Reading and Phonics at Truro Learning Academy
At Truro Learning Academy, our children begin reading using our book band reading system – this is a series of different levels of books each banded a particular colour. Our children will begin at pink level and will progress through the book bands until they are ready to read books chosen from our school library. As our children progress through the colours, the texts become longer with trickier words and more complicated storylines. In the pink level there are few very words, which enable each child to discuss the picture and learn key words. By the time our children reach white and lime green books, each child will be a confident, fluent and independent reader who uses a range of strategies appropriately to establish meaning.
In each book band, we ensure that there a variety of different types of books from a variety of different reading schemes, including Oxford Reading Tree and Project X. This ensures that the child experiences a variety of books and characters, including fiction and non-fiction as they develop their reading preferences.
Members of teaching staff read at least once a week with our children in Group Reading sessions. Teachers will use their assessments to make decisions as to when children are ready to move to the next book band level. This is often completed in consultation with parents via the Reading Records. When our children are ready to move on from the lime green book band, they will begin to choose books from the school library. We recommend that when children are ready to move to library books, they choose ‘quick read’ books. These books are still classed as library books; they contain fewer and shorter chapters, but are progressive from the lime green book bands.
Your role in your child’s success continues to be key. When your child brings home a school reader, please continue to help them with difficult words and phrases that they may find difficult to read or understand. There may be some difficult ideas and themes that they may find difficult to understand that will need unpicking, especially as your child moves to higher levels. As far as possible, children should be encouraged to read independently either to you or quietly on their own. Follow up by asking your child questions about what it is they have read: Who were the main characters? What was the main event? How did the chapter end?
Please click on the documents below for information on how to help your child with reading book band books.
Phonics is the systematic teaching of all the common sounds in the English language (RWI calls these the Speed Sounds). Children are taught to recognise the sounds and to put them together (‘sound blend’ them) into words for reading.
Children are taught one way of representing the 44 main sounds of English first, and then go on to learn the alternative spellings later on.
When teaching the letter sounds, it is important to remember to keep them very ‘pure’ and distinct, to help with sound-blending later on. To enable your child to gain confidence in reading, they should only be asked to read words containing letter sounds they know securely.
Read Write Inc. introduces the simple Speed Sounds (one sound, one grapheme) with Speed Sounds Set 1 and Set 2. They then learn more ways of writing the same sounds with the complex Speed Sounds Set 3. Children are taught letter names before moving on to Speed Sounds Set 3.
Once children know the first set of Speed Sounds, they are ready to read the first Storybooks.