At Earlsfield we use the Read Write Inc programme from Nursery to Year 2 to deliver phonics, early reading and spelling. Read Write Inc. is a method of learning centered around letter sounds and synthetic phonics. This programme matches or exceeds the expectations of the English National Curriculum and Early Learning Goals. We have clear expectations of pupil’s phonics progress term by term, from Reception to Year 2. Our sequence of reading books shows a cumulative progression in phonics knowledge which is closely matched to our phonics programme. We combine this with our Power of Reading texts used in English lessons, regular story times, and our newly introduced Treasure Chest, to promote not only the needed skills and confidence to read, but also a lifelong love of reading and an understanding of equality.
Across the course of the school year we run a number of Parent Workshops relating to the teaching of Read Write Inc and also the statutory phonics screening that takes place in Year 1.
Our school has developed sufficient expertise in the teaching of phonics and reading that ensures consistency between phonics groups and year groups. Since July 2022 all teaching staff have received training in RWInc, which will continue throughout the year. Teachers have a clear understanding of how pupils learn to read and we give pupils sufficient practice in reading and re-reading books that match the grapheme-phoneme correspondences they know, both at school and at home.
“Excellent phonics teaching ensures that children acquire the knowledge and skills they need to read and write well. The majority of children are making rapid progress in this aspect of their learning. Staff have strong subject knowledge and demonstrate accurately how to pronounce the sounds that different letters make. They provide children with clear guidance so they know how to say the sounds and write letters correctly. Staff intervene quickly to correct errors so children do not fall behind with their learning.” OFSTED 2017
What do children learn through Read Write Inc?
- To discriminate sounds in spoken words
- To blend sounds orally
- Learn the letter sounds (phoneme) that are represented by written letters (grapheme) and practicing how to pronounce each sound accurately (pure)
- Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups (digraphs, trigraphs and split-digraphs) using simple picture prompt cards (with matching phrases) or speed sound charts (Simple and Complex)
- How to blend sounds and read words using ‘Fred talk’
- To read words speedily and at pace
- To understand that some words have a ‘tricky sound’ (red words)
- Read fun and lively stories and non-fiction texts featuring words they have learnt to sound out
- Show that they comprehend the stories they have read by answering questions and discussing the text
How does this work in each year group?
Our phonics journey starts in Nursery, when children first start our school. Children experience a language rich environment and are engaged in print which encourages interest in and discussion around word reading. Children are encouraged to discriminate sounds within their environment, linking to their name and common words related to the calendar and weather. Children are then introduced to the Set 1 speed sounds, they look carefully at the shape of the letters, words which start with and contain this sound, and explore sounds within free play and focussed teaching. Children also learn to blend sounds orally, for example, by playing ‘Simon says’ games, and in the summer term, begin to read cvc ‘green words’ in their phonics sessions. From Spring 1 children learn three sounds a week as part of whole class teaching.
In Reception we begin by consolidating our Set 1 sounds, and then move on to learning how to blend and segment sounds using ‘Fred Fingers’ and ‘Fred Talk’ respectively. As the year progresses we move on to learning sounds from Set 2 and Set 3. Phonics sessions take place everyday, either as a whole class, twice a week, or in groups three times a week. During these sessions new speed sounds are introduced, and green words (real and alien) are read using ‘Fred Talk’. Children regularly practice ‘speed sound’ flashcards, consolidating previously taught sounds and addressing gaps in knowledge. This is also combined with handwriting practise, where children also learn how to write the focus sound using cursive handwriting. We then practise applying those sounds into words, and build up to writing whole sentences. During group phonics children are targeted to their ability and reading books or Word Time activities are planned to match phonic knowledge and fluency levels.
In Year One phonics sessions take place daily. We begin by consolidating our Set 2 sounds, before moving on to Set 3. We have whole class phonics for half an hour twice a week, where similarly to Reception, a new sound is taught, children practise reading and writing the new sound in green words and sentences - combining phonics and writing practise. Group phonics sessions take place four times a week for 50 minutes. This is targeted to children’s reading ability and knowledge. Each week children read and explore a RWinc book, which matches their phonetic knowledge skills. This book is read in every session to promote fluency, confidence and comprehension. Similarly to our whole class sessions, children also do writing activities applying new sounds and words they have learnt to their writing. Children then bring home this book to read to parents, along side a ‘sister’ fiction and ‘sister’ non-fiction book to read at home.
In Year Two children continue to progress through RWInc until they eventually show that they are ready to move on to Guided Reading. Group phonics sessions take place three times a week, where they continue to consolidate their sound knowledge and skills and explore a book matched to their phonetic level. Children who need targeted support receive further regular group or one to one catch up sessions to help close any gaps.
The assessment of pupil’s phonics knowledge is frequent and detailed to monitor and track progress and identify any pupil who is falling behind. This enables targeted support to be given immediately through one to one or small group catch-up sessions. Using assessment data, children are grouped according to their ability and need. This ensures Word-Time and reading books are at an appropriate level to support progress and target gaps in knowledge.
What would you see in a phonics lesson at Earlsfield?
- Children learning to read accurately by learning new sounds and reviewing previously taught sounds and sounding out unfamiliar words
- Children learning to read fluently, re-reading words and texts with increased speed
- A focus on reading comprehension, by making predictions after listening to a story introduction, discussing and comparing key moments in the story, children answering ‘find it’ and ‘prove it’ questions about the story
- Participation throughout the lesson, where children practise together, talk together and give feedback to each other.
What do our pupils say about phonics?
What do you like about phonics?
Year 1 Pupil: ‘I like how all the books tell a story and I like how they’re all different so we get to learn about different things.’
Year 1 Pupil: ‘I like phonics because you get to read books like stories and true facts, my favourite is non-fiction because I like learning facts!’
Year 1 Pupil: ‘It’s fun being in a group. I like reading, I like reading Green words, it’s my favourite.’
Year 1 Pupil: ‘I like learning how to spell in phonics’
Year 1 Pupil: ‘I like learning the letters and sounds, I feel happy when I remember my sounds.’
Year 2 Pupil: ‘I like doing speed sounds because it’s really fast and fun.’
Year 2 Pupil: ‘I like the green words, because I can sound them out so they’re not hard.’