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Reading

Since we came back to school in September we have made reading our focus for the year.  Getting all children reading is our goal and for this reason we haven’t sent home any written homework to give the children enough time to focus on their reading, which is one of the most important skills they learn in primary school. 

Your child's reading experience is much more than the reading book which comes home from school. Reading is happening all the time in a classroom and in the school. It is taught in specific reading and English lessons, but children are practising and using their 'reading' constantly across all subjects too.
Parents can support this 'reading journey' through regular reading at home. Reading to and with your child every evening for at least ten minutes can make a dramatic difference to a child's achievement within school. A report from the Oxford University Press highlighted the importance of parents reading with their children. 'Children who read outside of class are 13 times more likely to read above the expected level for their age'.

The report also offers six tips for reading with your child at home, including:
1. Make time to read- even ten minutes a day
2. Choose different types of books
3. Take turns to read
4. Talk about the book- asking your child questions
5. Pay attention to the language
6. Enjoy reading

More information will be sent home from each class over the next few weeks about how to support your child with reading at home.

Learning To Read At Whitley Abbey Primary School
Children learn to read in different ways and at different ages. The first part of a child's journey towards being a successful reader starts when the child is a baby and is listening to stories and rhymes. This encourages a love of language and stories and develops the child's vocabulary and understanding of language as they start to become familiar with what words mean and what they look like.
A vital first stage of a child's development as a reader is to be able to 'read' pictures and to determine what is happening or to predict what might happen from the pictures in a book. As this skill develops, children become able to use their grammatical  skills to listen to words within a sentence and to make sense of what they can hear. This is an important tool for the young reader as it enables them to make sensible guesses at unknown words within a sentence and to continue to read for meaning without being stopped in their tracks.

Most pre-school children are already reading before they start school; they will be able to read the supermarket sign above the shops they visit frequently, McDonalds, Lego and Disney will be easily identifiable to them too! Whilst your young child won't necessarily be able to identify the letters  and sounds within those words, they read them because they remember the overall shape of the word. At Whitley Abbey we ensure that children have a good range of high frequency words that they identify without having to ask or sound them out so that they can maintain fluency within their reading, which in turn supports a good understanding of what they have read.

Teaching Phonics At Whitley Abbey
In addition to these basic reading skills the teaching of phonics  is a key focus at Whitley Abbey for our developing readers and writers.  We ensure that all children in our Early Years Stage, year 1 and year 2 classes are taught phonic skills through a daily 20 minute discrete phonic lesson. This develops the child's ability to tackle unknown words within a text by blending the phonemes (sounds) within the word. These phonic skills also enable a child to work out the phonemes they will need to use when they are writing words.
The phonic lessons are structured to ensure that children are first able to identify letters and to say the sound those letters make. Once children are confident with saying the single letter sounds and blending them to create words, they then start to learn the common digraphs (where two letters go together to create a new phoneme such as sh), trigraphs (where three letters create a new phoneme such as igh) and spelling patterns that we use within the English language.

At Whitley Abbey, the key objectives in our phonic, reading and writing lessons are that children  are taught to: 

- love books and enjoy listening to stories, poems and rhymes
  • - read and write letter-sound correspondences quickly
  • - decode effortlessly, spell and handwrite easily
  • - comprehend what they read
  • - read with fluency and expression
  • - write confidently using oral rehearsal
  • - work effectively with a partner or within a group to articulate their learning at every step


Our aim is for every child to leave Whitley Abbey Primary School as a confident reader, ready to face the challenges of secondary school and with the best skills to grasp any future career opportunities.   Please contact school if you need any support with encouraging your child to read, we would be very happy to help.

Jules Hall

Headteacher