READING IS VERY IMPORTANT. Reading  opens up the world of learning to children

Every parent has a vested interest in their child's reading as it holds the key to other areas of learning and life. This interest is heightened when we hear in the press about the decline in reading standards. As a result every parent wants to know how their child is doing with their reading and whether their child has read today or not.

The school will take every step to help your child develop the skills needed to become a confident reader. Parents play an important part in this by encouraging their child and developing a daily routine of reading together using praise and support at all times

IN THE LONG TERM THE AIM IS TO - Develop a passion for reading. Whilst it is important for us to ensure that children can read it is always important to ensure that children do read. Reading should be fun!

We need to help children to see reading as a integral part of learning for life and not just something which is done either at reading time or at home.


Parents have an important role to play in helping their children to become better readers and to enjoy reading. By  sharing books  with your children you are their first teacher. Children who read at home will be helped in their progress and their development.

  • help your child by telling a story through pictures
  • let the child talk to you about the pictures - pictures give  them clues about the story
  • talking to children is important as this is the way they learn
  • encourage your child to give their opinions and explain their own ideas - talking helps to develop reading
  • give your child lots of encouragement and praise - don't get cross if they get stuck
  • if your child wants to read a book again or read an easy book - this will help them enjoy reading and so they will see themselves as good readers
  • comics and magazines can make a refreshing change from story books
  • talk about the cover, the title, the author
  • ask them what might happen next
  • ask them to tell you about the story and the characters -Q.  What part did you like?
  • be patient if they get stuck - help them get clues from the pictures
  • point to the first letter of the word and say it. See if they can guess the word
  • look for little words in big words
  • reading is everywhere - read while you are out - Post Office, Garage,  labels, posters and signs
  • little and often is the best idea
  • by using a library you are introducing them to a wide range of different kinds of books and other materials


Hearing children read is essential to reading development. Part of the importance of this activity is the opportunity it provides for a child to enjoy the uninterrupted time and the attention of an adult. Since such an activity is very precious, it needs to be used so children really benefit from the experience.

Listen carefully so that you can make instant judgements about the nature of mistakes. Reading every word correctly is by no means essential. Always let a child carry on when it still makes sense. If a mistake does not make sense, stop and ask him/her to think again - always encourage self -correction.

If a child is not able to read a word at all: - first of all suggest reading to the end of a sentence and then returning to the unknown word. It is sometimes possible to guess correctly what fits in. If this fails tell him/her the beginning sounds. If this fails tell him/her the word and re - read the whole sentence.

It is helpful for children to read their reading book more than once. After this, children should be able to retell the story, talk about the characters and give opinions as well as read isolated words and find specific key words within the text.


Highfield Primary school’s phonic teaching follows the ‘Letters and Sounds’ document published by the DfE in 2007.  Alongside ‘Letters and sounds’ teachers use ‘Jolly phonics’ to help children with the introduction of sounds. Each child in the Foundation Stage and KS1 receives 25 minutes of direct phonic teaching each day. Children are grouped according to the phonic phase they are working within.

The main reading scheme at Highfield Primary uses ‘Oxford Reading Tree’ books – fiction, non- fiction and phonic based.  It is supplemented by a range of other schemes including Ginn All Aboard, Ginn New Reading 360, Ginn Reading 360 pocket books, New Way, Heinemann- Sunshine spirals and Heinemann – Sunshine books.  All of the reading scheme books have been colour banded.

Children will have the opportunity to borrow a class library book from their first week in school.  During our "Beginning Reading" programme they will choose from a variety of books, including good quality story books, non-fiction books and books from the early stages of several reading schemes. These are books for you to share with your child in a relaxed way.  Initially the adult will often do most of the reading but please let your child take over the reading as confidence grows.  Children will have the opportunity to change books during the week.  Don't worry if they choose to return to favourite stories from time to time. Re-reading

familiar books is very helpful at this early stage of reading development.

We would like you to read with your child each day if possible.  Please send the library book to school each day.  It may be needed for class reading activities.

A reading record book will be sent home with the class library book.  This is a record of the books your child has read.  It is intended for use by staff and parents.  Staff may use it, for example, to give advice about how to share a particular book.  We hope you will use it regularly, for example, to ask any question you have or to let us know how your child responded to a particular book.

At school, during our "Beginning Reading" programme, children will take part in daily reading activities.  These include the group reading of stories from "Big Books"; learning initial letter sounds with their associated action and story; sharing books with adults.  During this period staff will be making informed assessments of children's developing reading skills.

