Reading & Phonics

Reading & Phonics

At Archibald Primary School we believe that all children should have every opportunity to succeed, that it is imperative to our children's lives that they can not only read, but that they become readers. As such, we aim to start their reading journeys with a passion and enthusiasm for stories and books; alongside building their confidence in de-coding and reading for themselves.

We use the Read Write Inc phonics and reading scheme which begins in the Foundation Stage and develops throughout school.

A Strong Start

The teaching of early reading starts with our youngest children in Pre-School and Nursery.

To ensure our nursery children are well prepared and ready to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending from when they start Reception we:

  • prioritise high-quality adult-child interactions, including frequent back and forth conversations
  • provide activities that develop listening and attention, including oral blending
  • teach through a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences
  • deliver our curriculum through the use of high-quality stories, songs and rhymes
  • share high-quality stories every day (Over and Over Strategy)

The teaching of high-quality phonics

We recognise the importance of all children making a strong start in learning to read. At Archibald Primary School we have adopted the Read Write Inc. (RWI) systematic phonics programme. This is a rigorous programme which ensures children in Reception and Key Stage 1 quickly gain the phonics knowledge and early reading skills that they need.

Children take part in daily RWI phonics sessions. During the lessons children will:

  • learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts
  • learn to read words using sound blending known as 'Fred Talk'
  • read green words (decodable) and red words (non-decodable)
  • write the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds
  • write words by saying sounds in 'Fred Talk'
  • write simple sentences, initially using 'hold a sentence' strategy ten developing more independence
Throughout the day children will have opportunities to:
  • read lively stories featuring the words that they have learnt to sound out or blend (books matched to their phonics ability)
  • show that they comprehend the stories by answering questions

Teaching Principles:

PACE - no time is wasted during teaching sessions! Children are active and involved in a fun and creative way.
PRAISE - teachers praise the children constantly throughout the teaching sessions. Children learn more quickly when they are praised for what they do well.
PURPOSE - each activity has a very clear purpose. The teacher will set this purpose at the beginning of the lesson so that the children know exactly what they will be learning.
PARTICIPATION - all children are expected to take part in all parts of the lesson. Full participation is gained through partner work and choral response.
PASSION - our teachers and support staff are passionate about our teaching and the benefits of the Read, Write Inc. programme. The enthusiasm demonstrated by our teachers and support staff positively impact and influence the children.

How we teach

Pupils work within ability groups which are defined by their performance on RWI phonic assessments. Pupils are re-assessed approximately every 6 weeks and teaching groups are re-organised accordingly within each year group.

Delivery of lessons

Set one sounds are taught in a specific order
Children are taught the 'pure' sounds ie 'mmmm' and not 'muh' to enable blending
Children are taught to orally blend using 'My turn, Your Turn' (MTYT)
Children are taught to sound out and blend green words and then read them with greater fluency and speed.
Red words (words that are not decodable) are taught to be read on sight.
Set 2 and set 3 sounds are taught once children are confident applying set 1 sounds to their reading.

Home Reading Books

When your child has learnt enough sounds and is ready to blend these sounds to make a word, they will take home a Speed Sound book.
Progressing to reading sentences, your child will take home a Ditty sheet, that they will have practised that day in their phonics lesson.
As your child's fluency and phonetic understanding grows, they will move on to taking two books home; one storybook that will be matched to their phonics reading level and one sharing book which they may need a little more support with reading - they will need you to read and enjoy this book with them.
It is a good idea for children to be encouraged to read and re-read the same book a number of times over a few days as this helps the text to become familiar to them. Reading a familiar text is a great way to help pupils improve and develop their fluency.
Home reading books will be changed regularly. Teachers communicate the days books are changed with their classes and share this with parents and carers regularly.

Assessment and Recording

Children are assessed throughout every lesson. Every time partner work is used the teacher assesses the progress of the children. The teacher assesses how children:

  • read the grapheme chart
  • read the green and red words
  • decode the ditty or story book
  • comprehend the text
Children are assessed using a RWI assessment each half term. Those who are at risk of falling behind are identified quickly and given 1:1 or small group tutoring sessions.

An Expert Teaching Team

To ensure consistent, high-quality teaching of phonics across our school, we have a dedicated Phonics Lead and a dedicated Phonics into Early Reading Lead who work in partnership to help ensure an absolute fidelity to the RWInc programme, accurate assessment and informed quality first provision thus making sure no child is left behind on their journey to becoming a reader.
Regular CPD is planned for all teachers and support staff to keep them continually upskilled in the delivery of phonics and early reading strategies.

Learn at home

Watch the video and learn how to say each sound correctly.
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