Reading and Phonics
How we teach Reading and Phonics
We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as learning to read.
At Whitehill Primary School, we use Read Write Inc Phonics/Reading.
Read, Write Inc is a tried and tested, highly successful phonics programme for children aged 4 to 7 who are learning to read and write. It teaches children how to both decode and understand written language to become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. This is achieved by a dynamic approach to teaching phonics that is consistent across the school using the Read, Write Inc phonics resources and fully decodable reading books.
Children are grouped according to their ability in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 to ensure that teaching is matched to their level. Phonics in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 takes place on a daily basis. Children in Key Stage 2 that still require phonics teaching, continue with a specially tailored programme (RWInc) to meet their individual needs.
Shared Reading forms part of the daily phonics lessons and is led by the reading teachers. All texts are linked to the child's phonic ability. Children enjoy one focus text per week and learning activities support accurate and fluent reading to facilitate comprehension. In addition, children take fully decodable reading books home to further practise skills learnt at school. These books are matched to each child's phonics ability and are closly monitored by the reading teachers to ensure that children are reading books of an appropriate level. The home reading book is changed twice a week to ensure that to book has been read enough times to develop and speedy and fluent reading when read by the child, this enables them to spend less time segmenting and blending words and more time understanding what has been read, developing their comprehension skills. Each child visits the school library every week to select a book of their choice to share at home.
We start by teaching phonics to the children in the Reception class. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the (Phonemes) sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down (Graphemes). This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well.
We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters. Once the children have learnt to blend accurately, they start to read with fluency. This is achieved through speedy reading of individual words and repeated reads of their shared reading books. 'Tricky words' such as 'once' 'said' 'the' are not phonetically decodable and these are taught explicitly as part of the reading session. To develop the child's love of stories, we have dedicated story time, across all Key Stages, daily. The teachers read to the children so that they get to know a variety of stories, poetry and information books. They acquire new vocabulary through our word aware teaching, which focuses on embedding new words into their authographic memory.
Children who join the School throughout the year are quickly assessed in phonics and put in the correct group according to their phonics ability. Children progress from Read Write Inc. Phonics to the Read Write Inc. Comprehension in Year 2.
Read, Write Inc. has 5 underlying principles – the five Ps:
1. PACE – no time is wasted during teaching sessions! Children are active and involved in a fun and creative way. The aim is for the children to complete the programme as quickly as possible.
2. PRAISE – teachers praise the children constantly throughout the teaching sessions. Children learn more quickly when they are praised for what they do well, rather than nagged for what they do wrong. The children are encouraged to praise each other and as a school we have developed several ‘Praise Phrases’ and ‘Praise actions’. Ask your child to demonstrate!
3. PURPOSE – each activity has a very clear purpose. The teacher will set this purpose at the beginning of the lesson so that the children know exactly what they will be learning.
4. PARTICIPATION – all children take part in all parts of the lesson. Full participation is gained through partner work and choral response.
5. PASSION – as a staff we are passionate about our teaching and the benefits of the Read, Write Inc. programme! We love teaching the sessions and this enthusiasm rubs off onto the children.
Oxford Owl is a free website built to support you with your child’s learning. You’ll find age-specific reading and maths tips and activities, eBooks, and lots of fun ideas to really bring your child’s learning to life. You will also find support and advice on a range of questions you may have – including helping your child with their phonics, motivating boys to read and ensuring your child is doing their best in maths.
This website provides information about the national Bookstart scheme and the Bookstart packs that your child will receive as a baby, a toddler and at age three to four. It also gives information about sharing books with your child. You can find out about Bookstart events in your area, which you can attend with your child.
What can I do to help?
Reading stories to your child
1. Read the same stories aloud again and again
2. Read with enthusiasm – love each story
3. Use a range of vocabulary with your child.
Listening to your child read
1. Listen to your child read the same Read Write Inc. Storybook again and again.
2. Encourage them to use ’Special Friends’, ‘Fred Talk’, ‘read the word’.
3. Discuss the story and encourage their storyteller voice.
Files to download
Below are some videos that may be useful. They model pronunciation, how we teach blending and how we teach complex words.
Information about Phonics for parents from the DfE can be downloaded here.
Year 1 Phonics Screening Check
The phonics screening check is statutory and comprises of a short and simple assessment of phonic decoding. It consists of a list of 40 words, half real words and half non-words, which Year 1 children read to a teacher. Administering the assessment usually takes between four and nine minutes per child.
The check is designed to confirm whether individual pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard and have grasped the essential skills that underpin good reading.
Pupils who have not reached the standard at the end of Year 1 receive extra support to ensure they can improve their phonic decoding skills. They have the opportunity to retake the screening check in Year 2.