At Holy Trinity we use the Read, Write Inc. (RWI) programme to teach phonics in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. This is a systematic teaching of synthetic phonics and is a highly successful way of developing children’s reading, spelling and language.
Phonics is an approach to teaching reading and spelling that enables a child to identify, blend and segment the individual ‘phonemes’ or sounds that combine to form words. The term synthetic phonics refers to the direct, systematic and usually swift teaching of the phonic code; blending for reading and segmenting for spelling. The materials and resources that we use to do this are from the phonics programme Read, Write Inc. The children learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts and rhymes. These sounds enable children to initially blend the sounds together to read. They do this by reading lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out. After meaningful discussion led by an adult, children show that they comprehend the stories by answering questions.
In Read, Write Inc. we use pure sounds (‘m’ not’ muh’,’s’ not ‘suh’, etc.) so that the pupils will be able to blend the sounds into words more easily.
We have a phonics expert: Fred the Frog who can do this beautifully!
When we say words in sounds we call it ‘Fred Talk’, e.g. d-o-g, c-a-t, r-ai-n, f-l-oa-t.
Children will also learn to read ‘Tricky Red Words’, which are the words in the English language which do not follow a rule. For example ‘the’ ‘said’ ‘you’ ‘what’.
Children are grouped across Foundation Stage and Key Stage One into Read, Write Inc. groups of similar levels of attainment. They have a Read, Write Inc. session every day for up to 1 hour. (20 minutes in Nursery, up to 1 hour in FS and 1 hour in KS1). During these sessions children practise recall of sounds, learn new sounds and apply this learning to reading and spelling. Children are assessed and regrouped every 6 weeks to monitor progression of learning.
In Year One children will complete a Phonics Screening Check. This is a statutory test set by the government. Children are given 20 words and 20 pseudo-words (nonsense) made up of the 44 sounds children learn within Read, Write Inc. The results of these tests are published nationally and highlighted to parents at the end of the academic year.
All children in FS and KS1 are given a decodable RWI phonics book bag which accurately matches their attainment level in phonics. The children will have been taught all the sounds and Tricky Red Words in their phonic sessions within school so they should be able to sound out and read the story accurately. Children will have read this book with an adult in school first before it is sent home. They will have this book for a week, then it will be replaced with the next story. During this week children should be encouraged to re-read the story as much a possible to build fluency and confidence in their reading. Adults should ask children questions about their reading and understanding to develop comprehension skills. Although it is essential that children are able to read and understand stories, it is also important that they develop a love of reading. At home there should be dedicated story times where a child is able to choose their favourite story for an adult to read to them. Re-reading these stories to children again and again allow for children to join in with the repetition and helps to develop language skills. We ask all pupils across the school to read at home as often as possible. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to talk to your child’s teacher.