There has been a huge shift in the past few years in how we teach reading in school. This is having a big impact in helping many children learn to read and spell.
What is phonics and why is it so important?
Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them learn to read. It runs alongside other teaching methods such as Guided Reading and Shared Reading to help children develop all the other vital reading skills and hopefully give them a real love of reading.
At St. Anne’s, we use the Read Write Inc (RWI) scheme as the core of our teaching strategy for learning sounds in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1.
Children who read 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.
We can achieve this together through:
- Read Write Inc, a program to help to your child read at school
- Encouraging children to develop a love of books by reading to them daily, at home and at school
- Giving children access to a wide range of books at school and at home
We have put together a guide to how the RWI programme works together with some useful links.
Mrs Withey is our Read Write Inc lead teacher, so if you have questions about RWI, contact school who can refer you to her. Please take the time to read the information as it will provide invaluable information as to how you can help and support your child in reading.
What is Read Write Inc?
Read Write Inc (RWI) is a phonics complete literacy programme which helps all children learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling. At St. Anne’s we primarily use the sounds elemnt of the programme but will supplement guided reading with the fiction and non-fiction books when appropriate. We begin the programme in Reception and will continue teaching RWI to children beyond the age of 7 if they still need support in their reading.
RWI was developed by Ruth Miskin and more information on this can be found at https://ruthmiskin.com/en/find-out-more/parents/.
How will RWI be taught?
All children are assessed regularly by our RWI lead teacher so they work with children at the same level. This allows complete participation in lessons.
- learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts – see below
- learn to read words using Fred talk and sound blending
- read from a range of storybooks and non-fictions books matched to their phonic knowledge
- work well with partners
- develop comprehension skills in stories by answering 'Find It' and 'Prove It' discussion questions
Children will be taught how to read as follows:
- Before you start to teach your child, practise saying the sounds below.These are the sounds we use to speak in English.
- We use pure sounds (‘m’ not’ muh’,’s’ not ‘suh’, etc.) so that your child will be able to blend the sounds into words more easily.
- At school we use a puppet called Fred who is an expert on sounding out words! we call it, ‘Fred Talk’. E.g. m-o-p, c-a-t, m-a-n, sh-o-p, b-l-a-ck.
- The following video is an example of blending sounds with Fred.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEzfpod5w_Q
The children are taught the sounds in 3 sets.
- Step 1:
- Set 1 Sounds are taught in the following order together with rhymes to help children form the letters correctly and instantly recognise sounds ready for blending.
- Please do not use letter names at this early stage.
- Click hereto hear how to pronounce sounds correctly.
- Children will also use pictures for each sound to help recognise the sound and then form the shape of the sound.
- Step 2:
- The children are then taught Set 2 Sounds - the long vowels. When they are very confident with all of set 1 and 2 they are taught Set 3 Sounds.
- Nonsense words (Alien words)
- As well as learning to read and blend real words children will have plenty of opportunities to apply their sound recognition skills on reading ‘Nonsense words’. These words will also feature heavily in the Year One Phonics Screening check in the summer term. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yM87ZNIkBm0 for further information on the Screening check.
Children will be introduced to ‘Ditty books’ in Reception when they successfully begin to read single words. The short vowels should be kept short and sharp:
Children use sound-blending (Fred Talk) to read short ditties. Children will then be challenged to use their developing phonic knowledge to write short sentences.
Within all the books children will have red and green words to learn to help them to become speedy readers. Red words are words that are not easily decodable and challenge words to extend children’s vocabulary. Green words are linked to the sounds they have been learning and are easily decodable.
Phonics Screening Check Year One
What is the Year 1 phonics screening check?
The Year 1 phonics screening check is a short assessment in June to confirm whether individual pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard.
It will identify the children who need extra help so they are given support by their school to improve their reading skills. They will then be able to retake the check so that schools can track pupils until they are able to decode.
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://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
http://www.firstschoolyears.com/ - fun games for the children to play
Sparklebox - lots of resources to print off and help you support your child at home
BBC Bitesize - many games to play covering all areas of the curriculum