Read Write Inc Phonics
How we teach your children to read and write
Every child deserves success right from the start. We know that the sooner children learn to read, the greater their success at school. This is why we put reading at the heart of what we do.
We use a teaching programme called Read Write Inc. Phonics to teach our children to read and write. We make sure every child can read the last set of phonic stories before they progress to our higher level programmes - Literacy and Language, and Spelling. Some children complete the programme in Year 1 and others in Year 2. Year 3 and 4 children who need extra support follow this programme too; struggling readers in Year 5 and 6 children follow a similar programme called Fresh Start.
During this time, we group children by their reading progress for one hour a day (20 to 45 minutes in Reception) and re-assess children every half-term so we can place them in the group where they’ll make the most progress. We provide extra daily one-to-one sessions for children who need a bit of a boost to keep up.
How do we get children to remember what we teach them?
It’s much easier teaching one child – we can get them to repeat what they have understood in their own words, step by step.~Then, if they haven’t understood, we can try different words and explanations. So, in order to replicate this back and forth dialogue with a group or class, we use partner work. Children answer every question with a partner, the teacher checks what they know and only moves on when they understand. It means that all children stay focused throughout the lesson. Partner talk is fundamental to the success of our school. We use, ‘Turn to your partner’ in every lesson throughout the day.
How do we make phonics easy for children to learn?
Read Write Inc. Phonics depends upon children learning to read and write sounds effortlessly, so we make it simple and fun.
The phonic knowledge is split into two parts.
First we teach them one way to read and write the 40+ sounds in English. We use pictures to help, for example we make ‘a’ into the shape of an apple, ‘f’ into the shape of a flower. These pictures help all children, especially slower-starters, to read the sounds easily.
Children learn to read words by sound-blending using a frog called Fred. Fred says the sounds and children help him blend the sounds to read each word.
Then we teach children the different spellings of the same sounds, for example, they learn that the sound ‘ay’ is written ay, a-e and ai; the sound ‘ee’ is written ee, e and ea. We use phrases to help them remember each sound for example, ay, may I play, a-e – make a cake?
How do we ensure children can read every book?
The first thing we do is to give children books we know they can read – without any guessing. (We read lots of other stories to them, but do not expect them to read these yet.)
Before they read the story, they sound out the names of characters and new words, practise reading any of the ‘tricky red’ words, and tell them a thought-provoking introduction to get them excited about the story.
Then, over three days, children read the story three times: first to focus on reading the words carefully; the second to help them read the story fluently; and on the third, we talk about the story together for example, how characters might be feeling and why. By the time your child reads the story to you at home, they will be able to read it confidently with expression.
How do we teach children to spell confidently?
We use just two simple activities: Fred Fingers to spell regular words and Red Rhythms for tricky words.
We teach children to spell using ‘Fred Fingers’: we say a word and then children pinch the sounds onto their fingers and write the word, sound by sound.
We teach tricky words with Red Rhythms. We say the tricky letters in a puzzled or annoyed voice and build the letter names up into a rhythm, for example, s-ai-d.
Children learn to spell new words and review past words every week, they practise spelling them with a partner and – when they’re ready – we give them a test to celebrate their spelling success.
How do we make writing simple for children to learn?
We teach handwriting, spelling and composition separately, gradually bringing each skill together step-by-step.
We teach children to form letters with the correct pencil grip and in the correct sitting position from the very beginning. They practise handwriting every day so they learn to write quickly and easily.
Once children can write simple words, we teach them to ‘hold’ a sentence in their heads and then write it with correct spelling and punctuation.
Very soon children are able to write down their own ideas. We try out different sentences together, drawing on new vocabulary and phrases from the storybook they’ve just read. They practise saying their sentences out loud first so they don’t forget their ideas while they’re writing. They also learn to proofread their own writing using ready-made sentences containing common grammar, punctuation and spelling errors.
Story and poetry time
Storytime is the highlight of every day. We have a bank of fairy stories that children get to know really well, and others we read just for fun. You can find the list of fairy stories on our school’s website so you can read different versions to your children at home. Children learn to retell the story, learn the refrains by heart and act out the stories in the role-play area. Children learn poetry too. We’ve chosen wonderful, memorable poems so children can learn them by heart. The poems focus upon feelings and situations with which young children are likely to be familiar, e.g. bedtime, siblings and feeling poorly.
How can you help at home?
First of all, come to our meetings. We hold these every term to give you practical advice about how you can help.
We appreciate you’re busy but here are two things that will make the biggest difference to your child’s progress. Every night:
Read a bedtime story to your child.