At the right time, children will be introduced to our reading scheme books. Once they are familiar with the characters from the scheme and have learnt a small sight vocabulary, they will bring home a reading scheme book and a library book each day.  At this stage staff will usually listen to children read a few times a week.  When they have

read and understood a book confidently children will be able to take a new book home.  By providing children with wide and varied reading experiences, both inside and outside school.  We aim to support children's development as confident and enthusiastic readers.


Primary classrooms are very busy places with lots going on and children are working on developing their reading skills every day involving a range of approaches and materials.

At Highfield we see the Key Stage 1 classroom as a literate environment, each area of the classroom having a reading perspective  - displays of books, labels, posters, children's writing all helping children to make the links between their ability to read and the ways in which reading can help to get inside other subjects and activities.  We plan time for children to read as a group, time to look at books, listen to stories, listen to tapes, watch TV reading programmes, listen to children read.

The activities children are involved in focus on:

  • words and letters
  • developing meaning
  • Phonics. This is a system of learning based on alphabetical principles and it has both order and hierarchy. In other words, it is usually thought that the sounds made by letters and combination of letters should be learnt in a certain order and that some sounds are more important than others
  • use information books  to develop knowledge of the alphabet and initial sounds, the ability to make deductions about a books content from the title or the front cover, knowledge of indexing, contents listing and chapter headings and sub headings, ability to scan . Selection of "Big Books" which allow discussion to take place in large groups


Every child will approach learning to read differently but for many children some parts of the process are similar or even identical.

Learning to read is an active process.  To help children in the process we use a variety of approaches, which are laid down in the scheme of work. One approach is through READING SCHEMES. The main core scheme is the OXFORD READING TREE, which is well supplemented with other schemes.

1. Reading schemes provide children with:

  • interesting  and meaningful materials
  • developing characters
  • controlled vocabulary
  • repetition
  • short words
  • sentences
  • illustrations
  • developing knowledge of the relationships between letters and sounds and between groups of sounds and words

Young readers need structure to support their early experiences with books. The advantage of schemes is:

  • they provide a clear structure
  • the books are organised into levels
  • they provide teachers with pre planned progression
  • they are helpful to measure childrens progress through the texts
  • there is a related programme of language work which helps to structure writing
  • there are spelling and other reading activities
  • there are resources and backup material
  • the emphasis on a set of characters  which provides familiarity and recognition for children

In introducing the Scheme teachers

  • introduce the characters one by one
  • introduce words from the initial texts and use them in sentences which the children write and talk about
  • read the initial texts with a group of children
  • talk about the books
  • read  the book to the teacher
  • move the child through the scheme with the help of related worksheets and additional work on the relationship of sounds and letters

What happens when a child reads to the teacher

How often does my child read?

Your child will probably read something to the teacher or another adult every day.

This might not always be from her reading book. It may be from your child's own work, a library book, a notice or a worksheet.

Usually your child will read from his/her reading book once a week, although some children may need to be heard more often.

Where and how does my child read?

Your child and teacher will probably sit side by side, reading the book together.

If your child is older or a better reader, they may read as part of a small group of three or four.

Even in small groups like that, the teacher will still be concentrating on the child who is reading at the time.

Why does my child read aloud?

It's a good question because most of the time we read quietly to ourselves. But reading aloud is the best way for the teacher to find out how your child is getting on.

It lets the teacher know what help your child needs or what they should learn next.

It also means that the teacher can help your child to read with expression and fluency.

As children gets older the amount of quiet reading they do will grow and they won't read aloud to their teacher as often.

How does the teacher assess my child?

As your child reads, the teacher will be making notes of their strengths and any areas of difficulty.

This is so that the teacher knows what to teach over the next few sessions, or where more practice will be needed.

The teacher will tell you about your childs reading at parents meetings and other times.

As children get better at reading, they take some reading tests. Reading tests can't test everything about your child's reading, but they do provide some useful information. Records are kept on

  • how often children read to the teacher
  • what books are read
  • termly assessments which include information on strategies used by the child when reading,  the nature of errors made when reading, reading preferences, responses to reading

What if my child has difficulty learning to read?

There is a set procedure for helping children who have difficulty learning.

It is used in all schools throughout the country and is called The Special Educational Needs Code of Practice. The school will be able to tell you all about it.

You can be sure that, if your child is having difficulty, you and the teacher will be in regular contact about the problem and what is being done to help.

Don't worry too much for many children, a little extra help early on is enough to solve the problem quickly.