Phonics/Read Write Inc.
At St Paul's, reading and writing is a critical part of a child's learning. We are a school that loves reading, and we want children to catch that love of reading, too. Phonics is just one aspect of learning to read by decoding written letters or spoken sounds. It is a hugely important aspect that we, as a school, invest in from the moment pupils join our school. At St.Paul's Primary School and Nursery we use a scheme called Read Write Inc. to teach phonics and reading to our pupils. All our staff teaching this programme have been highly trained by a Read Write Inc. national trainer.
Read Write Inc. (RWI) phonics is taught to our children in Nursery, in the context of a rich language environment, as an important part of their development in listening and attention, understanding, and speaking skills. Children begin by playing lots of listening games, involving rhymes, clapping rhythms, identifying everyday sounds, such as animal and household sounds, listening to letter sounds and blending them orally. They enjoy a variety of stories and poetry times, as part of sharing the love of books and reading. Children also develop vocabulary and understanding, as well as the confidence to speak and use correct pronunciation of sounds and words in speech. Once children are ready, they begin the RWI programme for Nursery children. The children learn the sounds of letter names, and begin to read simple words, with the help of 'Fred Frog.' Nursery staff ensure that phonic groups are fluid, so that as soon as a child is ready to move on to the phonics sounds group, they do so.
Once children move into Reception, we consolidate and build on prior learning from Nursery. We ensure that children are attuned to the sounds around them and once ready, we develop oral blending and segmenting skills. Children then follow the Read Write Inc. programme for Reception. Our pupils learn to identify Set 1 sounds and are introduced to 'Fred Frog' who is a puppet that can only speak in sounds, not whole words. We learn the Set 1 sounds and learn to ‘Fred Talk’ words (sound them out), by pointing to each sound and sweeping underneath the word to blend the sounds together to read the word, building up to reading words on sight. We also learn to hold a pencil and form each letter correctly.
Once confident with single sounds, our pupils start to learn the different letter combinations that make different sounds, known as "special friends". They will learn different spelling patterns, discovering there are choices they need to make when using their phonics to spell. Children learn to break words down into syllables for reading and writing, using 'Fred Fingers' to break down words into their sounds to assist spelling. We also learn to read and write red words/tricky words; words that you can’t sound out.
Read Write Inc. is taught every day in Reception, Year 1 and 2, Monday to Friday. Lessons are fast paced and fun. Children then apply their phonics, reading and writing skills in all areas of reading and writing across the curriculum.
Our pupils are placed into homogeneous groups to ensure their learning is targeted to their level of language development and fluency of reading words.
Our aim is for all pupils to be fluent readers by the age of six. Pupils should be able to leave the programme by the end of the Autumn Term in Year 2.
Pupils are assessed regularly, ensuring they are making rapid progress. Our aim is for them to "Keep Up" not "Catch Up". If we identify a pupil who is finding this a challenge, they receive some one-to-one tuition to put them back on track.
Learning of phonics is not confined to school. Parents and carers are crucial partners in helping their children read. Sharing your child's school reading book each day, as well as enjoying a variety of books at home, (e.g. from the Spalding library), helps your child develop their vocabulary and confidence in reading. Remember that enjoyment of books is infectious!
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