Phonics and Reading
Throughout Foundation, Year 1 and Year 2 the children learning to segment and blend sounds and words through Ruth Miskin’s synthetic phonics programme Read Write Inc. Each morning the children will attend their Read Write Inc. sessions with their RWI teacher, developing their knowledge of phonics to learn to read and write about a variety of engaging topics. We will be working on different target sounds each week enabling the children to blend and segment when they read.
Phonics, Intent, Implementation and Impact
At Devoran School, we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers. We believe that Read, Write, Inc. phonics provides the foundations of learning for children to make the development into fluent readers.
Learning to read is one of the most important skills that your child will acquire at our school. Reading is the key that unlocks the whole curriculum and so, the ability to decode is essential. As such, the teaching of phonics is of high priority and we put as much energy as we possibly can, into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.
Read, Write, Inc. is an inclusive programme for all children learning to read. Children joining us in Foundation Stage begin their ‘reading journey’ immediately. They learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and how to blend them to read and spell. The use of pictures and memorable phrases is used to aid children’s retention and recall of phonemes for reading and spelling.
Read, Write Inc. sessions occur every day, with no exceptions, as the continuity and pace of the programme is key to the children’s reading progress. All staff have up to date training which is backed up with regular coaching opportunities from the Reading Leader. The expectation is that cover will be provided in the event of any staff absence to ensure provision is consistent and uninterrupted.
We want our children to establish an appreciation and love of reading at all stages of their learning journey. We are committed to sharing high quality and vocabulary rich texts across the curriculum so that children may develop knowledge of themselves and the world around them. We encourage our pupils to discover new information and develop their comprehension skills by reading widely using both fiction and non-fiction texts which (where possible) are linked to their topics across the curriculum.
We will support all children to learn to read through clear leadership; consistent teaching and learning approaches; regular monitoring and assessment. Reading teachers, with support from the Reading Lead and SLT, draw upon careful observations and continuous assessment to ensure children are challenged and to quickly identify children who may need additional support. Summative assessment of all children is carried out by the Reading Lead (to ensure consistency), every six weeks. Timely intervention is planned for those children working below expected levels as soon as their needs are identified.
The systematic teaching of phonics is of high importance in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 and our expectation is that the majority of children will complete the programme during Year 2, with some as early as the end of Year 1. Pupils in lower Key Stage 2 who need extra support with decoding, continue to follow the programme before starting the Fresh Start intervention in Year 4, if necessary.
Pupils start Read, Write Inc. as soon as they join us in Foundation Stage. We appreciate that our youngest children come from very different starting points and so, using the document, ‘Making a Strong Start,’ as guidance, we teach whole class sessions for the first six weeks. During this time, we undertake a baseline assessment of the children’s communication and language, reading and writing skills. After six weeks, the Reading Leader checks progress again using the Read, Write Inc. assessment framework and children are streamed into smaller groups accordingly to their ability. We monitor children who have made the least progress very carefully and put in place 1:1 intervention support, which is carried out daily in order for children to ‘keep up, not catch up.’
Read, Write, Inc. phonics is presented in a simple but exciting format by staff who are passionate about teaching children how to read. First, we teach pupils the different pictures that relate to the sounds in the programme. This is followed by learning one way to read and write the first 40+ sounds in English, using the pictures to help identify the different sounds.
We use a Frog called Fred to play ‘Fred Talk’ games to help with oral blending and to assist pupils when reading words by sound-blending. Fred says the sound and children help him blend the sounds to read each word. Then we teach the children different spellings of the same sounds and use phrases to help them remember each sound, for example, ‘may I play?’ accompanies the ay sound. We refer to speed sounds charts so that pupils can begin to make connections between the different graphemes they are learning to represent the sounds.
We want pupils to work together so teamwork is a key part of the RWI sessions. Partner work is very important; the teacher observes and checks what they know and only moves on when pupils are ready.
Read, Write Inc. materials, including a frieze of sounds and their corresponding pictures, alongside simple and complex speed sound charts are clearly displayed at the front of all FS and KS1 classrooms.
How do we develop the home school reading partnership?
Families joining us in Foundation Stage are invited to a parent’s workshop during the first half of the Autumn term. This is always very well attended and provides support for parents new to synthetic phonics as well as information on how to encourage their child’s development of phonics at home.
All families with children completing Read, Write Inc. have access to an online resource which is updated weekly. The ‘Padlet’ is packed with information and ideas on supporting reading at home. It also details which sounds have been taught/reviewed that week, as well as texts that have been covered and discussed.
All children have reading books to take home which are changed at least once a week. There are progressive ‘storybooks’ for each colour band on the Read, Write, Inc. scheme which are read in school. Relating to each focus ‘storybook’ is a ‘book bag’ book. These books are fully decodable and matched to an individual’s current ability, we want children to look forward to sharing these books at home, where they should be able to share the story confidently with some expression or a ‘storyteller’ voice. Other linked story books or ambitious texts are also accessible that can be read alongside, with some support.
Through the teaching of Read, Write, Inc. our aim is for children to become confident, readers, with a secure knowledge of phonics by the end of Key Stage 1. With decoding taught as the prime approach to reading, pupils will become familiar with this strategy and have the confidence to work out unfamiliar words in any new texts they encounter even when they have come to the end of the scheme.
Children will be able to apply their phonic knowledge to confidently spell many words either correctly or phonetically, using the sounds they have learnt. They will know spelling alternatives for different sounds and be able to apply these consistently.
Pupils will have the opportunity to develop their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school: accessing a range of texts independently. Our aim is that children will make expected progress, or more and most importantly, develop a life-long love of reading.
Attainment in reading is measured using statutory assessments such as the EYFSP and Year 1 phonics screening check. Additionally, we track our own reading attainment using the half termly Read, Write, Inc assessments, Progress in Reading Assessment (PiRA) combined with ongoing teacher judgements.
Reading Across KS2
In KS2, children follow a daily literacy and language personalised programme with links to the wider curriculum which equips them with the skills to read and understand texts confidently, write fluently, think critically and articulate thoughts and ideas clearly.
From Year 2 onwards, children participate in guided reading with a focus on:
Read - decode
Retrieve – retrieve information
Explore – different authors, their language and viewpoint
Analyse – structure and organisation
Deduce – make logical conclusions from information given in the text and inferring by having the ability to go beyond the information provided in the text
Spellings will link to the Read Write Inc program where the children will learn and practice different sounds and words from their weekly focus book, culminating in a weekly spelling test. We also use the Spelling Pathways programme to ensure rapid progress for all children across the school.
As part of our Read Write Inc program, the children will have the opportunity to extend their ability to write and edit sentences and short texts. The children will have writing sessions everyday linked to our theme learning and Science topics, where they will orally rehearse and develop their ideas and write from a range of stimulus such as: poetry, information texts, instructions and storytelling linked to our topics other areas of the curriculum. Once a week we also have a ‘sustained writing’ session where children have an extended period of time to write independently. We also teach handwriting a minimum of three times a week in order to develop children’s fine motor skills and cursive script to aid writing fluency.
Within class in all years, teachers also plan exciting writing tasks into their curriculum topic which engage the children and provide opportunities for them to practise the key skills pertinent to their year group.