We value the importance of early reading and writing and provide a rigorous and systematic approach to the teaching of phonics. We aim for every child to believe that they can read. The main aim is that the children will develop a mastery of phonics, using and applying their phonic knowledge in their everyday reading and spelling.
At Holy Rood, we follow elements of the Read Write Inc. phonics programme, developed by Ruth Miskin. This programme is designed to create fluent readers, confident speakers and willing writers.
The five key principles that underpin all the teaching in all Read Write Inc. Programmes are:
- Participation – our teaching strategies ensure that all children participate fully in the whole lesson – there is no chance for children to lose concentration and miss key elements of the teaching
- Praise – children work together, as partners, taking turns to teach and praise one another and they are motivated by the focused praise they receive from teachers and teaching assistants
- Pace – a lively pace keeps all the children fully engaged
- Purpose – teachers know the purpose of every activity and how it leads into the next
- Passion – it is easy for teachers to be passionate about their teaching because they see their children make such rapid progress.
All teachers and support staff at Holy Rood have been trained in Read Write Inc so that they can deliver high quality phonics teaching across the school.
Our Phonics Leader is Mrs S Dalton. If you have any queries or concerns, please see her for more information or visit the RWI Website.
How we implement our Phonics teaching
Early phonic awareness begins with the development of listening and attention; enjoyment of stories and information texts; and early exploration of words and sounds. We want the children to begin to identify sounds within words, and to link sounds to letters. The children are taught single letter sounds first. They are taught to recognise the letter shape and associate this with the relevant spoken sound. We have picture clues to help the children remember these letters.
Each letter shape also has a handwriting phrase to help the children form the letters correctly for writing.
We practice letter formation daily within our Foundation Stage, encouraging the children to begin and end the letters in the appropriate place and use the correct directionality. Lower case letters are taught before upper case letters as they are more common.
As the children begin to recognise these letters and sound them correctly, we move on to begin to blend sounds together to read simple words. We use ‘green words’ to practice this skill.
We also look at breaking words down into sounds for writing. We pinch the sounds on our fingers to help use identify how many sounds are in a word and what order we can hear them in.
When we can read and write simple words using these sounds we move on to learn more complex sounds. These are sounds that are made up of more than one letter. Each of these sounds has a simple phrase to accompany it and a visual clue to help the children remember the sound and pronounce it correctly.
We then teach alternate spellings of familiar sounds.
It is important that we pronounce the sounds correctly. We use pure sounds e.g. “mmmm” instead of “muh” and “ssss instead of “suh”. This video is excellent for demonstrating how to pronounce each sound.
Watch here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkXcabDUg7Q
Alongside our phonics we also teach words that cannot be decoded. These are words that we learn to recognise on sight. We call these ‘red’ words. They are the tricky ones because they do not follow the phonetic code and so we cannot sound them out.
Progression through school
Phonics begins in Foundation Stage with our Nursery children, continues into FS2 and further into Key Stage 1.
To ensure progression in the teaching and learning of phonics from FS2 onwards we implement the following:
Through this rigorous and systematic approach to phonics, we aim for every child to be able to read and write independently by the end of the Foundation Stage.
As children move into Year 1 they will focus on the more complex Set 2 and Set 3 sounds. The children will also take part in the Phonics Screening Check.
This assessment requires the children to apply the phonic knowledge they have gained throughout the Foundation Stage and Year 1 to read 40 words. There are real and non-sense words, also known as ‘Alien’ words; made up of the 44 sounds taught.