Early Reading - Phonics
How We Teach Early Reading
At Parkhead we use the Read, Write Inc. programme to teach phonics. This is a well-established programme and staff are very experienced in teaching the programme and have had extensive training. Regular peer observation and coaching ensures a high quality and consistent delivery of the approach.
We aim for children to be fluent readers by the age of seven. RWInc is taught on a daily basis in Early Years, Year 1 and Year 2 however, it runs through the whole curriculum and needs to be applied especially, during literacy and reading. In addition to teaching phonics, RWInc incorporates the Key Stage 1 spelling curriculum e.g. children learn to read suffixes and prefixes and can begin to spell them correctly in their writing. This brings it in line with current DfE guidance regarding schools using validated programmes to teach phonics.
During nursery and from the moment they come into Reception the children are exposed to a wide range of activities that concentrate on developing children’s speaking and listening skills, phonological awareness and oral blending and segmenting. These are essential skills if they are to successful access the phonics lessons. These skills are embedded into the daily routines and continuous provision within the EYFS.
We start teaching phonics to the children in Reception. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well. We use the Read Write Inc Phonics Scheme, which was devised by Ruth Miskin. Read Write Inc uses images and rhymes to support the children’s recall and letter formation e.g. a – apple – round the apple and down the leaf. First, they learn one way to read the 40+ common sounds in the English language and blend these sounds into words, then learn to read the same sounds with alternative graphemes (decoding). At the same time the children are developing handwriting skills and segmenting for spelling (encoding). The children are taught to blend these words together in ‘Green words’ and ‘Fred the Frog’ who can only speak in pure sounds helps use to practise this. The children also practise reading (and spelling) red word which can’t be sounded out, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’.
Read Write Inc has five principles, known as the five Ps.
- Pace – The programme is designed for the children to complete it as quickly as possible. Teaching should be energetic and rigorous, to ensure that no time is wasted.
- Praise a lot – Children learn more quickly when they are praised for what they do well.
- Purpose - The purpose of the teaching is made clear through modelling by the teacher and by encouraging the children to think out loud.
- Participation – All children take part in all aspects of the phonics lesson.
- Passion – The teaching must be larger than life so children engage in the learning. The greater the passion, the faster the progress.
Children learn ONE thing at a time and practice it until it becomes second nature. They learn at their GOLDILOCKS spot (not too easy, not too hard) with others at a similar challenge level. No time is wasted
How the children are taught this in school
Once the children have settled into school they are taught the first sounds as a whole class. After the first 4 weeks in Reception the children are assessed and grouped according to the appropriate level of challenge for them. Children are taught in these small phonics groups for 30 minutes each day initially. This session length increases in line with the children’s attention and reading skills. For those children who find it harder to develop phonological awareness, oral blending or retain sounds, then they will receive additional support in small groups or 1-2-1 at other points in the day. Each half term the children are reassessed and the groups are changed accordingly. We aim that all children would be through the RWI scheme by the end of year 1. However, daily RWI lessons continue for those who need it in year 2 and further up the school, where appropriate.
Reading at home
As part of the RWI scheme, children read books that are precisely matched to the sounds they know. Once your child is able to blend cvc words confidently, a reading book matched to this level will be sent home. This will be changed weekly to enable the children to reread the book a number of times to build fluency and confidence. The children should be able to develop the ability to read many of the words by sight and allow them to concentrate on their understanding of the text and the expression with which they read. A reading diary will accompany this book so any adults who read with your child, both and home and in school, can share their comments and praise. This helps to support and motivate the child as well as share valuable information about your child’s progress.
In year Reception and Year 1, we have annual reading meetings to share with parents how their children are being taught phonics in school and how they can support at home. However, if you have any other questions please contact your class teacher who will be able to answer them specifically for your child.
The video below will help you if you would like to get a better understanding of what phonics is, how your RWInc. Phonics is taught it and how to support them.