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Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them learn to read. It runs alongside other teaching methods to help children develop vital reading skills and give them a real love of reading, hopefully for life.

At Byron Wood we use Read, Write Inc to teach phonics and early reading. At the core of the programme is the lively and vigorous teaching of synthetic phonics. Children learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and how to sound-blend words for reading (decoding).

As their confidence in decoding develops they are taught comprehension and have the pleasure of reading exciting storybooks perfectly matched to their level so that they have early success in reading.

As children develop fluency in reading, the emphasis of reading lessons shifts to the development of understanding. Children at Byron Wood develop their reading skills in a variety of ways including Guided Reading in groups, individually with members of staff and volunteers and through comprehension work. Children also enjoy listening to stories read by others and they are encouraged to develop a love of books. We use a mixture of reading schemes and real books, all are carefully colour banded and matched to the ability of each child.

Reading is very important at Byron Wood as it opens the door to learning across the curriculum therefore we have introduced Reciprocal Reading into our classrooms.

Reciprocal Reading aims to improve reading comprehension through the use of four reading strategies: predicting, questioning, clarifying and summarising. Teachers will scaffold the four strategies by modelling, guiding and applying the strategies during whole class reading sessions. This will enable all pupils to:

  • reflect on their own reading
  • develop higher order thinking skills
  • use the social nature of learning to improve reading comprehension (speaking and listening)
  • access other areas of the curriculum as skills learned are transferable

Reciprocal Reading will be used with whole class teaching, with smaller groups of children and where children are working independently.

We are teaching our children to write using a cursive handwriting style. This means that the letters all start on the line, and have ‘entry’ strokes and ‘exit’ strokes. This style of handwriting means that children do not need to re-learn letter shapes when they are taught to join in KS2. It helps children to learn spelling patterns and we hope it will give them an attractive flowing handwriting style which is an important life skill.