Reading In Reception

How do we teach reading?

The five basic skills for reading and writing are: 

– Learning the letter sounds 

– Learning letter formation

– Blending

– Identifying sounds in words (segmenting)

– Recognising and Spelling the tricky words 

  • We follow the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme of teaching (DfES) 
  • We use Read Write Inc letter formation for writing rhymes 
  • We use Jolly Phonics songs for action rhymes
  • We build on children’s learning what they already know. 
  • Each day we teach phonics and session are of direct teaching and children are at some point are in groups so that they can be supported and challenged appropriately 
  • Phonics teaching is applied through our Literacy work and promoted in children’s independent challenges 
  • Phonics is taught in phases and Phase 1 – Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting. 
  • Phase 2 – Learning the letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions. 
  • Phase 3 – The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch–oo–th- representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the “simple code”, i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language. 

Order of teaching 

  • The order in which the sounds are taught means that children are able to build up, read and write simple 2 letter words right from early on. 
    • Letter sounds are taught in sets and will usually be taught over 1 week
    • The letters have not been introduced in alphabetical order. So that they make more simple three-letter words.  The letters and are introduced in different groups to avoid confusion.
  • Set 1: s- a- t- p 
  • Set2: i-n-m-d 
  • Set3: g-o-c -k 
  • Set4: ck- e-u-r 
  • Set5: h-b-f-ff-l-ll-ss
  • Set6: j-v-w-x 
  • Set7: y-z-zz-qu 

Tricky words 

The children are also taught to read some ‘tricky words’ by sight. Tricky words these are ones that don’t follow the phonic rules and can’t be ‘sounded out’ 

• Phase 2: I, to, the, no, go, into

Letters and Sounds Phase 2 Tricky Words › resources › p2tricky

• Phase 3: he, she, me, we, be, was, my, you, they, her, all, are 

Phase 3 tricky words for DfES Letters and Sounds Programme › resources › p3tricky

If children come across any tricky words these in their reading books they are encouraged to remember them and read them by sight. 

Blending and segmenting 

  • Blending is what we call ‘sounding out’. The children say each sound of a word, then put it all together to hear the word. In the early stages of reading, it often helps to encourage them to say the first sound a little louder. E.g: c-a-t = cat / h-o-p = hop / s-u-n = sun

·     Segmenting is the key phonic skill of writing. To write a word, a child needs to ‘sound it out’ first. This sounding out process is segmenting. It is splitting up words into sounds. 

  • Segmenting is what the children do to spell a word. It is the opposite of blending.
  • Segmenting in phonics is the ability to separate a word into its sounds. Technically the sounds are called phonemes, the units of sound that make up language. Practically speaking, to segment the word hot’, you would split it into its three phonemes – h-o-t.
  • To a lesser extent it is used in reading also. Sounding out a word by reading the sounds is also a kind of segmenting. A big skill is in oral segmenting – i.e. doing it through sound. You hear a word like ‘dog’, and you can split it up into ‘d-o-g.’

When children are confident knowing the sounds and names of individual letters we move onto teaching digraphs/trigraphs. At this point, the children learn the rules that “2 letters make 1 sound” and that “when 2 vowels go walking, the first one does the talking” 

  • ch ar 
  • sh or 
  • th (2 sounds) ur 
  • ng ow 
  • ai oi 
  • ee ear 
  • igh air 
  • oa ure 
  • oo (2 sounds) er 

Learning through play 

• We often use games and other fun activities to teach and practice phonics/reading.

Set One sounds | Phase 2 Phonics | s a t p sounds … – BBC

Tricky words | Phase 3 Phonics | Phonics song – BBC Bitesize

Helping your child 

  • In the early stages, children will need to read familiar books a number of times to be sure of the words, character names and order of events. Allowing them to do this is a really good way to develop the understanding that the words on the page always say the same thing and that there is a direct correspondence between the letters and the sounds they make. 
  • Always encourage your child to use their ‘finger’ to track the text and to jump over the spaces. This is vital in them understanding the 1:1 match between what they are saying and the words they are pointing to. 
  • Help your child to sound out (blend) the words they are unsure of. They may need you to repeat the sounds back to them before they can ‘hear’ the whole word. 
  • If there is a ‘tricky’ word, encourage your child to remember it. If they can’t, just tell them! It may be one we haven’t taught yet. 
  • If your child is confidently sounding out each word and then saying it, move them onto the next step by encouraging them to do the blending silently in their head and saying the word straight out. This will help them to develop fluency and will then lead on to other strategies they can use (eg, using the ‘sense’/context of the sentence to predict or guess a word) 
  • Children usually have individual reading diaries and books to take home, however, due to the COVID situation children’ home reading will be online with Oxford Owl of which you will be given login details; we will also be communication with you weekly via email.  
  • We will set what sounds / words your child needs to practice week.
  • At school we will be sharing books individually with children each week and your child will have a set reading day and this will be alternate weeks with the teacher and teacher assistant. 
  • Reading should be fun! 
  • An enjoyment of books is one of the greatest gifts we can give children!!