The government are strongly promoting 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.
At Evergreen Primary School we use a synthetic phonics programme called 'Read Write Inc' produced by Ruth Miskin. Read Write Inc is a method of learning centred around letter sounds and phonics, blending them together to read and write words and using these learnt sounds in their reading and writing. In EYFS, KS1 and KS2 children wil follow a daily phonic programme to promote their reading, writing and English skills.
The children are assessed and grouped according to their ability. They will work with a teacher or teaching assistant on the Read Write Inc programme. At the end of each term the children will be assessed again and put into new groups. In addition to the Read Write Inc programme the children will also have opportunities to develop and apply their reading and writing skills across the curriculum. There are also many opportunities throughout our curriculum for children to develop their speaking and listening and communication skills. Children who are identified as working at a level below phase 2 will access Phase 1 of the Letter and Sounds programme until they are ready to move onto the RWI programme. We also recognise that not all children can learn by this approach and our rigorous monitoring and tracking system ensures that other strategies are in place for those individuals identified.
For more information about Read Write Inc. navigate to oup.com/oxed/primary/rwi/
When using Read Write Inc to READ the children will:
Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture 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’ discussion questions
When using Read Write Inc to WRITE the children will:
Learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds
Learn to write words by saying the sounds and graphemes (Fred fingers)
Learn to write simple then more complex sentences
When using Read Write Inc (where appropriate) the children will also be encouraged to work in PAIRS:
(Read Write Inc encourages partner/paired work at a young age which helps to promote working collaboratively and the development of social interaction and communication skills, both of which we value greatly here at Evergreen.)
To answer questions
To practise every activity
To take turns talking to each other
To praise and peer assess one another
The sounds taught are “pure sounds” and may be different to how you would say them or how you were taught. To avoid confusing the children the Oxford Owl website or the RWI website does go through the correct pronunciation of each sound.
There is also a website oxfordowl.co.uk which is free and will help your child learn to read and love to read. There are over 100 free ebooks to enjoy with your child and there is a phonic guide which will help you how to say the sounds correctly.
Read with your child. Look at books for pleasure. Experience a variety of books (fiction, non-fiction, rhymes). Discuss the different features of different books. Talk about the books and other reading materials that you have shared. Explain the meaning of new words. Most importantly though, show the fun that can be gained by listening to stories and reading a range of texts.e.g. Cereal packets, shopping lists, road signs, web pages, magazines, newspapers etc.
Help your child learn to read words by sound-blending (Fred talk) e.g. c-a-t = cat Help children to say the pure sounds, as quickly as they can, and then to blend the sounds together to say the whole word.
RWI primarily makes up our reading scheme within the classroom but to compliment and enrich our reading programme we also use a range of carefully selected reading schemes for the children to gain breadth and variety. This also helps to build their confidence, consolidate and reinforce their learning from school at home. As a whole staff we researched and selected the schemes we thought were most appropriate and relevant for the children in our school.
All of the schemes we use have built in phonic progression which compliment RWI teaching. These reading schemes will be used for children to bring home where relevant and also as part of independent and guided reading sessions within class. The reading schemes we use are a range of Oxford Reading Tree, Dandelion Launchers and Dandelion Readers. We use a range so that children are exposed to different styles and content at the same level. We also have a range of picture books for children working at a pre-reading level.
For KS2 we have a range of age-appropriate books which are designed to appeal to older pupils who are still at a very early stage of reading. The series is designed around a group of teenage friends who are in a band and offers short, humorous stories about their lives. For children who become proficient, fluent readers we have a range of current and up to date authors such as Michael Morpurgo and David Walliams to engage the children’s interest and continue to promote their enjoyment of reading.