How we teach Reading

(including Phonics)

Read Write Inc

We use the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme to support the teaching of Reading (including phonics) and writing, giving children a flying start with their literacy learning. RWI is a method of learning centred round letter sounds and phonics, and we use it to aid children in their reading and writing.

In phonic sessions children are taught to recognise letters, understand the sound they make and then blend them together to create words. Some words, which cannot be phonetically sounded out, are taught at each phase. These are ‘tricky words’ and are taught through sight recognition.

Children continue to apply their new knowledge of phonics, through regular interactive reading of texts with the teacher and their reading partner during the school day.

Oracy remains central to the teaching and understanding of reading, as children continue to extend their comprehension skills. During this crucial stage, great emphasis is placed on teaching children to use their growing knowledge of phonics and sight words to encourage them to read and write with increasing accuracy whilst developing their understanding of the writing process.

In 2012 a statutory check was introduced in Year 1. The check assesses phonics knowledge learnt in Reception and in Year 1. It was developed to help identify the children who need extra help with decoding and blending before they begin Year 2.

Phonics at Home

There are many great websites and apps to help support phonics learning at home. Here are some of our favourites used in school: – Buried Treasure, Dragons Den, Obb and Bob – help with pronunciation

Phonics Vocabulary

Phoneme – The smallest unit of sound. There are approximately 44 phonemes in English (it depends on different accents). Phonemes can be put together to make words.

Grapheme – A way of writing down a phoneme. Graphemes can be made up from 1 letter e.g. p, 2 letters e.g. sh, 3 letters e.g. tch or 4 letters e.g ough.

GPC – This is short for Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence. Knowing a GPC means being able to match a phoneme to a grapheme and vice versa.

Digraph – A grapheme containing two letters that makes just one sound (phoneme).

Trigraph – A grapheme containing three letters that makes just one sound (phoneme).

Blending – This involves looking at a written word, looking at each grapheme and using knowledge of GPCs to work out which phoneme each grapheme represents and then merging these phonemes together to make a word.

Segmenting – This involves hearing a word, splitting it up into the phonemes (sound talk/sounding out) that make it, using knowledge of GPCs to work out which graphemes represent those phonemes and then writing those graphemes down in the right order.

Alien words – These are ‘made up’ words which test children’s knowledge of known phonemes.

Read Write Inc. lessons

Children enjoy their RWI lessons immensely, rapidly learning a very complex alphabetic code which they apply to both reading and writing. RWI teaching begins formally in Reception, with the aim that most children complete the programme by the Autumn term of Year 2. Pupils from FS2 - Y2 are organised into groups that represent the phonic phase they they are currently mastering, with all groups being taught Phonics at the same time - currently first lesson in the day. There is also an additional class based phonics lesson after dinner.

Partner practice is embedded in every stage of the teaching cycle, ensuring children are given lots of opportunities to formulate and discuss their ideas, develop their comprehension and make links to their own experiences. Fostering a love of reading is one of our core purposes and we use a range of high quality storybooks to make explicit links to the RWI text children are reading in class.

From the very beginning of the programme, children’s writing skills are developed through phonetic knowledge. In Reception, children begin by practising forming written sounds (graphemes) and short, phonetically regular (green) words. Children soon move onto writing short, coherent sentences and later, descriptive, imaginative compositional pieces of writing. Lots of concrete experiences are provided during the teaching cycle to further support children’s writing, and the use of Read Write Inc. teaching strategies throughout the day reinforces children’s confidence in and enjoyment of literacy across the curriculum. To support your child with letter formation at home, these jingles may be helpful:

Oxford Reading Tree

Supplementing RWI Phonics, we predominantly use the Oxford Reading Tree series as home readers. Please ensure you read with your child every day.

Which Phonics Phase should my child be mastering?

The Phonics and Reading Plan for FS2 and KS1 will give you a clear indication of where your child should be in their phonics learning. Please do not worry if your child does not match this plan, speak to your child's class teacher.

School Reading Lists for each year group

If you would like further guidance on selecting books for your child, a useful starting point is the The School Reading List. This site recommends books for each year group and also for topics covered in school.