Teaching children to read and to enjoy reading is one of the most important life skills we can give.  Immersing children in literature from a young age captures and develops their imagination as well as their creative ability; it informs and teaches them about the world in which they live.  We encourage parents to read with their children every day and have a range of wonderful volunteers who come into school each week to listen to the children read and support them with their learning.  Children at Peaslake School all leave confident and articulate readers who enjoy books and know how to use them to find out information. 


At Peaslake Free School we begin with Phonics, which teaches children to link sounds (phonemes) with the symbols (graphemes) that they represent.   We combine the “Jolly Phonics” and “Letters and Sounds” programmes to ensure that children are exposed a number of reading strategies until they find the methods that work best for them.


Letter sounds are introduced in the Reception year using Jolly Phonics; children learn to put actions to the sounds and link them to the letter they represent. Putting actions to the sounds makes the whole process more fun and engaging and the children enjoy being active whilst learning. 


The sounds are introduced in a systematic way starting with S, A, T ,P, I, N, once these are known they can start to build a variety of CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words such as tin, pin, pat, sat, tan etc. they do this by saying each sound and blending them together.   


This can take time and needs lots of repetition and reassurance so that the children become confident in experimenting with different blends of sounds. 


Children will continue to learn the other letter sounds whilst blending and decoding three letter words.  They will also learn about consonant clusters such as tr, st, lk and diagraphs: two vowels together that make one sound ai, ea, and oo.  This is done at a fairly fast pace and it’s important to say the sounds correctly in order to help them blend sounds to read words.  


Whilst learning to read the sounds children also learn how to write the grapheme (letter shape) and will begin, with plenty of practice, to put sounds together to spell words.  So that by the end of Reception they will know how to write the 44 phonemes. 



In Year 1 the children extend their learning to the vowel diagraphs and trigraphs (groups of 2 or 3 letter vowels that form sounds such as oa and  igh, ) and begin to understand that groups of the same letters have different sounds in different words such as head and dream, and that different letters can have the same sounds such as meat and meet.   This can be very confusing and takes time and repetition to embed in children’s everyday practice. 

In Year 2 the children continue to practise reading and recognising all the phonemes and graphemes, but they also learn spelling rules such as how to change root words to add suffixes and prefixes.  They investigate how the suffixes and prefixes can change meaning and tense. They look at the more complex rules of silent ‘k’ and ‘h’.  

Learning to read and spell in our English system is a very complex process. We try to make it as fun as possible and give the children time to explore and develop at a pace they feel confident, but at the same time providing challenge to extend their language and thinking skills.  

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