Phonics and Early reading
Children who read regularly or are read to regularly have the opportunity to open the doors to so many different worlds! More importantly, reading will give your child the tools to become independent life-long learners.
We can achieve this together through:
- Read Write Inc, a program to help to your child read at school
- Encouraging children to develop a love of books by reading to them daily, at home and at school
- Giving children access to a wide range of books at school and at home
At St Thomas’ we use Read Write Inc Phonics (RWI) to give your child the best possible start with their literacy. We have put together a guide to how the RWI programme works together with some useful links.
Miss Rawle is our Read Write Inc lead teacher, so if you have questions about RWI, contact school who can refer you to her. Please take the time to read the information as it will provide invaluable information as to how you can help and support your child in reading.
What is Read Write Inc?
Read Write Inc (RWI) is a phonics complete literacy programme which helps all children learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling. The programme is designed for children aged 4-7. However, at St. Thomas’ we continue teaching RWI to children beyond the age of 7 if they still need support in their reading.
RWI was developed by Ruth Miskin and more information on this can be found at https://ruthmiskin.com/en/find-out-more/parents/.
How is RWI taught?
All children are assessed regularly by our RWI lead teacher so they work with children at the same level. This allows complete participation in lessons.
In Reception all children will learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down.
- learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts – see below
- learn to read words using Fred talk and sound blending
- read from a range of storybooks and non-fictions books matched to their phonic knowledge
- work well with partners
- develop comprehension skills in stories by answering 'Find It' and 'Prove It' discussion questions
- learn to write and form the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds with the help of fun phrases
- learn to write words by using Fred Talk
- learn to build sentences by practising sentences out loud before they write
- They work in pairs so that they:
- answer every question
- practise every activity with their partner
- take turns in talking and reading to each other
- develop ambitious vocabulary
Year One & Year Two
Children follow the same format as Reception but will work on complex sounds and read books appropriate to their reading level. Daily sessions of RWI phonics last for 30 minutes. The RWI strategies are then applied in daily literacy lessons in class.
Five key principles underpin the teaching in all Read Write Inc. sessions:
Purpose – know the purpose of every activity and share it with the children, so they know the one thing they should be thinking about
Participation – ensure every child participates throughout the lesson. Partnership work is fundamental to learning
Praise – ensure children are praised for effort and learning, not ability
Pace – teach at an effective pace and devote every moment to teaching and learning
Passion – be passionate about teaching so children can be engaged emotionally.
Children will be taught how to read as follows:
Before you start to teach your child, practise saying the sounds below.
These are the sounds we use to speak in English.
We use pure sounds (‘m’ not’ muh’,’s’ not ‘suh’, etc.) so that your child will be able to blend the sounds into words more easily.
At school we use a puppet called Fred who is an expert on sounding out words! we call it, ‘Fred Talk’. E.g. m-o-p, c-a-t, m-a-n, sh-o-p, b-l-a-ck.
The following video is an example of blending sounds with Fred. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEzfpod5w_Q
The children are taught the sounds in 3 sets.
Set 1 Sounds are taught in the following order together with rhymes to help children form the letters correctly and instantly recognise sounds ready for blending.
Down Maisie then over the two mountains. Maisie, mountain, mountain.
Round the apple, down the leaf.
Slide around the snake
Round the dinosaur's back, up his neck and down to his feet.
Down the tower, across the tower,
Down the insects body, dot for the head.
Down Nobby and over the net.
Down the plait, up and over the pirates face.
Round the girls face, down her hair and give her a curl
All around the orange
Curl around the caterpillar
Down the kangaroos body, tail and leg
Down and under the umbrella, up to the top and down to the puddle
Down the laces, over the toe and touch the heel
Down the stem and draw the leaves
Slice into the egg, go over the top, then under the egg
Down the long leg
Down the horse's head to the hooves and over his back
Slither down the snake, then down the horse's head to the hooves and over his back
Down the robot's back, then up and curl
Down his body, curl and dot
Down a wing, up a wing
Down a horn, up a horn and under the yak's head.
