At Holly Lodge, we believe that the skills covered in English are vital for enabling children to access every area of the school curriculum, preparing
them for their future. Emphasis is shared between the development of spoken and written English, as well as the teaching of reading and encouraging
‘reading for pleasure’. The school’s aim is to encourage the development of an enthusiastic, well-rounded learner who is able to approach both spoken
and written forms of communication confidently.
From Reception, children share stories, poems and books of all types. Throughout the school, children are exposed to a wide range of rich, stimulating
texts, both fiction and non-fiction. These are often topic-based, offering a variety of cross-curricular reading experiences in a variety of genres, and
provide children with inspiration and purpose for their writing. In order to deepen their understanding and broaden their vocabulary, teachers read to
children as well as with them, in whole class settings, as well as in small groups and individually. Children are encouraged to read independently and
choose their own books from classrooms and the well-stocked library. To further develop a love of reading, we run an annual book day, hold book fairs
and work to establish home reading routines through reading records and communicating with parents.
Children begin phonics in reception and build upon this knowledge throughout the rest of Early Years and KS1. Alongside this, children also learn to
read key words to build their sight vocabulary. Reading schemes are used to support children as they develop their abilities. These ensure a
structured progression in reading, alongside the teaching of phonics. Children with EAL, SEN or finding reading a challenge are supported with various
targeted reading interventions.

Children leave Holly Lodge
 with a love of reading;
 able to read widely, fluently and with deep understanding, for a range of purposes, including for pleasure;
 appreciating our rich and varied literary heritage, as well as that of other cultures;
 confident sharing their reading with others, both verbally and in writing;
 with a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of conventions for reading, which they apply in their writing and speaking.



Essential Letters and Sounds

Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) is our chosen Phonics programme. The aim of ELS is ‘Getting all children to read well, quickly’. It teaches children to read by identifying the phonemes (the smallest unit of sound) and graphemes (the written version of the sound) within words and using these to read words.

Children begin learning Phonics at the very beginning of Reception and it is explicitly taught every day during a dedicated slot on the timetable. Children are given the knowledge and the skills to then apply this independently.
Throughout the day, children will use their growing Phonics knowledge to support them in other areas of the curriculum and will have many opportunities to practise their reading. This includes reading 1:1 with a member of staff, with a partner during paired reading and as a class.
Children continue daily Phonics lessons in Year 1 and further through the school to ensure all children become confident, fluent readers.
We follow the ELS progression and sequence. This allows our children to practise their existing phonic knowledge whilst building their understanding of the ‘code’ of our language GPCs (Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence). As a result, our children can tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover.

Children experience the joy of books and language whilst rapidly acquiring the skills they need to become fluent independent readers and writers. ELS teaches relevant, useful and ambitious vocabulary to support each child’s journey to becoming fluent and independent readers.
We begin by teaching the single letter sounds before moving to diagraphs ‘sh’ (two letters spelling one sound), trigraphs ‘igh’ (three letters spelling one sound) and quadgraphs ‘eigh’ (four letters spelling one sound).

We teach children to:

Decode (read) by identifying each sound within a word and blending them together to read fluently
Encode (write) by segmenting each sound to write words accurately.
The structure of ELS lessons allows children to know what is coming next, what they need to do, and how to achieve success. This makes it easier for children to learn the GPCs we are teaching (the alphabetic code) and how to apply this when reading.
ELS is designed on the principle that children should ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’. Since interventions are delivered within the lesson by the teacher, any child who is struggling with the new knowledge can be immediately targeted with appropriate support. Where further support is required, 1:1 interventions are used where needed. These interventions are short, specific and effective.

Supporting Reading at Home:

Children will only read books that are entirely decodable, this means that they should be able to read these books as they already know the code contained within the book.
We only use pure sounds when decoding words (no ‘uh’ after the sound)
We want children to practise reading their book 4 times across the week working on these skills:

Decode – sounding out and blending to read the word.

Fluency – reading words with less obvious decoding.

Expression – using intonation and expression to bring the text to life!

We must use pure sounds when we are pronouncing the sounds and supporting children in reading words. If we mispronounce these sounds, we will make reading harder for our children. Please watch the videos below for how to accurately pronounce these sounds.
At the beginning of each academic year, we will hold an information session for parents and carers to find out more about what we do for Phonics, Reading and English at our schools. Please do join us.

More support for parents and carers can be found here:

Phase 2 pronunciation

Phase 3 pronunciation

Phase 5 pronunciation

Link to Oxford Owl home support for parents

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