Reading and Phonics
Children in Reception and Key Stage 1 follow the RWI (Read, Write Inc) Phonics Scheme. It is an approach to teaching phonics in which individual letters or letter sounds are blended to form groups of letters or sounds, and those groups are then blended to form complete words. Our children progress onto RWI Spelling once they can read with accuracy and speed.
Read Write Inc. Phonics
The programme is for:
• Pupils in Year R to Year 2 who are learning to read and write
• Any pupils in Years 2, 3 and 4 who need to catch up rapidly
In Read Write Inc. Phonics pupils:
• Decode letter-sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly, using their phonic knowledge and skills • Read common exception words on sight
• Understand what they read
• Read aloud with fluency and expression
• Write confidently, with a strong focus on vocabulary and grammar
• Spell quickly and easily by segmenting the sounds in words
• Acquire good handwriting.
In addition, we teach pupils to work effectively with a partner to explain and consolidate what they are learning. This provides the teacher with opportunities to assess learning and to pick up on difficulties, such as pupils’ poor articulation, or problems with blending or alphabetic code knowledge.
We group pupils homogeneously, according to their progress in reading rather than their writing. This is because it is known that pupils’ progress in writing will lag behind progress in reading, especially for those whose motor skills are less well developed.
In Year R we emphasise the alphabetic code. The pupils rapidly learn sounds and the letter or groups of letters they need to represent them. Simple mnemonics help them to grasp this quickly. This is especially useful for pupils at risk of making slower progress. This learning is consolidated daily.
Pupils have frequent practice in reading high frequency words with irregular spellings – common exception words. We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and the common exception words. This is so that, early on, they experience success and gain confidence that they are readers. Re-reading and discussing these books with the teacher supports their increasingly fluent decoding. Alongside this, the teachers read a wide range of stories, poetry and non-fiction to pupils; they are soon able to read these texts for themselves.
Embedding the alphabetic code early on means that pupils quickly learn to write simple words and sentences. We encourage them to compose each sentence aloud until they are confident to write independently. We make sure they write every day. Pupils write at the level of their spelling knowledge. The quality of the vocabulary they use in their writing reflects the language they have heard in the books the teacher has read to them; they have also discussed what the words mean.
Our aim is for pupils to complete the phonics programme as quickly as possible. The sooner they complete it, the sooner they will be able to choose books to read at their own interest and comprehension level.
There are two elements to reading that your child will develop; word reading (phonics) and language comprehension. All of the teaching and activities around reading that the school puts in place will be aimed at supporting one of these elements.
Children in Reception, who are at the very beginning of their ‘learning to read journey’ will begin with sound cards to practice at home and a book mark with different words to read. They will be issued home reading books from the ‘Read Write Inc. Book Bag Scheme’ when they are confident with Set 1 Sounds, can blend simple words together and are using the Red Story Books within the classroom.
Book Bag Books – Home Reading
When starting their learning to read journey, the children will bring home two reading books a week from the Read Write Inc. Phonics Scheme. Books are changed in coordination with the learning happening within the classroom.
Book 1 – Phonetically Matched
The first book will be linked directly to the stage of phonics and word reading for each individual child. This will build upon the ideas, and contain many of the words in the Storybook, they have just read in the classroom. The child may need some help sounding out and blending some of the words in these books but this will match the sounds they have been learning that week.
Book 2 – Fluency Development
The second RWI Book Bag Book will be selected from a previously taught set of Story books. The children should be able to confidently and fluently read these books aloud with very little support. This is to help them build their speed and accuracy when reading aloud. Children in Reception will begin with their second book once they have completed the first set of Story books.
Book 3 – Reading for Pleasure
There will also be a third book sent home from the class library each week. This book will be chosen by the child to encourage and foster a love of reading. This book is to be enjoyed together at home. The children can join in on any repeated refrains or read any familiar words they may have already learnt. These books are great for a discussion around the events in the story or for predicting and questioning what might happen next.
As a school, we feel the RWI Book Bag Home Reading Scheme will be very beneficial for our younger children who are at the beginning of their ‘learning to read’ journey, closely matching phonetic ability to the books they are being asked to read.
Oxford Owl Reading Scheme
Once your child has completed all of the stages of the Read, Write, Inc. Phonics Scheme, they will move on to the Oxford Owl Reading Scheme, with a choice of longer texts. Their books will be changed once they have been read at home. The children will also continue to choose a book from the school library.
Oxford Reading Buddy
At Prestolee, we also subscribe to Oxford Reading Buddy. This is a digital reading service to support children’s reading development at home as well as at school. Oxford Reading Buddy contains hundreds of digital books and book-quizzes all matched to each child’s reading ability. Children can earn badges for good reading behaviours, be coached in their understanding by their personal ‘Reading Buddy’, take quizzes and record all the reading they do. Progress and attainment is captured making this an excellent assessment tool.