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Reading and Phonics at St Mary's

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Reading and Phonics in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2

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In EYFS / KS1, you may have noticed that we have an exciting new reading scheme. This reading scheme is designed to help your child’s progression in phonics.

At St Mary’s, we follow Letters and Sounds for phonics. This provides a set order for children to learn their sounds. The books were written to follow this order so that your child can read books that are fully decodable. This means that they should be able to read their books by themselves by sounding out each word.

We ensure that the book is fully decodable for your child by following an assessment. Your child will be regularly assessed to see which sounds they know and where their gaps are. Another part of the assessment checks if your child can segment* and blend**, a key part of reading. They will only move up book band if they know the sounds within that level and they can confidently segment and blend words containing these sounds.

Your child will keep their book for a week. This allows them the time to become confident and read their book independently. By reading the same book multiple times, your child will develop fluency and confidence in their reading. They are also more likely to understand the book.

So far we have seen amazing progress, a growth in independence and most importantly more children showing an enthusiasm to read. We have been so impressed with the impact these books have had on the children so far and we hope you feel the same!

If you have any questions, your child’s teacher will be more than happy to help.

*segment:  the ability to break words down into individual sounds. For example, the learner breaks the word run into its component sounds – r, u, and n.
**blend: putting the individual sounds back together to make the word e.g. r-u-n blended is run.

Reading and Phonics in Years 3,4,5,6

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Like EYFS and KS1, you may have noticed that we have an exciting new reading scheme- Collins Big Cat. For KS2, the Collins Big Cat books are designed to give all children the opportunity to read a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts.

Beginning at copper band for Year 3, and going up to Pearl band for Year 6, KS2 have set colour bands for the different year groups. The books within the colour bands are appropriately pitched for each age group. Therefore, unlike EYFS and KS1, movement between colour bands occurs when a child changes year group.

For KS2 children, the focus with the Big Cat texts is on text comprehension and thus children are encouraged to access a wide range of texts from their year group’s colour band. For children with gaps in their phonic knowledge, intervention books will be used to support their decoding skills. These, once again, will be pitched to a child’s age group to ensure that they are reading genres suitable for them. To encourage and challenge those children working above age related expectations in reading, each KS2 year group has an additional set of colour banded books pitched for those working at a greater depth level.

Reading a range of literature is essential for becoming confident readers. However, we also place a big focus on encouraging a love of reading. Children should select texts to read alongside the Big Cat Scheme that appeal to them. To aid children with this, we have devised a list of ‘200 Books to Read before You Leave St Mary’s.’ This list is compiled of a mixture of classic and modern texts to support the children in accessing fantastic literature! KS2 children will be given two books to read- one from the Collins Big Cat colour bands and one book of their choosing.

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