As a school we have implemented a phonics and reading programme called Read, Write, Inc.
Learning to read is the most important thing your child can learn. Everything else depends on it, so we want to put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible. We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read. Once children can confidently read, we want to make sure they have a firm understanding about a text and get as much enjoyment out of reading as possible.
The aim of the phonics curriculum is to teach children to read quickly and skillfully and provide them with reading and writing skills to access other curriculum areas. The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage One and we are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We acknowledge that children need to be taught the key skills in segmenting and blending to be equipped with the knowledge to be able to complete the phonics check at the end of Year One. We also value and encourage the pupils to read for enjoyment and recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending skills.
Reading and phonics are prioritised to allow pupils to access the full curriculum. In order to build secure blending and segmenting skills, children must be fully immersed in a strong foundation of early phonics in their early years (Nursery and Reception) and experience an effectively taught synthetics phonics curriculum in Reception and Key Stage One. Phonics is taught daily and we follow a rigorous and sequential approach that develops pupils’ fluency, confidence and enjoyment in reading and writing. We use Read Write Inc. resources to help support our children as they learn to hear, say, read and write sounds and words, captions and sentences. During these sessions’ children practice speed sounds, oral blending and segmenting. Phonics lessons are fast-paced and repetitive in order to introduce, recall and embed learning. At all stages, phonics attainment is assessed, and gaps are addressed quickly and effectively for all pupils with interventions are planned for those children who are working below expected levels. Pupils have regular reading sessions with an adult to ensure pupils are regularly practicing and applying their phonics knowledge. Children are matched with phonetically decodable reading books which match their current phonics ability and they can chose a library book to take home to develop their enjoyment of books.
There is a strong focus on ensuring that younger children gain phonics knowledge and the language comprehension necessary to read, as well as the skills to communicate, giving them the foundations for future learning. Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. Attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of Reception, Key Stage One and Two. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1. However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our phonics curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessment
How will my child be taught to read?
We start by teaching phonics to the children in the Reception class. This means that they learn how to identify the individual 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 teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters.
What can I do to help? Is there anything that I shouldn't do?
Help your child to sound out the letters in words and then to blend the sounds together to make a whole word. Help your child to focus on the sounds rather than the letter names. You can hear how to say the sounds correctly by searching on YouTube for ‘Read Write Inc. Phonemes Pronunciation Guide’
Your child will learn letter sounds in a certain order which are set out below.
Speed Sounds Set 1
To begin with we learn a sound a day. We use pure sounds so that your child will be able to blend the sounds into words more easily.
Letter-sound pictures are used to help your child learn these sounds quickly.
e.g. mmaisie mmmountain is morphed into m, t-t-t-tower is morphed into t
Set 1 sounds are taught in the following order:
m a s d t, i n p g o, c k u b, f e l h sh, r j v y w, th z ch qu x ng nk
We call sounds with more than one letter ‘special friends’. This means that two letters are making one sound
Speed Sounds Sets 2 and 3: The long vowels
Once your child knows all Set 1 sounds by sight and sound and uses them to blend to read words, we start teaching Set 2 initially and then Set 3 long vowel sounds. Your child will need to learn that most vowel sounds have more than one spelling.
There are 12 Set 2 speed sounds that are made up of special friends, for example ay as in play, ee as in tree. If you ask your child to find the special friends in a word, they will know they are looking for two letters that make one sound.
When your child learns their Set 2 sounds in school they will learn:
* the special friends that represent a speed sound e.g. ow
* a simple picture prompt linked to the speed sound and a short phrase to say e.g. blow the snow
Every speed sound has a list of green words linked to it, so your child can segment and blend words containing the new speed sound they have just learnt, for example s-p-r-ay * spray.
Set 2 and 3 sounds are taught in the following order:
ay: may I play
ee: what can you see
igh: fly high
ow: blow the snow
oo: poo at the zoo
oo: look at a book
ar: start the car
or: shut the door
air: that’s not fair
ir: whirl and twirl
ou: shout it out
oy: toy for a boy
ea: cup of tea
oi: spoil the boy
a-e: make a cake
i-e: nice smile
o-e: phone home
u-e: huge brute
aw: yawn at dawn
are: share and care
ur: purse for a nurse
er: a better letter
ow: brown cow
ai: snail in the rain
oa: goat in a boat
ew: chew the stew
ire: fire fire!
ear: hear with your ear
ure: sure it’s pure?
tion: pay attention it’s a celebration
tious / cious: scrumptious delicious
We want to promote a love of reading and you can help by sharing stories at home. Listening to your child read will help them to embed the sound they have learnt that day. The more practice your child gets, the more confidence they will gain with their reading. Reading is an essential skill and it applies to all areas of learning. Help get children interested in reading by talking about stories and tales and make reading fun!