“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

How we teach reading in Pre-Reception

Reading is one of the most important lifelong skills that children will begin to develop while they are at St Edward’s Prep. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible. We actively teach the skills needed for children to become good readers as soon as they start Pre-Reception. We have a wide range of activities, strategies, resources and techniques to develop and improve early reading skills.

At St Edward’s we believe in developing a reading culture throughout the school. First and foremost, we aim to instil a love of reading in our boys so that they enjoy reading and choose to read for pleasure. We have a wide selection of books that staff read to children daily with fun stories and bright, colourful illustrations to engage and enthuse them. We try to teach reading through multisensory experiences to help children enjoy books and remember the important skills and knowledge needed for reading. As well as reading to the children, we encourage them to share books with their friends. The comfortable, ‘Reading Corner’ in our classroom invites the children to look at books and share them together.

We have a large variety of listening games and resources to encourage children’s early listening skills as these support the development of reading. We help the boys to listen to the sounds in the environment around them and to begin to discriminate between the different sounds. The ability to listen carefully is crucial firstly to their phonics progress and then to reading words. All around Pre-Reception we have text asking children questions, making statements and giving information. We also have signs, symbols and logos in the environment which we encourage children to notice, recognise, read and understand. These purposeful texts help children to read for meaning and understand that writing has a purpose to inform us.

As well as reading stories with their teachers, children take part in dedicated phonics sessions. This approach to learning how to read is where children learn that each letter of the alphabet has a corresponding sound (or sometimes more than one sound). At St Edward’s we follow the Read Write Inc programme to support the boys as they match letters to sounds. We introduce the sounds of letters first rather than their names as the sounds support them as they learn how to decode texts and develop into independent readers. We have a selection of Big Books, posters, games and puppets that help us to teach in a fun and exciting way. Resources, games and jigsaws linked to recognising the letter sounds in the alphabet help to make learning even more fun for the boys. In addition to this, we give our boys reading books each week. At first, they contain very few, if any, words. The boys are encouraged to tell their own version of the story to their teachers and parents. For our more able readers, we have further sets of reading books to support them before they move into the Reception class.

In classrooms, teachers plan topic themes around books to support children to understand the structure of stories and we have ‘Story Sacks’ that help children to learn and rehearse the order and sequence of favourite stories. Non-fiction texts are included around classrooms so that reading becomes part of all areas of our curriculum and ICT such as classroom computers and Smartboards help children to learn that reading is useful to find out information on computers as well as from books.

Boys will learn and join in with many songs, jingles and rhymes while they are with us. They will develop their own repertoire of Nursery rhymes and Maths rhymes to help them learn skills to help them read.

We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we work hard to make sure children develop a love of books as well as learning to read.

Mrs B and Mrs Swift.