At Mellor St. Mary's Primary School the principal approach to teaching reading is through systematic synthetic phonics. We establish a partnership between home and school, whereby parents can support their child with their reading through a range of books from a variety of reading schemes. The core SSP Phonics / Reading scheme in place is Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS), a validated Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) scheme from Oxford University Press which links directly to our Oxford Reading Tree books and supplemented with Oxford Owl online/electronic reading books. Pupil reading books focus on decoding words which include common phonemes and unfamiliar phoneme patterns so that they can read with fluency and accuracy. Once fluency and accuracy becomes automated, children then move on to real books usually chosen from a selection of genres from their class and school libraries. These books challenge reading stamina, reading comprehension and most importantly develop a love of reading which lasts a life time.
The importance of understanding the story or information in a book is always emphasised and the vital aspect of loving and enjoying books and reading is highlighted above all, so children want to learn to read and have a thoroughly rewarding experience.
What is Phonics ?
Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) means that children learn to read and write, not only by knowing an individual letter phoneme (sound) or shape (grapheme), but also by knowing that phonemes and graphemes can combine to make new phonemes within words.
The letter combinations are taught at brisk pace in throughout Foundation Stage and Year 1 and reinforced along with spelling patterns in Year 2, so that children can apply them to work out a wide variety of words while still in the early years of school.
At our school, all children in Foundation Stage and Year 1 follow structured teaching in Systematic Synthetic Phonics through the the Essential Letters and Sounds programme.
In Foundation Stage children are taught individual letter sounds which can be blended and segmented to read and write simple words, thus becoming independent readers after the first initial letters are taught. This is then built on through the teaching of phonemes, diagraphs and triagraphs towards the middle and end of Reception through into Year 1, so that children can read and write both familiar and unfamiliar phonetic word patterns.
At the end of Year 1, all children take the National Phonics Check Assessment. Some children may also sit this assessment at the end of Year 2.
For those children who need additional help and support to develop their phonological understanding, small support groups is used to reinforce class learning.
There are so many ways that you can add to what you learn at school when you are at home.
Younger children - Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1.
To help support your child with phonics, Phonics Play and the Letters and Sounds websites are full of good activities:
Linking with all our fun Oxford Reading Tree stories, why not have a look at "The Magic Key" website at: www.bbc.co.uk/schools/magickey
Websites with activities for the whole primary age range include:
BBC Spellits (Spelling games)
Kids Spell (Create your own spelling lists and games)
Fun Brain (Reading and spelling games)
Learning games for Kids (Spelling and word games)
PrimaryGames.com (Spelling rules, including vowels, blends, plurals etc.)
ICT Games.com (Look, cover, check game)
Specially for older children:
Historic Newspapers (genuine newspapers to mark important historical events, e.g.World War 1 and World War 2)
There are lots of websites you can access to apply all your skills in reading, spelling and writing. Lots of them include challenges, quizzes and games, so you can learn more, whilst having loads of fun!
"Wacky Web Tales" looks fun, at:
The BBC websites are fantastic. Firstly, there's "Spellits" at:
and don't forget BBC Bitesize that can help with getting ready for Y6 SATS at: