Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible. We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.
Read Write Inc. Phonics and Reading programme
At Alexandra Park Primary, we follow the Read Write Inc Phonics/Reading scheme.
Read, Write Inc is a highly successful phonics programme for children aged 4 to 7 who are learning to read and write. It teaches children how to both decode and understand written language to become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. This is achieved by a dynamic approach to teaching phonics that is consistent across the school using the Read, Write Inc phonics resources and fully decodable reading books.
Children are grouped according to their ability in Early Years and Key Stage 1 to ensure that teaching is matched to their level. Phonics in Early Years and Key Stage 1 takes place on a daily basis. Children in Key Stage 2 that still require phonics teaching, continue with a specially tailored programme (RWInc) to meet their individual needs.
Shared Reading forms part of the daily phonics lessons and is led by the reading teachers. Each child reads for at least 20 minutes every day, in a small group with their reading teacher. All texts are linked to the child's phonic ability. Children enjoy one focus text per week and learning activities support accurate and fluent reading to facilitate comprehension. In addition, children take fully decodable reading books home to further practice skills learnt at school. These books are matched to each child's phonics ability and are closely monitored by the reading teachers to ensure that children are reading books of an appropriate level. Each child visits the school library every week to select a book of their choice to share at home. Visits to the school library are quality sessions where children explore and discover books by different authors and of different genres.
Good Reading Habits
Throughout the curriculum, teachers encourage children to develop these reading habits:
- To sound/out segment words that they find difficult to say.
- Reread phrases, sentences or paragraphs in order to help with understanding.
- Infer from the text: consider what a character is like/what they are feeling; develop your own picture of a setting, adding in your own features based on what you have read.
- Identify words that are tricky and to try and infer meaning from the text.
- Make predictions based on what has been read.
- Ask questions based on what you have read and your own interests.
- Make links with other texts based on themes/styles.
- Develop your own opinion on the text.
Children progress from the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme to the Essential Spelling programme. A dedicated spelling session is taught daily from Year 2.
Phonics is teaching the relationship between the sounds we make when we speak and the letters we use to represent those sounds. Through this process, children learn how to read and spell.
When we speak, we use 44 sounds (phonemes) and the 26 letters of the alphabet (graphemes) are used to represent these sounds. There are about 175 different combinations of graphemes and phonemes. For example, the sound ‘O’ is spelt 6 different ways: o (no), o-e (home), oa (boat), ow (snow), oe (toe) and ou (though).
For a lot a parents, they can’t remember being taught using this structured phonics approach and there is also a lot of new vocabulary which can make supporting your child a bit daunting. To support with this, there is a vocabulary sheet with all the key terms defined with examples. Phonics Vocabulary
Support with phonics at home has a huge impact on children’s ability to learn more and remember more. Listening to your child read every day is the perfect way to help them practise their phonics. Your child will bring home a fully decodable book matched to their current phonics level. The more they read this book, the more fluently they will be able to recognise the sound-spellings and blend the sounds together. As they continue this process, words are then mapped into their long-term memory to enable them to automatically read words and therefore read fluently. This is an essential part of children’s journey to become fluent readers who comprehend what they read. We ask that you listen to your child read at home as often as possible. This chart demonstrates the cumulative impact of daily reading on your child.
Please communicate with your child’s teacher via the reading diary and/or seesaw to help us build a picture of your child’s reading.
Getting the balance right between developing positive attitudes towards reading and developing independent readers who persevere is a tricky balance to get right. Try not to help your child too quickly when they get stuck but provide prompts. Children should use their phonics knowledge to help them read words - they should not guess.
As well as reading, you can support your child’s phonics learning through playing games like: how many words can you think of that start with the ‘e’ sound (egg, elephant, excellent), finding rhyming words, spotting sound-spelling relationships in words when you are out and about (look the a in danger is showing us the A sound).
As mentioned above, listening to your child read as often as possible has a huge impact on on their reading development. However, to become a successful reader, there is more that needs to be developed other than the phonics needed to read the words. The comprehension house below shows all the different elements of reading that you need in order to understand what you read. Through sharing stories and talking about texts, you will be helping to develop your child’s language comprehension. Your child will come home with a ‘sharing book’ that they have chosen from our library. Please read this with your child, enjoy it and talk about the story. If you would like more sharing books, please contact your child’s teacher who will be able to help.
