Read Write Inc. Phonics teaches children to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension. They learn to form each letter, spell correctly, and compose their ideas step-by-step.
At Victoria Road Primary school, we strive to teach children to read effectively and quickly using the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme (RWI) which includes teaching synthetic phonics, sight vocabulary, decoding and encoding words as well as spelling and accurate letter formation. The children start learning RWI in the nursery in the Spring or Summer term (depending on ability) and once in the Reception class it commences straight away. We believe that teaching children to read and write independently, as quickly as possible, is essential. This opens up the rest of the curriculum and also has a huge impact on children’s self-esteem and future life chances. Using the RWI phonics program we teach children to: • read easily, fluently and with good understanding • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information • write clearly and accurately adapting their language and style in a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
We start by teaching children to read and blend the first thirty Set 1 sounds. Once they have learnt this skill, they start reading stories and texts that have words made up of the sounds they know. This means that they can embed and apply their phonic knowledge and start to build their reading fluency. Once secure, children learn Set 2 and Set 3 sounds and then read texts with increasingly more complex sounds and graphemes. Throughout this process there is a focus on comprehension, reading with expression and reading for enjoyment. Children are taught in small groups which reflect their phonic knowledge and reading fluency. Every 6 weeks we assess children so that they are taught in a RWI group which matches their phonic knowledge. We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ability to read ‘tricky words’; so they experience early reading success and gain confidence that they are readers. To support the development of Reading and Writing at Victoria Road we have: • daily 45 minute phonics sessions, where the children learn new phonemes, improve their ability to segment and blend sounds, and their ability to apply this knowledge into their reading and writing. • A whole class Reading session whereby the children are exposed to high-quality texts that they can demonstrate their understanding and thinking to inspire their own writing • All children are issued a RWI reading book that is appropriate for their reading ability and is changed regularly. All children are also able to take home a library book of their choice, to have read to them by a parent. We expect family at home to share these books with their child daily and to make comments in their child’s reading record. • At the end of every day all children are read to by their teacher every day. In addition, classes visit the local St Budeaux library to select additional books for their classrooms and to share and listen to stories read by other people.
We are able to measure attainment in phonics using the Year One Phonics Screening tests Reading results from National Assessments at the end of Key Stage One can also be used. By listening to the voice of the children it should be clear of their love of reading, developing fluency and their knowledge of authors and key texts/stories they have enjoyed. Subject and school leaders monitor the impact of our curriculum provision in phonics through completing rigorous monitoring, that includes listening to the voice of our children.
Ten top tips from Read Write Inc
1. Saying sounds correctly This is really important when you are helping your child to learn the sounds. Just remember not to add an uh to the end of the consonant sounds – so say mmm not muh, lll not luh, etc. because then later it’s easier to blend the sounds together to make words.
2. Linking sounds to letters Encourage your child to make a link between the sound and the written letter shape. Start with the sounds in your child’s name and then look out for them in signs. The sound m in McDonalds is always a good starting point too!
3. Sounds represented by more than one letter Some sounds are represented by more than one letter such as sh inship, ch in chat, th in thin, qu in quick and ng in sing. When you’re out and about point out examples of these to your child too. You might see them in posters, signs, or leaflets.
4. Practise, practise, practise Build up a knowledge of the letters and sounds quite quickly with your child and keep practising so that it becomes automatic. Keep reminding ‘Do you remember when we were talking about the sound ch...?’, or ‘Oh look! There’s a big t (sound) on that poster!’
5. Putting sounds together to read simple words Say the sounds c-a-t to read cat, sh-o-p to read shop and s-t-r-ee-t to read street. If your child gets stuck and is struggling to blend the sounds, say the sounds yourself, quickly, until your child can hear the word! Only beginner readers need to sound out every word as they read all the time. But, they will still need to work out new and long words.
6. Tricky words Some everyday words in English have tricky spellings and can’t be read by blending. Imagine trying to read the word said or does by blending each letter! These are sometimes called high frequency tricky words, or Red words. These words just have to be learned by sight and flashcard-type games are a good way to practise these.
7. Reading books Schools using a synthetic phonics scheme are likely to be sending home decodable books. This means the books contain mostly words that children can read by sounding out to get them off to a good start with independent reading. After your child has read a page, you can read it aloud again, to make sure that the story is enjoyed and understood.
8. Using pictures Pictures are great for sharing and talking about a story (which is really important too!) but don’t encourage your child to use pictures to guess the words that they don’t already know.
9. Writing letters Teach your child how to write the letters as the letter sounds are learned. And don’t forget to show your child how to hold the pencil correctly too!
10. Common sense ... Lots and lots of books! Carry on sharing and reading lots and lots of stories and information books to and with your child. Praise and hugs! Most importantly, remember that your child will learn much faster with encouragement, praise and hugs