Humberstone Infant Academy

Supporting Reading at home

Supporting Reading at Home

Check out the links below for great reading resources:


How we Teach Reading

We love reading at Humberstone Infant Academy and become fully immersed in stories through our Novel Study approach to the teaching of English.  This enriches children’s language, develops their comprehension as well as providing a model for their own writing.

The children enjoy a range of stories during story time, developing enjoyment and a love of reading. We believe that it is essential that children see reading as something with many purposes including enjoyment and relaxation as well as information gathering.

We understand that children develop at different rates and follow different paths into reading. We cater for individual needs and have a structured but flexible approach. Children are given opportunities to develop the full range of reading skills and strategies in order to produce confident, competent and independent readers.  During lessons adults model specific reading behaviours e.g. reading left to right across the page, using comprehension and word identification strategies. Children also read in small groups (guided reading) to develop comprehension and book discussion strategies and read 1:1 with their teacher or teaching assistant.We use Oxford Reading Tree, supplemented with a range of phonically decodable books.

How you can help at home

Reading regularly is vital in helping children become confident readers and we recommend reading stories each night to your child and practicing their reading books at least four times a week.

Below are some things you can do while reading with your child:

  • What is happening?
  • Take time to talk about what is happening in the pictures before you read the text. What can you see?
  • Discuss the meaning of words.
  • Make predictions. What do you think will happen next? What makes you think that?
  • Discuss feelings. How do you think the character is feeling? Why?
  • Use lots of expression when reading especially for the voices of different characters.
  • Point to the words on the page when reading them.
  • Can the children use the pictures to guess the word, looking at the initial sound?
  •  Describe the characters in the story.

How we Teach Phonics

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read and write. It is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate sounds and understand the link between the sound (phoneme) and the way it is written (grapheme).
We follow the Letters and Sounds programme – in which individual letters or letter sounds are ‘blended’ to form groups of letters or sounds, and those groups are then blended to form complete words.

We also use actions and ‘ditties’ from the RML programme to support this. Children throughout the Early Years and Infants take part in a daily phonics session. These focus on developing reading, writing and speaking and listening skills. The ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme is divided into six phases; each phase builds on the skills and knowledge of previous learning. Children are also taught to read and spell ‘tricky words’ (common exception words) – words with spellings that are unusual. These include the words ‘to’, ‘was’, ‘said’ and ‘the’. ‘Tricky words’ are ones that we can’t sound – so these words just need to be remembered.

Here are some of the terms we use when we teach phonics:

  • phoneme- the smallest unit of sound in a word.
  • grapheme – letter or a group of letters representing one sound, e.g. s, sh, ch, igh.
  • digraph – two letters making one sound, e.g. sh, th, ph.
  • vowel digraphs – two vowels which, together, make one sound, e.g. ai, oo, ow.
  • split digraph – two letters, split, making one sound, e.g. a-e as in make or i-e in site.
  • VC word: vowel consonant e.g.  at.
  • CVC: consonant vowel consonant e.g. cap.
  • CCVC: consonant consonant vowel consonant e.g.  clap.
  • vowels – the open sounds / letters of the alphabet: a, e, i, o and u.
  • consonants – sounds/ letters of the alphabet that are not vowels.
  • blend – to merge individual sounds together to pronounce a word, e.g. s-n-a-p, blended together, reads snap.
  • segment- to split up a word into its individual phonemes in order to spell it, e.g. the word ‘cat’ has three phonemes: /c/, /a/, /t/.

How you could help at home

  • Try to say the short sound of the letter, not the letter name. This will help children when they come to blend words together. E.g. the letter names dee-oh-gee don’t blend together to make ‘dog’.
  • Read regularly with your child – Encourage children to recognise sounds and as they grow more confident, encourage them to blend the sounds together and to read sentences independently.
  • When you are reading to your child, emphasise the rhyming words and ask what is special about them.
  • Initial letter sound hunt – Say a sound to your child and see if they can find something in their house that starts with that letter. This also works well with ‘I spy’ but remember to use the letter sound and not its name.
  • Songs – Sing nursery rhymes and traditional songs with your child and talk to them about the patterns that they notice in the words.