children will be encouraged to read, and re read this book. We would expect children to read this book at least 3 times, each time becoming more confident and fluent so they no longer need to Fred Talk each word. When children are confident with reading the words, they can be encouraged to add expression, like a story teller. Finally, parents can chat about the book together with their child.

 

Children also bring home a sharing book each day. This is a book that is not matched to the children’s phonic knowledge, but instead is a book of the child’s choosing to share with an adult. Children can choose from various genres of text:

  • Familiar Stories
  • Short Stories
  • Adventure Stories
  • Longer Stories
  • Traditional Stories
  • Poetry
  • Non-fiction

Once per week, children are given the opportunity to choose a library book which they can scan in and out using our Junior Librarian software.