“Teach a child to read and keep that child reading and we will change everything. And I mean everything.”
At St. William of York, we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers and we believe that Read, Write, Inc (RWI) phonics provides the foundations of learning to make our children’s development into fluent reading and writing easier. The programme begins in Nursery and is taught throughout Early Years, KS1 and lower KS2. It is a structured and systematic approach to support children learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling. Through RWI phonics children learn a simple alphabetic code followed by a more complex code. All reading books progress cumulatively, matched to the sound’s children are learning and already know. The teaching of phonics is of high priority and the children are taught daily by a RWI trained teacher or teaching assistant. Children are assessed regularly and grouped according to their ability. In upper KS2, we use the Fresh Start programme if children still need support with their reading.We also strive to ensure that all parents are aware of the importance of phonics and how they can support their child at home through the application of these skills in their reading and writing. Through virtual homework, parent meetings and workshops, we aim to provide parents and guardians with the confidence and the tools to reinforce the child’s learning and have fun together learning to read.Through our phonics programme, we believe we can teach every child to read and keep them reading for life.
At St William of York, the systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Key Stage 1. Children are introduced to phonics teaching as soon as they enter our Nursery to start them on their reading journey. Phonics is taught daily to all children in EYFS, Year 1 and Year 2. For pupils working below the expected level in KS2, Read Write phonics, Fresh Start or Fast Track Tutoring is used to develop reading skills.
The structure of phonics lessons in the Read Write Inc. programme is consistent with lessons focusing on the skills of segmenting and blending and children are constantly reviewing the previous sounds they have been taught. Phonics teaching is interactive and engaging and the repetitive nature of the programme ensures that the knowledge and skills are embedded into children’s long term memory.
Children are taught to:
- decode letter/sounds correspondences quickly and effortlessly,
- using their phonic knowledge and skills
- read ‘tricky’ (red words) on sight
- understand what they read
- read aloud with fluency and expression
- write confidently, with a strong focus on vocabulary and grammar
- spell quickly and easily by segmenting the sounds in words
- acquire good handwriting
The Read Write Inc. programme contains an initial assessment which is carried out in order to assess children’s phonic knowledge and skills. This allows the reading leader to group the children, targeting specific needs. Reading teachers then regularly assess the children in their group through the use of nonsense words. They adapt their sessions to meet the needs of all children in that group and ensure they are confident, before moving onto a new phonics sound. Children are also formally assessed on their phonics knowledge every 6 weeks so that reading teachers ensure that children read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘red words’. Interventions are provided where children are working below the expected level or where they are at risk of falling below. All reading teachers have received the relevant Read Write Inc. training to ensure daily provision is consistent and uninterrupted.
As part of the programme, children are also taught to work effectively with a partner to explain and consolidate what they are learning. This provides the reading teacher with further opportunities to assess learning and to pick up on difficulties, such as children’s poor articulation, or problems with blending or alphabetic code knowledge.Once children are confident blending and segmenting with the most frequently occurring grapheme-phoneme correspondences through the Read Write Inc programme, they move onto RWInc. Comprehension and Spelling to support children increasing their fluency and becoming more accurate spellers.
From the beginning of their reading journey, we want children at St. William of York to experience success and gain confidence in becoming a reader. The children take home reading books which match their current phonics level and they are encouraged to read regularly at home. Children’s books are matched closely to their knowledge of phonics so that they experience early reading success and gain confidence in reading. In addition to home readers, our children also have access to a vast wealth of literature from our school library. Children also listen to a wide range of stories, poetry and non-fiction from our school staff who share books and promote a love of reading each day.
At St William of York, we use 6 weekly formal assessments and the expectations of progress provided by Ruth Miskin Read Write Inc. to measure the impact of phonics. We monitor our impact closely and review and adapt our teaching to ensure the effectiveness of how we use the programme. It is also measured by the attainment of children in the Key Stage One and Key Stage Two national assessments, along with information provided by the Phonics Screening Check in Year One and the achievement of the Early Learning Goals in the Foundation Stage. However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes far and beyond the results of the statutory assessments. Our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1 through a love and confidence of reading. We aim for all children to successfully read books in line with their phonics knowledge and to develop their fluency and comprehension throughout the school.