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Phonics and Early Reading


Phonics at Oaktree


At Oaktree Nursery and Primary School, early reading is taught using phonics (mainly synthetic) as the main approach to reading. We follow the Letters and Sounds document, which sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills. This starts in Early Years and we aim for children to be fluent readers by the end of Year 2.

Pupils are systematically taught the phonemes (sounds), how to blend the sounds all through the word for reading, and how to segment the sounds in order to write words. They are taught to use their phonic skills and knowledge as their first approach to reading, but are also taught high frequency words which do not completely follow the phonic rules.

High frequency words are sent home weekly for children to learn.

Throughout Reception and Key stage 1, phonics is taught in ability groups of various sizes so that the teaching is closely matched to the needs of all children.


Reading at Oaktree


We have a wide range of reading scheme books to support the early development of reading. All our early reading books are number banded in reception and colour banded in Key Stage 1. Children are given 3 reading books a week, parents are asked to read these with their children and to sign their home – school reading diary. Children are assessed in order to match the right band to their reading abilities so reading can be practiced at home with confidence. The majority of books within the early book bands can be decoded using phonics skills and knowledge. At the very early stage of learning, children will practice telling stories through pictures and progress to following a text with their finger, while an adult reads a story.

In Key Stage 1, book marks are sent home with suggestions as to how parents can support their children with reading, through questioning.

Children also take part in regular guided reading sessions in ability groups in order to teach decoding and higher order reading skills such as comprehension and inference.

Those children who are not making expected progress in reading or, who are finding it difficult to maintain progress are given extra support through interventions such as reading recovery or better reading partners.

We encourage pupils to develop a love of reading.  All classrooms have attractive reading areas with a range of quality texts. Children in Key Stage 1 also have access to a shared reading area. Teachers read stories for enjoyment and we regularly encourage interest in reading through book topics and whole school book events.