Reading is one of the most powerful and important skills a child can learn and can often be a predictor for future academic success. At Waterfield we know the skills and steps required for a child to develop their early literacy skills and ask that parents read to, and with, their child every day. This might be by reading a bedtime story, making up a story and telling it to their child, hearing their child read every day or looking through a picture book and discussing the illustrations.
We recognise that reading is a multisensory activity that should be practised daily, we know that by unlocking the joy and skill of reading the rest of the curriculum is unlocked. We therefore teach phonics in a fun and engaging way, every day, through singing, dance and movement. Even our youngest learners, in Nursery, begin their phonics DAILY through our Song of Sound Programme. Once a week we have a ‘Big Phonics’ day where children further practise their early reading and writing skills through adult-led activities and games.
We also support children’s early literacy and communication skills by teaching with wordless books. Wordless books help children to ‘read’ the pictures and provide their own narrative to a story. Through discussion about illustrations children develop the skills and confidence necessary to support their comprehension and understanding as well as extending their vocabulary. Wordless books also help children to begin to develop an understanding of inference and viewpoint in support of their future learning.
All our children have access to reading books that match the sounds they are being taught in their phonic sessions. these books are shared at school and supported through books your child may bring home. We encourage as much reading as possible and even celebrate story time through use of our Tree House and other joint Story Times.
The Early Years department is BURSTING with language and words – creating a VOCABULARY RICH environment that supports all the children in developing a love of reading.
We recognise the powerful impact parents have on their children and their child’s education. That is why, at Waterfield, we have developed the ethos of parents as co-educators. We know children do not just learn at school – they learn at home too! With parents having so much to offer and contribute to their child’s literacy learning and development, we regularly send home books for children in reception to read, we provide ‘help at home’ ideas and offer further learning materials at key points throughout the year to ensure teachers and parents work together and you are kept informed about your child’s learning.
We also offer online learning platforms to further support your child’s reading and academic development at home. Mini Mash and Oxford Reading Buddy provide additional opportunities for your child to read and develop grapheme-phoneme recognition (matching the written letter to the letter sound).
The Waterfield Early Years Department supports our Learning Focus/Stimuli with a bespoke and carefully selected Reading Spine. This Reading Spine is an early introduction to the Lower and Upper School Spines. Whilst this will not be the only books we explore, we use this Spine to create awe and wonder before the children take the learning in all sorts of imaginative and inspiring directions. Whilst this runs on a two year cycle (building in traditional tales, different cultures, repetitive rhyme/patterns and authors we believe children should be exposed to), no cycle is ever the same because the Learning Story is written by the most creative authors we know… your children!