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At Mason Moor we use the 'Letters & Sounds' programme to teach early reading. 

We ensure that all children in our Nursery, Reception and Year 1 classes are taught phonic skills through a daily 20-minute 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. Year 2 will continue with daily phonics sessions for those groups or individuals which require more support.

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.

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

Practising Reading - Matching books to the sounds being taught!

To ensure fidelity to our phonics curriculum - our pupils read texts that are fully-decodable at their current sound knowledge and learning. Therefore, every child can practise to develop fluency in reading. It makes sure that there is an agreed programme of texts we know and expect our pupils to read!


What about the lowest 20% of readers across the school?

Some children do not learn to read at the same rate or in the same way as their peers. It's more common than you think for a minority of pupils to struggle with phonics (blending sounds to create letters and words). 

Did you know - our Headteacher - Mr Constable-Phelps has dyslexia. He struggled with reading and writing as a child too. 

Where there are concerns over a child's ability to decode texts using phonics, we may speak to you about additional support strategies and diagnostic tests to ensure there are no further/underlying causes.


Providing to support to those who struggle to read

We have established systems to support the lowest 20% with improving their reading over time. We recognise that the best way to improve reading is through expert help rather than somebody without the skills trying to intervene. 

Support structures How does this work?
  • For those pupils who we believe phonics to be the best way forward, we have ensured that every teacher at Mason Moor is trained in using Letters & Sounds.  That means that whatever the year group - all children have access to a teacher trained in understanding how to deliver phonics interventions. Our TAs only support KS1 classes and those doing well. 
Pupils have additional phonics and reading delivery during the week. This is timetabled by the Year Group leader and takes place during an afternoon non-core subject. We ensure that children still have access to the knowledge and skills missed in the session - but recognise the need for children to read to access the whole curriculum!
  • Reading therapy groups - additional reading to an adult (volunteer, teacher, leader) who is trained in the mis-cue approach.
Reading regularly and out loud is vital to ensuring success. We expect every child to read for 15-20 mins per evening - but we know some do not. We monitor reading in each class - and work with parents and carers. However, where we see a deficit in the child being encouraged to read - this is picked up in school.

Reading Expectations - Please help your child!


Top tips for encouraging reading:

  • Read yourself! It doesn’t matter what it is – pick up a newspaper or magazine, take a look at a cookery book, read a computer manual, enjoy some poetry or dive into a romance or detective novel. And get your children to join in – if you’re cooking, could they read the recipe?

  • Give books as gifts. And encourage your children and their friends to swap books with each other – it’ll give them a chance to read new stories, and get them all talking about what they’re reading.

  • Visit the local library together. It’s always fun choosing new books to read, and keep an eye out for special author events at the library or local bookshops – children love meeting their favourite authors. 

What should I write in my child’s reading record?

Listed below are some comments which may help you when writing in your child’s Reading Record Book to describe how your child has read at home. It is important to record both positive and developmental comments:

  • Read familiar words independently

  • Able to predict what happens next in the text

  • Read with good expression

  • Showed good understanding of the text

  • Worked out new words independently

  • Worked out new words by sounding them out

  • Struggled to concentrate

  • He/she made a number of errors because he/she was not looking carefully enough

How often should my child read?

Your child should read every night as part of the home-school agreement and to ensure that they are developing their fluency - which is their ability to read with speed, accuracy, expression and precision.

We know that children who do not read every night do not develop a love of reading and this can prevent them from accessing the curriculum and achieving well in life.

We recommend that children read for 15-20 minutes each day.