Using RWI, the children learn to read effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into comprehending what they read.
When using RWI to read the children will:
• learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts
• learn to read words using Fred Talk
• read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out
• show that they comprehend the stories by answering questions.
When using RWI to write the children will:
• learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent 44 sounds.
• learn to write words by saying the sounds in Fred Talk
• write simple sentences
Read, Write Inc. has 5 underlying principles – the five Ps:
1. PACE – no time is wasted during teaching sessions! Children are active and involved in a fun and creative way. The aim is for the children to complete the programme as quickly as possible.
2. PRAISE – teachers praise the children constantly throughout the teaching sessions. Children learn more quickly when they are praised for what they do well, rather than nagged for what they do wrong. The children are encouraged to praise each other and as a school we have developed several ‘Praise Phrases’ and ‘Praise actions’. Ask your child to demonstrate!
3. PURPOSE – each activity has a very clear purpose. The teacher will set this purpose at the beginning of the lesson so that the children know exactly what they will be learning.
4. PARTICIPATION – all children take part in all parts of the lesson. Full participation is gained through partner work and choral response.
5. PASSION – as a staff we are passionate about our teaching and the benefits of the Read, Write Inc. programme! We love teaching the sessions and this enthusiasm rubs off onto the children.
To know more about Set 1, Set 2 and Set 3 sounds and words click on the link:
Phonics is taught in a systematic way so that children are able to master new letter-sound correspondence before being introduced to knew ones. RWI maps these sounds out using Set 1, Set 2 and Set 3 sounds. The details of these can be found below. Children are also taught rhymes to help them how to correctly form each of the letters. All the rhymes can be found below. When children are assessed on their phonics and reading, the programme puts them into a group so that their reading books are matched to their current level and they are only practising sounds that they are familiar with. The reading progression can also found below.
We teach the children phonics straight away in Reception. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the (Phonemes) sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down (Graphemes). This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well.
We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters. Once the children have learnt to blend accurately, they start to read with fluency. This is achieved through speedy reading of individual words and repeated reads of their shared reading books. 'Tricky words' such as 'once' 'said' 'the' are not phonetically decodable and these are taught explicitly as part of the reading session.
Phonics is taught daily across EYFS and KS1. All children are taught the sound-spellings in order to read and spell and lessons involve teacher modelling and children practising blending to read and segmenting to spell. Children are also taught the key skills of phoneme isolation, blending, segmenting, phoneme addition, phoneme deletion and phoneme substitution. Phonics lessons are also used to support children as learners, developing their meta-cognitive skills and learning behaviours. Through teaching, children are taught to show determination, creativity, curiosity and independence in their reading and spelling.
In order to ensure that our phonics teaching is of the highest possible standard, we ensure the following features are adhered to:
Training and Coaching - all staff receive high quality, ongoing training and coaching (both internal and external)
Responsiveness - learning and progress is continually monitored and teaching is focused to accelerate learning or provide extra support where identified.
Engagement - lessons are engaging and enjoyable for both pupils and staff.
Parental support - supporting parents and carers to support children’s learning when practising their phonics at home.
Your child’s class teacher will keep you regularly updated on your child’s progress in phonics and any extra support they are receiving. Assessments are completed by our Reading Lead and take place every half term. These involve your children being asked to read the sounds, words and high frequency words they have been taught. This is done at an age-appropriate level and the children are not put under any pressure.
At the end of Year 1, all children will complete the Phonics Screening Check (PSC). This is a national assessment, where children are asked to read 40 words which contain the phonics they have been taught. In order to assess their phonics and not just their word reading, some pseudo words are used. These are highlighted to the children and they are aware they are not trying to read a real word but are trying to use their phonics knowledge to sound them out and blend the sounds together. This is something that the Year 1 teachers are able to prepare the children for and is, again, done in a low pressure, age-appropriate way.
The results of the PSC are communicated with parents alongside the end of year reports.