Phonics and Early Reading

At Slade we use a systematic synthetic phonics and early reading scheme called ‘Read Write Inc’. It is a method of learning letter sounds and blending them together to read and write words. It teaches children to read accurately and fluently, with good comprehension. Learning to read is the most important thing a child will learn as everything else depends upon it. We put our energy into ensuring every single child learns to read fluently and confidently as quickly as possible. We want children to love reading and want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure our children develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.

We start our reading journey in Nursery where spoken language underpins all areas of learning for the children. We aim to reduce the language gap between children from language rich homes and those that are not by:

  1. Reading aloud
  2. Teaching children poems and songs
  3. Talking with children (planned talk)

We develop children’s love of books in Nursery through developing familiarity with stories, poems, rhymes and songs. We do this by reading stories to them, singing rhymes and reading poems. We incorporate planned talk, questioning, role play and growing of vocabulary and oral sentences.

We begin to teach Nursery children to read and write letter sounds the term before they enter Reception. We teach them 25 single letter sounds. Once the children have learned the first set of Speed Sounds, we then begin to teach them how to put the sounds together to read words.

Following this as we move into Reception, children learn to form each letter, spell correctly and compose their ideas step-by-step. The daily lessons also incorporate the development of a wide range of vocabulary as well as encouraging a love of reading. As part of this scheme, children in Reception begin with a daily 30 minute whole class phonics sessions, where they participate in learning to read, pronounce and write letter sounds. They then progress on to daily lessons of 60 minutes where they take part in learning to read, spelling and writing activities.

Children in KS1 and KS2 where appropriate take part in daily 60 minute lessons in which they participate in learning to read and write.

Children are taught a new grapheme each day, alongside alternative graphemes that make the same sound. Each session follows the same structure – say it, read it and write it. They then use and apply their phonic knowledge during their group reading sessions. To further develop children’s phonic ability and ensure retention of phonic sounds, ‘pinny time’ is consistently used within the teaching day. In addition to this, children have group reading sessions using high quality texts that are phonically decodable. Read Write Inc. reading sessions (within the phonics lessons) consist of ‘three reads’:

  1. Children read the story in partners and hear the story read by their teacher, as well as exploring key vocabulary within the text.
  2. Children read the story again in partners to develop fluency and understanding. Teachers read again, purposely making mistakes for children to “jump in” and correct.
  3. Children read green words and red words. Teachers read the story aloud using ‘thinking out loud’ moments and freeze frames to reinforce children’s understanding of the text. Children then read the entire text in partners.
    Children’s phonic knowledge, reading fluency and comprehension is assessed half termly using RWI assessment materials. Targeted support is given to identified pupils to ensure that they make rapid progress back to ARE. Through the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics, our aim is for all children to become fluent, skilled readers by the end of Key Stage One. Where children are working below the expected standard, the following approaches are used:
    Continued intensive phonics support (1:1 and small group tutoring)
    Precision teaching of key vocabulary
    Pre and post tutoring of key targeted vocabulary
    Peer and adult partner reads