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Eden Academy Trust

Eden Academy Trust is a Multi-Academy Trust consisting of primary schools in Hartlepool, England.

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Reading and Phonics

How children learn to read at Bluebell Meadow Primary School

At Bluebell Meadow we believe that children grow as readers in an environment rich in literature.

From two to eleven years old pupils have access to a wide range of age-appropriate books in their classrooms.  Book corners have been created where children can browse books at their leisure, spend time in more extended reading and share favourite texts with friends.  At every opportunity, educators enrich on-going topics and events by reading stories and sharing non-fiction texts with children.  Older children engage in extended studies of longer novels through a range of drama, discursive and written tasks while younger pupils respond to texts through role-play, small world scenarios and music.

Children begin to learn to decode when they enter the Nursery programme at two or three years old.  They listen carefully for units of sounds in words using activities from the Letters and Sounds programme Phase One.  They enjoy playing with words and language and build a repertoire of songs and rhymes.  They are exposed to print in the school and wider environment and may begin to recognise words of personal significance.  They share predictable texts and begin to join in with repeated phrases and anticipate the development of the narrative.

As children move into the Reception programme, they explore and secure their understanding of grapheme-phoneme correspondence through Letters and Sounds Phases Two, Three and Four.  Through daily whole class and small group activities, they use their knowledge of sounds to tackle new words.  This learning is reinforced through regular practice with phonologically decodable texts such as the Songbirds, Floppy’s Phonics and Read Write Inc materials.  Children also build their sight vocabulary through exposure to repetitive texts such as the Oxford Reading Tree stories.

This continues throughout Key Stage One.  As decoding becomes more fluent and sight vocabulary expands children tackle a wider range of text styles, sharing and discussing both fiction and non-fiction books.  They learn to use textual signposts to navigate texts and books more independently.  They consolidate their phonological decoding skills through Letters and Sounds Phases Five and Six.

In Key Stage Two children are exposed to texts of increasing length and complexity.  They look for links between books and authors and approach their reading more analytically.  They continue to develop preferences for genres and authors.  They learn to identify more sophisticated language devices and acquire new vocabulary.

For more information about the teaching and assessment of phonics please see our Phonics page