Phonics and Early Reading - Reception and Year One
The Government strongly recommend the use of synthetic phonics when teaching early literacy skills to children. Synthetic phonics is simply the ability to convert a letter or letter group into sounds that are then blended together into a word.
Here at the Redhills Primary School, we are using the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme to get children off to a flying start with their English. RWI is a method of learning based upon letter sounds and phonics, and we use it to aid children in their reading and writing.
Reading is the gateway to learning.
The children are assessed regularly, grouped according to their ability across the school to ensure every child has the fundamental early reading skills. All pupils will work with a RWI trained teacher or teaching assistant.
Read Write Inc Structure
When using RWI to read the children will:
Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple prompts
Learn to read words using sound blending (Fred talk)
Read lively stories featuring words they have learnt to sound out
Show that they comprehend the stories by answering 'Find It' and 'Prove It'
When using RWI to write the children will:
Learn to write the letter/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds
Learn to write words by saying the sounds and graphemes (Fred fingers)
When using RWI the children will also work collaboratively:
To answer questions
To take turns talking and listening to each other
To give positive praise to each other
Help your child learn to read words by sounding-blending (Fred talk) eg. c-a-t = cat, sh-o-p = shop. Children learn to read words by blending the letter-sounds that are in the Speed Sounds set.
Help your child to say the pure sounds ('m' not 'muh', 's' not 'suh' etc.) as quickly as they can, and then blend the sounds together to say the whole word.
Reading Books Sent Home
Children in Reception who are learning the first 44 letter sounds and are not blending fluently will bring home sound sheets, picture books and a library book for you to read with them.
Once children can blend fluently and know the first 44 sounds they will bring home Ditty sheets or a red Ditty book, an Oxford Reading Tree Songbirds book, Big Cat Phonics Book or a Floppy’s Phonics Book.
Read Write Inc Books
Please encourage your child to read though the speed sounds page first, then the green and red words page and then check your child understands the meaning of words on the vocabulary check page, before they start reading the book. Your child will have read this book at least three times before they bring it home. They should be able to read this book with fluency and expression by the time they bring it home and they should have a good comprehension of what the book is about. At the back of the book are find it/prove it questions for you to do with your child.
At St. Gabriel’s, we use Accelerated Reader across Key Stage 2 to develop children's reading skills and support their home learning.
Why do we want students to read?
What are the benefits of reading for pleasure?
Children who say they enjoy reading for pleasure are more likely to score well on reading assessments compared to pupils who said they enjoyed reading less
There is some evidence to show that reading for pleasure is a more important determinant of children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status
It can have a positive impact on pupils’ emotional and social behaviour
It can have a positive impact on text comprehension and grammar.
What works in improving independent reading?
An important factor in developing reading for pleasure is providing choice - choice and interest are highly related
Parents and the home environment are essential to the early teaching of reading and fostering a love of reading; children are more likely to continue to be readers in homes where books and reading are valued
Reading for pleasure is strongly influenced by relationships between teachers and children, and children and families.
What is Accelerated Reader?
Accelerated Reader (AR) is a really effective software tool used by an increasing number of schools to foster reading growth. It encourages students to read widely and independently whilst allowing staff to monitor progress and support where necessary.
The programme is designed to work out a reading level (or STAR reading level) for students at the start (by means of a STAR test, completed in English lessons). Students then read books within this level – all books in the library that are registered with AR have a coloured star label on the spine to help them recognise books within their ‘zone’. Students take a quiz on the website after reading each book to assess how well they understood it. Their STAR level is tested every other term to see how they have progressed.
As well as being about promoting reading and academic achievement, AR is also about enjoyment of reading and creating a real culture of reading at St. Gabriel’s C of E Primary School.
We use a style of learning called Talk for Writing to teach children to write well. This includes looking at - and learning - quality texts that teach children the type of language they need to write in that type of text. They learn to adapt and re-use that language in different situations until they can independently write their own text using what they have learned in a new context.
Through these texts we also teach the grammar that is now explicitly set out in the new 2014 National Curriculum and included in the statutory assessment points at the end of each Key Stage (Years 2 and 6).
A vital part of the writing process at all ages is children editing and redrafting their work. They need to be able to talk about what they had to do - or need to do next time - to make the writing better.