It was wonderful to see so many enthusiastic parents attending The Power of Reading workshops in Pre-Prep over the last few weeks. Reading is a journey, which we first encounter by interpreting pictures, signs and symbols; but we soon progress to decoding the black marks on a page – the words – which we then understand to be the building blocks of language. This starts with learning phonics and once the children can read independently, they are then transported to new literary worlds.

As a school, we have embarked on an immensely exciting journey to build a truly literate school. We want the children at The Blue Coat School to read for pleasure and to develop a lifelong love of reading. In Pre-Prep, the children have daily Phonics lessons to support them in segmenting and blending unfamiliar words, to read and spell. They are read a rich literary diet of stories, from our Literature Spine, which encompasses a wide range of high quality fiction, poetry and non-fiction. Consequently, they learn to appreciate the craft of brilliant writers; and by experiencing a wide range of classic and contemporary texts, they then begin to weave these narrative styles, with their own authorial voice, into their creative writing.

During the parent workshops, it was wonderful to share the children’s rich learning environments and to open the doors to our parents. In Reception, the children were making ‘phonics finger’ glove puppets and they were practising their decoding skills by playing games, adding sound buttons, going on a grapheme hunt and playing phoneme bingo. In Year 1, the parents took part in a carousel of phonic activities, such as being phoneme detectives, digging for graphemes and sorting real and non-sense words. In Year 2, the children demonstrated their prediction skills by analysing a stunning illustration from Leaf, by Sandra Dieckmann – and justifying their opinions by finding evidence in the illustration to support their ideas. We look forward to welcoming the Transition parents to their workshops on Thursday 18th October.

Sometimes an illustration can say a thousand words and some of the most powerful narratives are picture books. Encourage your children to critically engage with illustrations and then ask them to predict, question, clarify and succinctly summarise what they have read. Our vision is to allow the children limitless opportunities to experience texts presented in a variety of formats; some children love graphic novels and comics with interesting pathways, which the reader quickly learns to navigate. Similarly, at school the children will engage with interactive e-books, audio books and a superb variety of Apps to support their learning in our technological world. Please go forth, visit a library and read a brilliant book! In the wise words of Dr. Zeus, ‘You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.’

Mrs Kavanagh-Finch

The Powerpoint presentations from the workshops will be available shortly to view on the Parent Portal.