How we teach reading at Crofton Infants’ School

Children become readers from the moment they learn to love books and stories from an early age. At Crofton Infants’ School we will use a range of strategies, including through phonics, to help teach your child to read.

Our priority is to teach secure reading skills and to promote a love of reading that will encourage your child to read widely and often. It will last a lifetime. Reading with fluency, understanding and enjoyment is a skill fundamental to education and life beyond.

In the Early Years children will mostly read carefully selected books that are closely matched to the phonic phase they are learning. Once secure at phase 5 in phonics, the choices open up and children will read books that require them to use different strategies to work out the words they don’t know by sight, such as picture cues, knowledge of how sentences work or by word building using phonics and knowledge of words with prefixes or suffixes.

As children grow in independence the books become more complex in terms of content, vocabulary and sentence structure.

Children will be taught to read individually or in a group and can change their own reading book as often as they need. We have a wide selection of exciting and inviting titles including both, fiction and non-fiction.

Throughout the school day, children are provided with many opportunities to engage in various activities to develop and strengthen their literacy skills. These include guided reading sessions where we talk and share ideas about our class novel with many opportunities to infer information and discuss use of language in small groups and whole class sessions.

Comprehension sessions are also an integral part of weekly reading where children are actively encouraged to use a text to help support their opinions and inferences about characters, events and language.

We use a wide range of reading scheme and non-scheme books, colour coded into ability bands using the Book Band system, to teach and support reading, these include:

  • Oxford Reading Tree Scheme
  • Project X
  • Alien Adventures
  • Big Cat

What parents can do at home to help their children with reading

Reading in our modern world is more important than ever. When your child sees you reading and writing in everyday life – reading for pleasure, sharing a story with them, using a recipe, making a shopping list, writing a birthday card, reading street signs, or reading and writing emails – it teaches them that reading and writing are useful skills.

  • Be confident that your child will learn to read. Give positive messages and involve them in everyday conversations and opportunities to read.
  • Read aloud to your child. It helps them to learn about the language of books and will encourage them to enjoy books and reading.
  • Read to your child in your home language if your first language is not English.
  • Make reading enjoyable and talk about books, magazines and computer stories that you have read together.
  • Try not to let television intrude on reading time. Make a special time for reading with your child, away from interruptions.
  • Listen to your child read as often as you can, every day if possible, even if only for a short time.
  • Give books in print or electronic form as treats and presents.

Hints for listening to your child read

  • When reading together at home try to make the time relaxed, enjoyable and positive.
  • Vary it. Read together, read to your child and take turns or have them read to you.
  • Before reading, talk about the cover, the title and the pictures, and discuss what the book may be about.
  • During reading, discuss what has been read up to that point and predict what might happen next.

Useful reading tips

  • When your child is reading and encounters words that are difficult for them, use the Three Ps technique ‘Pause, Prompt, Praise’ to support them.
  • Pause:  when your child comes to a word they don’t know, try not to jump in straight away. Wait and give your child time to work out the word.
  • Prompt: if your child successfully works out the problem word, suggest they go back to the beginning of the sentence and re-read it (to recap meaning) before reading on.
  • If your child has not worked out the problem word, prompt them with some quick, low-key suggestions. Say things like:
    “Try reading on for a sentence or two, miss out the difficult word and see if that helps you to work it out.”
    “Look at the sound the word begins with, use that clue, and think about what may make sense here?
    “Look at the pictures.”
  • Try not to spend too much time prompting, as your child will find it difficult to maintain the overall meaning of what they are reading.
  • If prompts like these are not working, simply tell your child the correct word.
  • Praise: praise your child’s reading efforts and successes.

Things to remember about reading

  • The goal of reading is always to make sense of what is read.
  • Try to be interested, supportive and enjoy the time together.
  • Read with your child anywhere and at any time; don’t forget that many everyday experiences provide opportunities to put reading and writing into action.
  • Visit and use a library near you. Borrow books for yourself as well as for your child.
  • Talk to your child’s teacher for further help and advice.


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