During the early years, much of the focus is to develop confident readers: mainly using the phonics approach. Crags follows a programme called: Letters and Sounds which helps pupils see the relationship between printed letters and the sounds they make. Decoding is the ability to read words aloud by identifying the letter patterns and matching them to sounds. Once children are able to ‘decode,’ they can then start to make sense of the words and sentences in context. Watch out for hard-to-decode words such as ‘one’ and ‘the’. These just have to be learned by heart.
As children move into and through Key Stage 1, the curriculum intends that almost all children will secure the basic skills of decoding so that they can become fluent readers. As their reading confidence grows, they can begin to write their own ideas down and infer how characters are feeling and deduce from the text. In Year 1 children will access a Phonics Screening Check, a National Test that is reported on at the end of the year.
At the end of Year 2, all children will sit the National Curriculum Tests for Key Stage 1. These will include two short reading tests.
In lower Key Stage 2 – Years 3 and 4 - your child will build on their work from KS1 to become more independent in both their reading and their writing. Most children will be confident at decoding most words – or will have extra support to help them to do so – and they will be able to use their reading to support their learning about other subjects.
They will begin to meet a wider range of writing contexts, including both fiction and non-fiction styles and genres.
Some common words, such as ‘went’ and ‘said’ can often be replaced by more specific words that give a sense of the action, such as ‘raced’ or ‘yelled’. You can also take opportunities to look at words like this that crop up in books you read with your child, considering how the choice of word affects your understanding of a story.
In upper Key Stage 2 – Years 5 and 6 - your child will increasingly meet a wider range of texts and types of writing, and will be encouraged to use their skills in a broader range of contexts. Their knowledge of grammar will also increase as they prepare for the National Curriculum Tests to be taken in the summer term of Year 6. Children will take a reading test of about one hour, a grammar and punctuation test of about forty-five minutes, and a spelling test of twenty words. These will be sent away for marking, with the results coming back before the end of the year. Your child’s teacher will also make an assessment of whether or not your child has reached the expected standard by the end of the Key Stage.