Phonics (RWI)

The Read Write Inc Phonics Programme

Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our academy. Children first learn to read and then they read to learn, therefore we 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.

How will my child be taught to read?

We start teaching phonics to the children in Nursery. The children begin by learning the picture and mnemonic that relates to each letter of the alphabet. They then begin to learn the letter sounds and how to blend these into words. Once children are able to blend sounds into words (e.g. c-a-t into cat) they will then begin to read short stories containing the sounds they have learnt. We teach the sounds in a cumulative order, so the children are always building on what they already know.

The children also practise reading (and spelling) what we call ‘red words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’. These are words that the children cannot decode through using their phonic knowledge. The children practise reading decodable books that match their phonics knowledge. Read, Write, Inc sets the children up to succeed so they are able to read every word in every story book they are given.

The teachers read to the children, too, so the children can develop their vocabulary and comprehension through a variety of stories, poetry and information books.

How will I know how well my child is doing?

We will always let you know how well your child is doing; this may be via termly reports, parents evening or messages in their reading logs.

Your child will be assessed every 6-8 weeks to ensure they are working at their correct challenge point within their phonics lessons. During phonics lessons your child will work with children who are at the same reading level. Children will move to a different group if they are making faster progress than the others or will have one-to-one support if we think he or she needs some extra help to keep up and you will be informed on how you can support this at home.

As your child moves through the school, they will also take part in individual reading comprehension assessments. The results of these will be shared with you.

In the summer term, Year 1 children also take part in a statutory phonic screening. This gives us extra information about their progress. You will be provided with information about this when your child is in year 1.

How long will it take to learn to read well?

By the end of Year 2, your child should be able to read aloud books that are at the right level for his or her age. In Year 3 we concentrate more on helping children to understand what they are reading, although this work begins very early on. This happens when the teacher reads to the children and also when the children read their own story book.

What can I do to help? Is there anything that I shouldn’t do?

Your child will bring a range of books home. Please trust your child’s teacher to choose the book(s) that will help your child the most. Your child may bring home a familiar picture book that you can read to your child. This is to develop your child’s comprehension, vocabulary and love for stories. To ensure extra practise your child will bring home their phonics storybook that they have read in class. Please note that we read these story books at least three times at school before they are taken home. This is your child’s chance to celebrate their reading success and show you their accurate, fluent reading.

We encourage you to read with/ to your child for at least 10 minutes a day. Even if you are reading to them, this is still supporting their reading development; allowing them to absorb the vocabulary used as well as begin to think imaginatively about the text.

When reading a book together, help your child to sound out the letters in words that they are unsure of and then blend the sounds together to make a whole word. Try not to refer to the letters by their letter name. Help your child to focus on the sounds. You can hear how to say the sounds correctly through the attached clip: How to say the Letter Sounds

We know parents and carers are very busy people. But if you can find time to read to your child as much as possible, it helps him or her to learn about books and stories. They also learn new words and what they mean. Show that you are interested in reading yourself and talk about reading as a family.

Does it matter if my child misses a lesson or two?

The way we teach children to read is very well organised, so even one missed lesson means that your child has not learnt something that they need to know to be a good reader.

What if he or she finds it difficult to learn to read?

We want all children to learn to read, however long it takes us to teach them. We will find out very quickly if your child is finding reading difficult. We will identify your child’s needs and aim to ensure they keep up rather than having to catch up later. In addition to their daily phonics lesson they will also receive one to one tuition targeted to their needs.

If we have any serious worries about your child’s reading, please don’t hesitate to speak to us.

My child has difficulty pronouncing some sounds. Will this stop him or her learning to read through phonics?

This isn’t a problem for learning to read as long as we know what sound the child is trying to say. This is not something to worry about. Many children have a few sounds that they can hear clearly but find it difficult to say, particularly the l-sound, r-sound, w-sound, th-sound, s-sound, sh-sound and j-sound. Often they say a t-sound for the c-sound; “tttssh” for the s-sound; “w” for the r-sound and “r” for the l-sound. You can help your child by encouraging him or her to look at your mouth when you say the sound. Whatever you do, do not make your child feel a failure. They can easily learn to read, even if they find one or two sounds difficult to say.