Children who read regularly or are read to regularly have the opportunity to open the doors to so many different worlds. More importantly, reading will give your child the tools to become independent life-long learners.
How we teach Phonics at Parklands Community Primary School
Read Write Inc Phonics
At Parklands Community Primary School, we believe that learning to read is the most important skill your child will master. That’s why we have adopted a cohesive, engaging and progressive phonics programme – Read, Write, Inc (RWI) that all of our children can access. Everything depends on early reading and phonics, so we ensure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.
Read Write Inc. is devoted to teaching children skills in reading, spelling and handwriting through the lively and vigorous teaching of synthetic phonics. It is centred around the teaching of phonics and helping children progress through 44 common sounds in the English language. Pupils learn how to sound-blend words for reading (decoding) at the same time as developing handwriting skills and spelling (encoding). This enables them to become fluent and confident readers. The children have the pleasure of reading exciting, decodable storybooks perfectly matched to their level so that they have early success in reading. As children progress, they also develop comprehension and vocabulary skills which they apply to their writing.
How is RWI taught?
We begin teaching the programme in Nursery, when children are ready, up to Year 2. We continue providing the programme and further support to those children beyond Year 2 if they still need support in their reading.
Children are taught in small groups with a trained RWI teacher or TA for 40 minutes a day. Your child might also access RWI interventions in the afternoon if they need extra support with phonics and reading. All children are assessed every 6-7 weeks by our RWI reading lead. This allows total consistency in knowing what stage each child is at and ensuring the pitch of each lesson is completely right for them.
Five key principles underpin the teaching in all Read Write Inc. sessions:
Purpose – know the purpose of every activity and share it with the children, so they know the one thing they should be thinking about
Participation – ensure every child participates throughout the lesson. Partnership work is fundamental to learning
Praise – ensure children are praised for effort and learning, not ability
Pace – teach at an effective pace and devote every moment to teaching and learning
Passion – be passionate about teaching so children can be engaged emotionally
When appropriate, children will be introduced to the initial sounds in short five minutes sessions with their teacher or TA.
From September, all children are taught for up to 20 minutes in the morning, in a structured RWI lesson. All children will learn how to ‘read’ the sound separately, before reading it in short words. Once children know 4 or 5 sounds, they will learn how to blend the sounds in simple words, using magnetic letters – where children are taught specific RWI techniques to support their early reading e.g. ‘Fred talk, read the word.’ They will also learn how these sounds are written – the symbol. We do not refer to letter names at this stage.
Please see below for a general guide on how reading develops through the RWI programme from Reception.
Year One and Two
Children are grouped again according to their current phonic level and assessed every 6 weeks. Children continue to develop phonic skills in learning more complex sounds and all books are matched to their reading level. Daily sessions of RWI phonics last for 40 minutes. As children progress through the groups, they continue to develop confidence and fluency, meaning they can access other reading books that are pitched closely to their phonic level, but not fully decodable. This is so children are experiencing a breadth of authors, genres and narratives – which is fundamental in their development of becoming a successful reader.
The following elements form parts of your child’s RWI session
Reading – Children will:
- learn to read 44 sounds using simple picture prompts – see below
- learn to read words using Fred talk and sound blending
- read a series of words in short captions. We call these ‘ditties’
- read a range of fully decodable RWI storybooks, matched to their phonic knowledge
- develop comprehension skills through discussion and answering ‘Find It’ and ‘Prove It’ questions
Writing – Children will:
- learn to write and form sound symbols (letters) and letter groups which represent the 44 sounds with the help of fun phrases
- learn to spell words by using ‘Fred Talk’ and ‘Fred fingers’
Talking – Children will:
- work in pairs to discuss story points
- answer questions and support others
- practise every activity with their partner
- take turns in talking and reading to each other
- develop ambitious vocabulary
Children are assessed every 6 weeks by our reading lead – Mrs Posner.
Depending on their current phonological knowledge, children are assessed on their accuracy and speed of the speed sounds that they have been taught, including alien words and green words. Children who are reading RWI books at blue level and beyond are also expected to read a passage from unfamiliar stories, to see how they are applying their knowledge of sounds and the speed in which they are reading – fluency, pace and accuracy.
From here, children are then re-grouped into the next group colour. If children have not made progress or are not yet fluent readers, they will remain in the same group for the time being, with additional support timetabled for them. This could be 1:1 interventions or small group interventions with trained TAs. All staff meet frequently with the reading lead to discuss key children in their group who are not keeping up and need extra support, even during RWI sessions.
Where can I find out more information?
Parents are welcome to come into school to speak to their child’s teacher or the Phonics and English leaders who oversee the programme, Mrs Posner and Ms Hughes.
For general information on the Read Write Inc programme, parents may find out more via the website link below:
Useful websites for Parents
Please find a list of websites that you may find useful in helping you and your child learn about phonics. Games and fun activity websites are also included.
http://jollylearning.co.uk/ – Games and information for parents
http://www.phonicsplay.co.uk/ – many games to play
http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks1/literacy/phonics/play/ – fun games for the children to play
http://www.ictgames.com/literacy.html – fun games for the children to play