The cornerstone of our Reading and Writing program at Christ the King school is PHONICS. Strong letter and word knowledge empowers young readers and writers!
In the Junior years, Prep to year 2, students are taught letter sounds and “blending” in order to read words. As they become more confident, students are taught new sounds made by more than one letter e.g. or, er, igh, est, sh, ough, etc. Direct, explicit instruction involves lots of repetition and practising skills with the teacher.
Letters (and sounds) are taught in clusters from the start of school. Within a few lessons, students are taught to read (and subsequently write) words based on the letter/sound relationships they have learnt (e.g. tap, ten, mat, ant). Students are immediately learning to blend sounds and read words!
In addition to Letter Knowledge, the students are also required to build Word Knowledge, including High Frequency Words. These are the words that cannot be easily decoded e.g. come, last because, know, why, again, etc. At Christ the King, we use the Magic 100 Words (M100W). The Magic 100 Words make up 50% of the words in reading and writing, beginning with the “12 Golden Words.”
Students do not stop building their PHONICS KNOWLEDGE in P-2. Our spelling program , Words Their Way in Prep to Year 6 systematically teaches students to sort words according to letter patterns and apply Spelling Knowledge in order to become effective readers and writers.
Parents play a crucial role
First, take time each night and practise reading and spelling (aloud) the M100W Words. When your child is confident and competent with their current list, ask for a new list.
Second, make time for Home Reading. The books (readers) brought home from school are designed to practise reading within their ability. The books have carefully selected topics and decodable vocabulary, including High Frequency Words, which will promote fluent reading.
Finally, when reading together, focus on the sounds made by letters and letter patterns (e.g.oo, ee, ea, ou, sh, ph, etc) to support your child developing effective PHONICS KNOWLEDGE!