Down, up, down, up the worm.
Down the tower, across the tower, then down the horse’s head to the hooves and over his back
Zig-zag-zig, down the zip.
Curl around the caterpillar, , then down the horse's head to the hooves and over his back
Round the queen’s head, up to her crown, down her hair and curl
Cross down the arm and leg and cross the other way
A thing on a string
I think I stink
Please do not use letter names at this early stage.
Click here to hear how to pronounce sounds correctly.
Children will also use pictures for each sound to help recognise the sound and then form the shape of the sound.
The children are then taught Set 2 Sounds - the long vowels. When they are very confident with all of set 1 and 2 they are taught Set 3 Sounds.
Long vowel sound
Set 2 Speed Sound cards
Teach these first
Set 3 Speed Sound cards
ay: may I play
a-e: make a cake
ai: snail in the rain
ee: what can you see
ea: cup of tea
e: he me we she be
igh: fly high
i-e: nice smile
ow: blow the snow
o-e: phone home
ao: goat in a boat
oo: poo at the zoo
u-e: huge brute
ew: chew the stew
oo: look at a book
ar: start the car
or: shut the door
aw: yawn at dawn
air: that’s not fair
are: share and care
ir: whirl and twirl
ur: nurse for a purse
er: a better letter
ou: shout it out
ow: brown cow
oy: toy for a boy
oi: spoil the boy
ire: fire fire!
ear: hear with your ear
ure: sure it’s pure?
Nonsense words (Alien words)
As well as learning to read and blend real words children will have plenty of opportunities to apply their sound recognition skills on reading ‘Nonsense words’. These words will also feature heavily in the Year One Phonics Screening check in the summer term.
Children will be introduced to ‘Ditty books’ when they successfully begin to read single words. The short vowels should be kept short and sharp:
Children use sound-blending (Fred Talk) to read short ditties. They will bring these home once they have read and discussed the book in class. Children will then be challenged to use their developing phonic knowledge to write short sentences.
Within all the books children will have red and green words to learn to help them to become speedy readers. Red words are words that are not easily decodable and challenge words to extend children’s vocabulary. Green words are linked to the sounds they have been learning and are easily decodable.
Dots and dashes represent the sound each letter makes.
Once your child has been introduced and taught these words in school we will send them home for you to continue practising with your child.
During the RWI session children will read the book three times and at each new reading they will have plenty of opportunities to practise using their developing comprehension skills. You may have heard your child talking about ‘hold, edit or build a sentence’.
Hold a sentence is an activity that encourages children to remember a whole sentence while focusing on spelling and punctuation.
Build a sentence is to give children the opportunity to create their own sentence to that shows the meaning of a word and edit a sentence allows the children to critique a sentence using their knowledge of spelling punctuation and grammar. Children complete a longer piece of independent writing, which gives them the opportunity to show off their creativity and to practice their spelling, grammar and punctuation.
A spelling quiz will be held each week from Year 2. Y1 focus on the common exception words. Children will use first use ‘Fred fingers’ to first sound out a word before they write it down. Children learn how to spell rather than just get tested. Furthermore, this way of teaching spellings allows children to use Fred fingers whenever they get stuck with spelling a word. Children pinch each sound on fingers before writing the word.
Read, Write, Inc progression
Support for home reading in Key Stage 1
We have developed a support sheet for using the RWI book bag books (see above)
Alongside this, Miss Rawle has created a series of videos to demonstrate the reading and questioning strategies for each day. These are a fantastic resource, please take the time to watch them to support the home reading process.
Please access the videos through the link below to the Video Resource Centre.
We love to encourage and promote reading at St Thomas'. In a recent sponsored read we raised over £3000 to spend on books and treated our top raisers to afternoon tea with Mrs Baxter! They loved it :)