The government strongly recommend the use of synthetic phonics when teaching early literacy skills to children. Synthetic phonics is simply the ability to convert a letter or letter group into sounds that are then blended together into a word.
Here at Outwood Primary Academy Newstead Green, we are using the ‘Letters and Sounds ‘programme to get children off to a flying start with their literacy. Letters and Sounds is a method of learning based upon letter sounds and phonics, and we use it to aid children in their reading and writing.
Reading opens the door to learning. A child who reads a lot will become a good reader. A good reader will be able to read more challenging material. A child who can read more challenging material is a child who will learn. The more a child learns, the more he or she will want to find out.
Using Letters and Sounds the children learn to read effortlessly so they can put all their energy into comprehending what they read. It also allows them to spell effortlessly so they can put all their energy into composing what they write.
The children are assessed regularly and grouped according to their ability. They will work with a Letters and Sounds trained teacher or teaching assistant. In addition to the Letters and Sounds, children will also be working on writing skills in their classes with their own teacher.
The Phonics Co-ordinator at Outwood Primary Academy Newstead Green is Mrs Kirman. If you have any questions or need any guidance on the programme, please pop into the school office or give them a call and they will arrange an appointment for you.
Useful websites and leaflets for more information
• Phonics Play
This is a website we use frequently in school. There is a special parents section on the homepage that has information on phonics and lots of interactive games you can play with your child.
• A little reading goes a long way – 5 to 7 years
This link gives ideas about how to help your child as they are learning to read.
• Talk to Your Baby
This website provides lots of information for parents and carers of babies and young children, and suggestions of activities, features, DVDs, books and events that are both useful and fun. You can have their free newsletter emailed to you directly.
• Family Reading
The Family Reading Campaign website provides lots of information to support you and your family. The Family Reading Campaign works to encourage reading in the home. There are also many links to other websites.
When children start in Reception, they bring home a free reading book of their choice which is simply a book to be enjoyed at home with you. Once they are ready and have completed the first two word walls, your child will bring home a reading scheme book. Throughout Reception and Key Stage One, specific letter sounds and words are sent home to practice.
Our home reading scheme books are Oxford Reading Tree and Project X. Both the Oxford Reading Tree and Project X books begin at lilac and end at lime. Once your child is ready/lime books are completed, they become a free reader and can bring home any book of their choice.
Oxford Reading Tree: These books are to consolidate your child’s reading and build on their fluency.
Project X: These books are phonics focused, which match your child’s current phase in phonics.
Accelerated Reader is used from Year 2- Year 6 in school. The children read a book matched to their current reading age and then complete the comprehension quiz online. All classes have Accelerated Reader displays, which show the current word count for each child and their overall class total. We also hold an end of year celebration assembly and award book vouchers for our highest boy and girl word count in each year group.
Throughout school we use reading characters to support the eight strands of the curriculum (A-H). Please see attached the character reference sheet, which can be used to prompt discussions when reading with your child at home.