Children will continue to learn to read using phonics. Children will still be learning letter sounds for reading and spelling, but these will become more complex. For example, they will look at the same sounds but with different spelling patterns, such as long vowel sounds, e.g. ai, ay, a-e. It’s valuable to help them with these sounds at home when you are reading together and reinforce the letter sounds from the previous year so that children start to automatically apply their phonic skills when reading unfamiliar words. Children are also expected to recognise some tricky words by sight and we call these sight words. They will continue to build up a bank of tricky sight vocabulary. In the Summer term of Year 1 they sit a statutory phonics screening check to ensure they are making good progress in the basic phonic skills. For more information about phonics please see the section on the class page titiled 'Information about Phonics in Year 1'.
Children also draw on their own experiences (the language and stories they know), the setting of the story and the pictures to help them understand what they are reading about. Comprehension skills are vital in making sense of what the words say and interpreting meaning. You can help your child to develop these skills by asking lots of questions about what they are reading as this will help them to understnad the story on a different level and broarden their reading skills.
What books has your child brought home to read?
You will notice that your child will have two reading books and a free choice book. One of the reading books is their benchmarked level book(with a coloured number sticker) and one is a phonics book based around the phase and sound we are learning in class. The phonics books are important as in Year 1 a big focus is upon our phonics skills and how we blend, segment and recognise those tricky phonemes. The free choice book is a book your child has chosen from the classroom box to share with you at home, it was their choice on which book to choose, they may not be able to read it yet but may enjoy it if you read it to them and talked about the pictures and the story with them. There are plenty of opportunities for the children to change their reading books at school and we read with each child on a 1:1 basis at least once a week.
At school, your child will have a benchmarked level book (mentioned above) which they bring home to read with you. These books are given based on the two reading skills mentioned above, thier phonics/word reading and their comprehension/understanding of a text. We take a sample of each level and test your child's phonics/word reading and their comprehension of the text they have just read. We then make the judgement against their level by deciding if their phonics/word reading and their comprehension match the level for that book band and adjust accordingly until we find a level that is either too hard phonetically or they can not understand the comprehension questions. You may feel the book is too easy for your child, however if this is the case it may be that their comprehension skills are not as developed as their phonics/word reading skills and this is solved by asking lots of questions to help them understand what they are reading as this is just as important as reading the text. You will receive exapmples of these types of questions in the form of a bookmark which you can slot into your child's book to remind you to ask them as you are reading and discuss the text with them.
As parents/carers, you can make the biggest difference to your child’s success as a reader by encouraging your child to read as much and as widely as possible at home. Reading with your child every day, even just for 5 minutes, can make all the difference to their progress. It’s really important to read as much as possible with your child. Read the books that come home from school, borrow library books, buy books and magazines. Read signs and notices, and find interesting websites to read. And keep reading together at bedtime too!
The below website from Oxford Owl has some great tips on things to try whilst reading with your child: