At Drighlington Primary School we use the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme to get children off to a flying start with their reading and writing. RWI is a method of learning based on letter sounds, and we use it to aid children in their early reading and writing.
We believe that Reading is a life skill that every child should be entitled to have. Without the ability to read and decode text, so much is closed off to a child and later as an adult. We want not only to inspire children through books but also to promote a love of reading to empower our children to become life long readers. Books should not be seen as a chore but as a gateway to other worlds, the opening of our imaginations.
English is central to children’s intellectual, emotional and social development it has an essential role across the curriculum and helps pupils’ learning to be coherent and progressive.
Our school firmly believes that the teaching of the English curriculum will be inclusive to all children, inspiring them through an outstanding learning experience, which will enable them to make good progress and leave us as responsible, happy citizens with hopefully a love of Reading.
‘Vocabulary is like mental Velcro - the more you know, the more 'hooks' you have to hook onto new words’ (Alex Quigley, author of ‘Closing the Vocabulary Gap’).
In EYFS and KS1 children use the Read, Write Inc (RWI) programme to teach children how to read and embed phonics. It is a tried and tested programme and takes a systematic and structured approach to teaching phonics. This system has been shown to be a quicker and more efficient way for children to learn to read words on a page fluently and accurately. It also helps them greatly with their spelling. This phonics approach involves children working in small groups to learn new sounds in an organised way. Pupils are regularly assessed and regrouped to make sure their learning is at an appropriate level. In Year 1, children also take part in guided reading sessions where they have the opportunity to enjoy and discuss a range of books.
Using the RWI phonics program we teach children to:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- write clearly, accurately and coherently.
In practice, children learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and are taught how to blend these sounds to decode (read) words. We start by teaching children to read and blend the first thirty Set 1 sounds. Once they have conquered this skill, they start reading stories and texts that have words made up of the sounds they know. This means that they can embed and apply their phonic knowledge and start to build their reading fluency. Once secure, children learn Set 2 and Set 3 sounds and then read texts with increasingly more complex sounds and graphemes. Throughout this process there is a focus on comprehension, reading with expression and reading for enjoyment. Pupils are also taught to work effectively with a partner to explain and consolidate what they are learning.
Children at Drighlington Primary are taught in small groups which reflect their phonic knowledge and reading fluency. We regularly assess children so that they are taught in a RWI group which matches their phonic knowledge. We group pupils homogeneously, according to their progress in reading rather than their writing. We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and the common exception words as well as 'tricky 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. We encourage parents to read with their children at home and to embed reading for pleasure as well as for information retrieval.
As a school in 2023, we wanted to make sure that all children had access to books at home that they were confident in reading and that was at their level. Keeping fidelity to our scheme, we purchased Read, Write Inc's book bag books which help to provide additional reading outside of the classroom. These books are sent home every Friday and perfectly match the books the children have read at school throughout the week.
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 – 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.
In our daily phonics lessons, 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 3 who are learning to read and write.
- Any pupils in Year 4 who need to catch up rapidly through regular interventions.
The Fresh start RWI programme is delivered to:
- Any pupils in Years 5 and 6 to accelerate progress for struggling readers.
Most children will complete the phonics programme by the end of Autumn term in Year 2, and will begin a new programme called Read, Write Inc Literacy and Language. The focus of this programme is to develop fluency for reading through fast-paced activities, allowing their mind to be free to focus on understanding what they read.
Our children have a love of books and enjoy reading for pleasure. We assess all pupils following Read Write Inc. Phonics using the Entry and Assessment tools half termly. The Phonics Leader rearranges groups accordingly. Regular assessments ensure that children receive targeted teaching quickly according to their needs. Children who are progressing through the programme more quickly 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.
How you can help your child at home?
Partnerships with parents and carers is an important part of Drighlington Primary School. Working closely with parents enables us to ensure parents feel confident that their child is safe, well looked and is receiving a high quality education during their school hours. 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.
There are a number of things that parents can do to support early reading skill development at home.
- Let your child see you enjoying reading yourself, they are influenced by you and what you value!
- Establish routine that includes regular reading throughout the week.
- Explain the meaning of words.
- Have fun with Fred talk at home and ask your child to put on their c-oa-t or show them its time for b-e-d.
- Immerse your child in a love of reading: share books and magazines with your child. Read as many stories to your child as you can such as traditional tales, stories from other cultures, poetry, their favourite story.
- Help your child to practice reading key words and sounds when these are sent home.
- Make up alien words for names of toys or things around the home.
Purchasing the same materials that we use at school. You can buy these on Amazon for around £5. Search for ‘RWI Phonics Flashcards.'
The links below offer a range of resources that may also be useful to families.
Places to visit
Farms are a brilliant tool for early phonics listening skills. Here are some local farms:
Eureka, National Children's Museum, Halifax https://www.eureka.org.uk/
Further support and useful weblinks