Home Reading Expectations and 'Strive for 5' Initiative
At Whitby Heath, we rely on parental support with reading at home and believe we need to work in partnership with parents towards this common goal of ensuring children learn effectively and quickly to read. To get children off to a strongest start with reading, support at home must begin early when the children enter EYFS and begin learning their letter sounds. Reinforcement of these letter sounds at home, using resources such as flash cards sent home by the EYFS team, will help your child learn to recognise and read their letter sounds confidently and quickly, so they can move onto practising the important skill of 'blending' to begin reading words. Our aim is to get to get children to this point swiftly to get them off to the strongest start and this can best be achieved by working together, ensuring there is regular practise of reading skills both in school and at home with an adult.
Regular practise of reading skills at home and repeated reading of the same words, using flashcards and decodable phonics books sent home is essential for children to:
* become confident and quick in recognising their letter sounds
* become confident in 'Fred talking' to blend sounds and read words
* begin to recognise words on-sight and build some speed in reading words
* become fluent readers, that read with speed, expression and a good understanding
Flashcards and other resources will be sent home while children are learning their letter sounds and letter formation and when they are learning to blend sounds to read words using 'Fred Talk'. When children can independently blend sounds to read words using 'Fred Talk', they then begin to bring home books. These begin with single, simple words to practise their blending skills and as the children get more confident and speedy with their blending, they progress to books with simple words in simple sentences. As the children begin to read longer words and recognise some words on-sight, the amount of sentences within books and complexity of them increases. Children are regularly assessed at Whitby Heath, to ensure phonics lessons, as well as books read in school and at home are matched to their phonics knowledge and their reading ability. In lessons, they continue to learn new sounds and read new words containing those sounds, with an emphasis on building up speed in reading particular sets of words, but books read at school and at home contain sounds that the children have become recently secure in, to ensure they can read them with confidence, enjoyment, understanding and build up speed, fluency and expression in their reading. At times, when a child faces a particular barrier identified with their reading, the class teacher, may send home particular sets of flashcards, to allow for additional practise in reading these words or sounds, or to help children build up speed with their reading. Printable sets of flashcards, for both sounds and green words, can be found in the 'RWI Resources to Support at Home' page for anyone wishing to utilise these to support with reading at home. If unsure, which flashcards would be most beneficial to use at home with your child, please consult your child's class teacher for advice.
While children are still on the RWI programme and when children move off RWI and read a higher level of book banded books, it is essential that parents/adults at home regularly hear children read decodable phonics books sent home, to reinforce key skills and strategies taught in school and to support their child with developing speed and fluency in their reading. We also ask that parents keep a log of their child's daily reading, in the reading diary sent home with their books, recording the date they read, the title of the book and a brief comment relating to how they read or their understanding of the book. A bank of exemplar reading diary comments can be found HERE, to support with the type of brief comments you can make in your child's home reading diary.
Once children are assessed and it is decided that they no longer require phonically decodable books, they become 'free' readers and are responsible, with guidance from adults in school, for choosing their own reading books for home, children can start to become more independent in reading at home. At this point, it is then the responsibility of the adult at home to ensure regular reading is happening and check understanding of reading by asking questions about what they've read. They also need to ensure children are keeping a log of their daily reading in their reading diary, which comes home with them each day. We suggest it is a good ideas just to check the reading diary weekly to ensure your child is keeping up with logging their daily reading.
Strive for 5' Home Reading Reward System
At Whitby Heath, we strive to read 5 times at home each week. Across the school we are all working hard to read 5 times a week at home. Each week we use the reading diary as a record showing how many times each child has read at home. A 'Strive for 5' reading reward sticker is then stuck in the reading diary and the number of home reads for that week is acknowledged, celebrated and rewarded with 'team points'. We also recognise those children that have hit the target in class and their achievement is celebrated and used to motivate others to 'strive for 5' next week!