Darlinghurst School we have developed our own phonics programme which follows
the sound teaching sequence from letters and sounds. Children are first taught
to read and write the 40+ sounds in English and subsequently apply this
knowledge to matched decodable books. Children begin phonics lessons in Nursery
and Reception and continue these lessons until they can read confidently and
fluently. Some children complete our phonics programme in Year 1
and others in Year 2. In KS2, any children who need
extra reading support also follow this programme using age appropriate
decodable books.

Children are grouped according
to their reading progress and are taught phonics, spelling, reading, writing
and handwriting for one hour a day (20 to 45 minutes in Reception). In these
groups every child is heard reading by an adult every day. Children are assessed
every half-term to ensure they are placed in a group that maximizes their
progress and extra daily one-to-one sessions are provided for children who may
need a little more support.

In Reception children are taught sounds using pictures as an aid, for example we make the letter ‘s’ into a snake,
and the ‘f’ into the shape of a flower.
These pictures help all children
to read the sounds easily. Once this knowledge is secure and children are able
to blend consistently and accurately, we teach children the different spellings
of the same sounds, for example, they learn that the sound ‘ay’ is written ay,
a-e and ai; the sound ‘ee’ is written ee, e and ea. We use phrases to help them
remember each sound for example, ee, free the sheep, ea – eat the treat.

Whole class reading

Children at Darlinghurst are
encouraged to develop a love of literature through exposure to a wide range of
texts. We provide a print rich environment including different genres and
styles which are ability appropriate. As a community of readers, we expect all
teachers and children to model and communicate their love of reading.

InYears 2-6, children participate in whole class reading lessons once they can
read fluently. During these lessons your child reads a high quality age
appropriate text with the support of their teacher and peers. The text will be
introduced by the teacher to ensure all the key vocabulary is explained. Your
child will then be able to understand this new vocabulary and apply it in the
correct context. The lesson will include daily partner reading to help your
child improve their fluency and expression. During this time, the teacher will
hear every child read. This will be followed by a ‘think aloud’ where their
teacher will explain key parts of the text and ask questions to assess your
child’s comprehension. Comprehension skills are developed through pupils’
experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading
and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction.


Pupils at Darlinghurst are encouraged
to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge
of themselves and the world they live in, to gain knowledge, and to establish
an appreciation and love of reading.  We want reading to feed our pupils’
imaginations and as such books within the library and classroom are easily
accessible and presented in an appealing way in order to encourage respect for books
and support our commitment to developing a love of reading.

All children will bring home a book
from within the school’s reading band scheme, which is appropriate to their
reading ability and age. We use a wide variety of schemes, such as Oxford Reading
Tree, Songbirds and Project X, as well as ‘real’ books that have been evaluated
and put into a ‘band’. This is to ensure our children have exposure to a wide
range of writing styles and different genres.

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