Welcome to Reception Class!
Reception is a unique and exciting time as we embark on the transition to school and begin a lifelong learning journey in partnership with parents and carers. Through developing a secure relationship with our teachers and each other, we become confident independent learners who feel happy and safe at school, and develop a real love of learning.
A variety of practical, hands-on and playful learning experiences aim to spark our curious minds and promote critical thinking and open-ended exploration of concepts and themes. Using high-quality children’s literature as our starting point, we are introduced to the magical world of reading and writing through structured phonics teaching. We are encouraged to explore mathematical concepts through practical activities, role-play and discussion of our everyday lives. In collaboration with our teachers, we are equipped with the necessary skills to progress towards the more structured academic challenges of Year 1 and beyond.
Phonics and Early Reading
At John Betts, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers thanks to a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Government approved Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.
The system is based on a six-phased progression scheme which is taught in Nursery (prior to the children’s arrival) through to Year Two.
Reception – Phases 2, 3 and starting 4
Year 1 – Revise Phase 3 and move on to Phase 4 and 5
Year 2 - Phase 6
As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At John Betts we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.
Daily phonics sessions are taught in Reception and Year 1. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lesson with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length 25-minute lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers. Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.
Each grapheme (the smallest unit of a writing system, such as a letter or a digraph) is introduced with a visual and an action to help children recall the sound. Handwriting is also supported as the formation phrase complements the visual cue for the grapheme. Please have a look at the Phase 2, 3 and 5 Grapheme Information Sheet below:
At John Betts, we value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, they read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.
Reading Records – All pupils have a reading record. For young children this serves as a dialogue between the class teacher and parents about:
For more fluent readers in Year 2, and for all readers from Year 3 onwards, the reading record becomes something else: a record of a child’s personal response, in writing, to the books they are reading.
Reading for Pleasure
We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.
‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)
Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books. Buddy readers are paired to children from older classes to foster a love of reading and interactions that encourage conversations around stories. Termly visits to the local library empower children to access reading resources outside of school.