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Help With Improving Reading Skills


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Hi

 

Can anyone please give me some advice! I am being critised by my Head because my Reception class reading results are the worst the school has ever had and I don't know how to improve them. This is my second year of teaching and I have taught the children exactly as I did last year - Jolly Phonics for the Autumn term and now moving on with Letters and sounds. We use the Oxford Reading Tree reading scheme which is really out dated and doesn't really relate to the phonics we are teaching the children. I have an added problem that I have the summer born year ones who have to follow the literacy framework so I have very little time to actually teach reading to the Reception children!

 

julescc :o

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My first thought would be can you the parents involved more? If you have a large reception class it's hard to find time to do one to one reading. Are you working through letter sounds and phonemes with them at whole class time? My own children's class teacher 'drills' them on these using the Read Write Inc stuff. She also sends home a different letter or blend each day to do at home, and a box with sight words in, plus a new reading book each day. Please bear in mind though that this is a small mixed age class with only 6 reception age children so it's easier for her to find time.

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Hi. I split my class into 2 groups for Phonics session. To start with I have a bigger lower ability group, which changes by January. My TA works with the lower ability group, which at the moment has about 9 children in it, concentrating on Phase 1 activities whilst introducing and revisiting sounds and letters of Phase 2. I have the rest of the class moving towards the middle of Phase 3.

We do shared rather than Guided Reading once a week with half a class at a time. Children then apply what they learned in short tasks at the end of the session, eg. matching written to written words, making learnt words using magnetic letters, etc.

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You need to be aware of thier baseline when they came to you also - is your Head taking that into account ? I assume she is especially if you have lots of summer term birthdays as this will have an impact. If the reading scheme doesn't link with what you are teaching then thats not your fault , maybe a discussion about updating the books with Head /Literacy manager is on the cards ? Do your Early Years settings not deliver Letters and Sounds also as this helps.

Seems as if you just need to get literacy in all areas of your day, but in a fun way - some of the younger children will still be at the stage where 'reading' is still above thier level of understanding and just need to experiment with text/words in all forms and all areas of the curriculum . Why do you do Jolly Phonics for a term then flip back to L&S - why not just carry on with Letters and Sounds phase 1/2 depending on age and ability , could be they are getting a bit confused - a lot of LA's have ditched Jolly Phonics now.

 

Good luck, am sure it will all come good in the end - you still have nearly two terms of year R left ! :o

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I agree that a discussion about reading books would be worthwhile. It is hard to teach children to sound out words as the primary reading strategy and then give them reading books that have lots of words which are beyond their decoding skills or are predominantly 'tricky words'. There is no chance to practice the skills they have been learning through letters and sounds and JP.

 

I spent my first year in reception trying to marry these two elements and when we bought decodable reading books, the children's progress transformed no end. I don't have a solution except give children lots of chance to practice their phonic decoding sklills around the classroom and do your best with the reading books. It means introducing lots more 'tricky' words faster to the children as ORT rely on repetition of these in the early stages.

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I think I would want to unpick a little more what is meant by the reading results being the worst.. is that as measured by the EYFSP? If so, was that in reading or linking sounds and letters or both? This may start to give you a clue as to what aspects of practice you may need to develop further. You may have done this already, but if you haven't, its worth having a look to identify exactly where the gaps are (if there are any, that is)

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Hi Jules, I too have outdated reading books which are gradually being brought into line with letters and sounds. I have only just sent reading books home after Christmas because of this as like you the books we have are mostly ORT. Instead I have been sending home the phoneme we have learnt that day in a little book with VC or CVC words to practice sounding and blending and I also send home the tricky words. I bought the read write inc ditty book of photocopiable masters which are little poems/dittys and I use these for guided reading sessions with groups (guided reading done every day so all children heard in a week, my TA works on words, I do guided reading and the rest of the children to independent reading related activities which are differentiated according to ability.) and the ditty is then sent home to practice. In my school which is only a 1 form entry school we set for phonics throughout foundation stage and up to Y3 and all teachers and TAs have a phonic group for 20 mins a day (we call them tutti fruiti groups-each group is a fruit name) so there are 9 groups altogether with phases 1/2 up to 6. Some of my receptions have just this term moved to the phase 3 group so I am left with just having to review phase 2 again with the less able until they are ready for phase 3. This system has worked wonders at our shool as attainment in reading/writing was very low. We have been doing this now for 3 years now and can really see the benefits with the present Y2 class.

If your school is not doing this can your TA work with the Y1s and you the rest for phonics/reading activities or vice versa or can you find time for her to take targeted groups out.?

 

It seems to me like instead of criticising the progress your children are making your head should be working with you to find solutions towards improving the situation. (My head and I meet half termly to talk through the progress of each child in terms of who is and isn't achieving and we work together to decide what can be put into place to help (scary but it works and she does teach some of the intervention groups!) It also sounds like your school needs some more up to date reading books which are phonics based so could do with a huge influx of spending (don't we all)

 

HOpe that helps

Deb

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi. We also use ORT alongside Letters and Sounds. I'd recommend the newer Floppy's phonics books rather than the patterned stories etc as they follow Letters and Sounds and all the words are decodable. I have found they have made a real difference and my children are now reading earlier in the Reception year.

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