Phonics: Read Write Inc
At Kippax Ash Tree Primary School we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. We believe that Read, Write, Inc (RWI) phonics provides the foundations of learning to make the development into fluent reading and writing easier. Children learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling. Through RWI phonics children learn a simple alphabetic code followed by a more complex code. All reading books progress cumulatively, matched to the sound’s children are learning and already know. The teaching of phonics is of high priority.
As a school, we teach synthetic phonics as the initial, and most important, approach to the teaching of reading. Our pupils learn to read and write effectively using the Read Write Inc. (RWI) Phonics Programme which is a systematic programme for the teaching of phonics, reading, spelling and writing. We want all pupils to begin their journey to read with confidence, develop a love of reading and apply their skills competently to writing.
We aim to ensure that all pupils:
- Decode letter-sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly, using their phonic knowledge and skills
- Read common exception words on sight
- Understand what they read
- Read aloud with fluency and expression
- Write confidently, with a strong focus on vocabulary and grammar
- Spell quickly and easily by segmenting the sounds in words
- Learn letter formation and handwriting skills.
The RWI programme is delivered to:
- Pupils in EYFS to Year 2 who are learning to read and write
- Any pupils in Years 2, 3 and 4 who need to catch up rapidly
Pupils are taught to work effectively with a partner to explain and consolidate what they are learning. This provides the teacher with opportunities to assess learning and to pick up on difficulties, such as pupils’ poor articulation, or problems with blending or alphabetic code knowledge.
We group pupils homogeneously, according to their progress in reading rather than their writing. This is because it is known that pupils’ progress in writing will lag behind progress in reading, especially for those whose motor skills are less well developed.
In Reception, we emphasise the alphabetic code. The pupils rapidly learn sounds and the letter or groups of letters they need to represent them. Simple mnemonics help them to grasp this quickly. This is especially useful for pupils at risk of making slower progress. This learning is consolidated daily. Pupils have frequent practice in reading high frequency words with irregular spellings (red words).
We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and the common exception words. This is so that, early on, they experience success and gain confidence that they are readers. Re-reading and discussing these books with the teacher supports their increasingly fluent decoding.
Alongside this, teachers regularly read a wide range of stories, poetry and non-fiction to pupils.
Embedding the alphabetic code early on means that pupils quickly learn to write simple words and sentences. We encourage them to compose each sentence aloud until they are confident to write independently. We make sure they write every day.
Pupils write at the level of their spelling knowledge. The quality of the vocabulary they use in their writing reflects the language they have heard in the books the teacher has read to them; they have also discussed what the words mean.
Our aim is for pupils to complete the phonics programme as quickly as possible. The sooner they complete it, the sooner they will be able to choose books to read at their own interest and comprehension level.
The RWI approach is taught considering the 5 Ps:
Praise – Children learn quickly in a positive climate.
Pace – A good pace is the key to each session to ensure all children are engaged and on task.
Purpose – Every part of the lesson has a specific purpose.
Passion – This is a very prescriptive programme. It is the energy, enthusiasm and passion that teachers put into the lesson that bring the teaching and learning to life!
Participation – A strong feature of RWI lessons is partner work and the partners ‘teaching’ each other.
Early Years Foundation Stage
During the Autumn and Spring term, children in F1 spend their RWI time listening to, learning and joining in with carefully chosen stories, rhymes, poems and songs. They then use this to role-play together, develop vocabulary and build sentences orally and make up stories through planned talk experiences. In the summer term, the focus of learning at this stage is to learn the initial letter sounds and introduce oral blending through ‘Fred Talk’ throughout the day. This will progress to letter sound blending and segmenting for writing by the end of F1. Children are taught the correct letter formation using the RWI mnemonics and we ensure that children achieve the correct pencil grip. It is our aim that all children leave F1 being able to orally blend and know all initial letter sounds in set 1.
