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Reading and Phonics at Edgebury


Success For All Phonics

For children beginning their reading journey we have introduced the Success For All Phonics scheme. Success for All Phonics is a proven systematic synthetic phonics teaching programme for Reception to Year 1. It meets all the requirements of the National Curriculum and the EYFS framework and has been validated by the DfE. Schools in the UK, and increasingly around the world, teach children to read using ‘Synthetic Phonics’. This is simply a way in which we break words down into the smallest sounds. So, the sounds in the word ‘cat’ are /c/ /a/ /t/. We are saying words in an unnatural, or synthetic way. We are using the Success for All Phonics programme to teach Reception and Y1 children phonics, every day children will have a 20 - 25- minute phonics lesson where they will be taught all the skills they need to use phonics to decode words for reading, and to break words down for spelling.


Phonic Readers

Children will bring home an individual reading book that reflects the sounds that they are learning in school or sounds that they need to practise. These books are to rehearse the skills of segmenting and blending sounds to read words, and will focus on the sounds that are covered each week. The Phonics readers are colour coded.


Shared Readers

In addition to the phonic readers, children can also access a shared reading book online through the Success for All Phonics Portal. This is a book that they will be reading in class linked to their phonics lessons. The texts start off simply, focusing on very few sounds and the letters that represent these sounds when they are written down - these are called Grapheme - Phoneme Correspondences or GPCs. As more GPCs are taught, they are used in the shared readers for that week, gradually building up a bigger range of words that can be read. When your child looks at the shared reader online you will see one or more GPCs printed on the front cover at the top right-hand side. These are the new GPCs that have been introduced in that book and your child will have learnt these in their phonics lessons. They may still need some practise and help in reading words using recently taught phonemes. Inside the front cover you will find a list of ‘Green Words’, these are the words in the book that use the new GPCs. Your children practise reading these words in class and reading them together at home will give them even more practise.


The English language is very challenging because there is a wide range of words that cannot be fully decoded using phonics. Technically these are called ‘Common Exception Words’ but for ease of use the Success for All Phonics Scheme calls these ‘Red Words’. With Red Words, we encourage children to use their phonics to read the phonetically regular parts of the word and we point out the ‘tricky’ grapheme, which they need to try to remember. A list of ‘Red Words’ has also been printed inside the front cover of the Shared Reader so your child can practise reading them with you. There are also some questions at the back of the Shared Reader and your child should be able to read these, but they might need some help answering the questions. It is important that children always go back to the text to find the answer and don’t just guess. This routine will help them as they need to answer more difficult questions.


Reading for pleasure

Children in Reception and year 1 will also be able to choose a book from their class book corner or library to share with you at home. These will be books that interest your child, but that they may not be able to read independently. Your child will enjoy listening to the text being read out loud and it is a good idea for the children to follow the text as this will support their reading fluency. Discussing the story and characters, what has happened, what may happen next and the meaning of new and exciting vocabulary is key in supporting your child's reading development. Our year 2 children  revise the sounds taught in year 1 using the Success For All Phonics Scheme and will begin to access Accelerated Reader (please see below) based on their reading assessments. Those children who need to consolidate their phonics knowledge to enable them to decode texts will continue to choose books from the banded phonics readers.


Accelerated Reader

Children who are working beyond phonics will be using Accelerated Reader. Accelerated Reader (AR) is a computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Your child picks a book at their own level and reads it at their own pace. When finished, your child takes a short quiz on the computer at school - the quiz results are an indication of your child ‘s understanding of what has been read. AR gives both children and teachers feedback based on the quiz results which the teacher then uses to help set targets and ongoing reading practice. Each quizzed book has a book level which represents the difficulty of text, this is called the ZPD and is a number range, (for ease also represented by colours). Initially the children take a STAR reading test on the computer which gives teachers their ideal reading level. This is the ZPD range. 


What is a STAR Reading test?

STAR Reading is used to determine your child’s reading level. It is a computer-based reading assessment program that uses computer-adaptive technology. Questions continually adjust to your child’s responses. The assessment uses multiple-choice questions. If the child’s response is correct, the difficulty level is increased. If the child cannot answer a question or answers incorrectly, the difficulty level is reduced.


What is an Accelerated Reader Book Level?

Book levels represent the difficulty of the text. The levels range from 0.5 – 6+. Books are chosen based on the ZPD range recommended for each pupil by the STAR Reading assessment.


What is a Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)?

ZPD is the range of books that will challenge a child without causing frustration or loss of motivation. Your child will receive a ZPD, or reading range after taking a STAR Reading assessment. It is important for children to read with a high degree of comprehension and within their ZPD. Once your child has read their book they will take a short quiz afterward. These quizzes are short and fun and will give teachers valuable insight into understanding, comprehension and guide next steps. As well as zones/levels the books are also divided into interest levels, this relates to the content and appropriateness for different ages ranges and maturity. (as a guide Lower years =5-8 years, middle years =9-13). By reading books at their own reading and interest levels, we strongly believe the children will experience success and grow in confidence and reading stamina.