1. Your child will bring home lovely books from their class story corner. Read these stories to your child – don’t ask them to read the story themselves as this is beyond their current reading stage. There is some really good advice about how to make bedtime storytime fun onwww.ruthmiskin.com/parents.
2. Listen to your child read the storybook we send home.
Your child will bring home a Read Write Inc. Storybook they have just finished reading in their group. They will be able to read this book confidently because they have already read it two or three times. Please do not say “This book is too easy!” Praise your child for how well they read it – celebrate what a great reader they are. They’ll sometimes bring home previous stories they have read too. Re-reading stories develops their fluency on every reading. There’s more good advice on how to listen to your child read onwww.ruthmiskin.com/parents.
Background, Research and Early Reading Rationale
Bold Beginnings (The Reception curriculum in a sample of good and outstanding primary schools) November 2017 Ofsted
A good early education is the foundation for later success. For too many children, however, their Reception year is a missed opportunity that can leave them exposed to all the painful and unnecessary consequences of falling behind their peers.
Reading was at the heart of the curriculum in the most successful classes. Listening to stories, poems and rhymes fed children’s imagination, enhanced their vocabulary and developed their comprehension. Systematic phonics played a critical role in teaching children the alphabetic code and, since this knowledge is also essential for spelling, good phonics teaching supported children’s early writing.
Successful schools made sure that they gave reading, writing and mathematics in their Reception classes sufficient direct teaching time every day, with frequent opportunities for children to practise and consolidate their growing knowledge. The headteachers made sure that their curriculum was fit for purpose, so that children were equipped to meet the challenges of Year 1 and beyond.
The Rose Report 2006 Independent review of the teaching of early reading. (Although an old document, this is still very relevant to today.)
It is important for schools to offer a coherent reading programme in which ‘quality first teaching’ as defined by the Primary National Strategy and intervention work are closely linked. While interventions for children with reading difficulties will always be necessary, the need for them is likely to be much reduced by ‘quality first teaching’. This is because such teaching identifies incipient reading difficulties, and this enables appropriate support to be provided quickly, thus minimising the risk of children falling behind. It follows that investments in ‘quality first teaching’ not only brings greatest benefit to children but is also likely to yield the greatest value for money.
The Early Years Statutory Framework 2014
Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
Specific areas Reading: children read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.
Key Stage 1 The National Curriculum 2014
Teachers should develop pupils’ reading and writing in all subjects to support their acquisition of knowledge. Pupils should be taught to read fluently, understand extended prose (both fiction and non-fiction) and be encouraged to read for pleasure. Schools should do everything to promote wider reading. They should provide library facilities and set ambitious expectations for reading at home.
A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.
It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in word reading and comprehension; different kinds of teaching are needed for each. Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (i.e. unskilled readers) when they start school.
Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.
During year 1, teachers should build on work from the Early Years Foundation Stage, making sure that pupils can sound and blend unfamiliar printed words quickly and accurately using the phonic knowledge and skills that they have already learnt. Teachers should also ensure that pupils continue to learn new grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and revise and consolidate those learnt earlier. The understanding that the letter(s) on the page represent the sounds in spoken words should underpin pupils’ reading and spelling of all words. This includes common words containing unusual GPCs. The term ‘common exception words’ is used throughout the programmes of study for such words.
Alongside this knowledge of GPCs, pupils need to develop the skill of blending the sounds into words for reading and establish the habit of applying this skill whenever they encounter new words. This will be supported by practice in reading books consistent with their developing phonic knowledge and skill and their knowledge of common exception words. At the same time, they will need to hear, share and discuss a wide range of high-quality books to develop a love of reading and broaden their vocabulary.’
By the beginning of year 2, pupils should be able to read all common graphemes. They should be able to read unfamiliar words containing these graphemes, accurately and without undue hesitation, by sounding them out in books that are matched closely to each pupil’s level of word reading knowledge. They should also be able to read many common words containing GPCs taught so far [for example, shout, hand, stop, or dream], without needing to blend the sounds out loud first. Pupils’ reading of common exception words [for example, you, could, many, or people], should be secure. Pupils will increase their fluency by being able to read these words easily and automatically. Finally, pupils should be able to retell some familiar stories that have been read to and discussed with them or that they have acted out during year 1.
During year 2, teachers should continue to focus on establishing pupils’ accurate and speedy word reading skills. They should also make sure that pupils listen to and discuss a wide range of stories, poems, plays and information books; this should include whole books. The sooner that pupils can read well and do so frequently, the sooner they will be able to increase their vocabulary, comprehension and their knowledge across the wider curriculum.
The Big Picture at Greenacres...
Our Early Reading Action Plan for 2019-2020