Children in F2 are taught daily phonics lessons. In the first four weeks of F2, the initial sounds (Set 1 Speed Sounds) are taught in class groups. After this period, children are individually assessed and grouped homogeneously according to their stage. Children receive daily phonics teaching in these groups using the structured speed sounds lesson plan.
It is our aim that all children leave F2 at green RWI band to be on track to achieve the expected standard for the Year 1 phonics screening check.
One to One Tuition
One-to-one tutoring catches children before they fall so all children learn to read the first time they are taught. It prevents the need for any later intervention. Although children are placed into homogeneous groups, the ‘lowest’ attaining groups have the widest variety of needs and are therefore the least homogeneous group of all. In order that these children can receive the same carefully targeted RWI teaching as all the other groups of children, some may need one-to-one tutoring for 10 to 20 minutes a day – on top of their group session in the morning.
Children practise the same Speed Sounds and read the same Ditty/Storybook that they have been taught during the morning RWI group session.
Key Stage 1
Children in Key Stage 1 continue to be taught phonics in small homogeneous groups, depending on their stage not age. They have a daily RWI lessons lasting an hour. This lesson starts with a 10 minute speed sounds lesson which teaches oral blending, new speed sounds and revision of previous speed sounds, oral blending, decoding words, reading common exception words, decoding ‘alien’ (pseudo) words, and spelling. Children then read and comprehend a book which is carefully matched to their phonics knowledge following a 3 day/5 day plan (depending on the stage). The learning in the remaining part of the session includes spelling, grammar, and other writing activities.
Children are assessed at least half termly and those who are at risk of falling behind the programme’s pace and expectations are identified early and additional 1:1 Fast Track Tutoring is put in place to ensure that these children keep up and don’t have to catch up. The effectiveness of these sessions and the impact on progress is regularly evaluated by the Reading Leader.
Children in Year 1 complete the phonics screening check at the end of the year.
It is our aim that children in Year 2 complete the RWI programme by end of the autumn term in Year 2.
All classrooms and teaching spaces across the school display the RWI Speed Sounds chart to support children with their reading and spelling.
Key Stage 2
By the time children complete the transition from KS1 to KS2 we intend that they will have completed the RWI phonics programme. Their phonic development will continue to be explicitly taught through the school’s spelling programme.
Those children who have not reached the expected level by the time they leave KS1 will continue to access the RWI programme and receive additional targeted intervention to ensure they catch up with their peers.
Impact and Outcomes
We assess all pupils following Read Write Inc. Phonics using the Entry and Assessment 1, at least half termly and the Reading Leader rearranges groups accordingly. Regular assessments ensure that children receive targeted teaching quickly according to their needs. Children who are progressing through the programme quicker than their peers are moved into a different group and those who are at risk of falling behind the programme’s pace and expectations are given additional support.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1. The children read books in line with their phonics knowledge. Children can then focus on developing fluency and comprehension throughout the school. Embedding the alphabetic code early on means that children quickly learn to write simple words and sentences. Attainment in phonics is measured by the phonics screening test at the end of Year 1 and ongoing half termly assessment throughout the Read, Write, Inc programme.
We endeavour to involve and train parents/carers in supporting phonics and reading at home through workshops, information sessions, newsletters and online resources. Through the rigorous assessment of pupils through this scheme, we ensure that pupils select appropriate books to take home for reading.
A key element of the Read Write Inc. Programme is consistent whole-school practise. This is underpinned by continued professional development. The school ensures that all teachers and teaching assistants are trained in this approach to teach reading. All staff receive regular Development Days throughout the school year supported by a consultant from the Ruth Miskin training team; attend weekly phonic CPD sessions where an element of the RWI programme is discussed, taught and practiced, staff also have access to training videos and additional support materials via the Ruth Miskin school portal. The RWI Leader ensures that the RWI phonics programme is taught with consistency and fidelity.
Helpful links and videos:
What is Read Write Inc?
Sound Pronunciation Guide