Phonics


Purpose

Our pupils learn to read and write effectively and quickly using the Read Write Inc. phonics programme.

The programme is for:

  • Pupils in Reception to Year 2 who are learning to read and write
  • Any pupils in Years 3, 4, 5, 6 who need to catch up rapidly.

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The aims

  • Pupils are able to decode unknown phonetically decodable words
  • Pupils read high frequency words with irregular spelling patterns (“tricky words”)
  • Pupils read fluently and with understanding
  • Pupils are confident, competent readers and writers
  • Pupils have a wide and varied vocabulary which they use when speaking and in their writing
  • Pupils able to find examples in the text to answer literal questions
  • Pupils can explain their thinking and use the text to prove their hypothesis when answering inferential questions
  • Pupils can work co-operatively to support one another’s learning

In addition, we teach pupils 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.

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Teaching

The pupils are regularly assessed and grouped according to their progress in reading rather than their writing. This is because it is known that pupils’ reading skills usually develop quicker than their writing skills, especially for children whose motor skills are less well developed.

In Reception the emphasis is on learning the alphabetic code. The pupils rapidly learn sounds and the letter or groups of letters they need to represent them. Simple rhymes (mnemonics) are used initially to help pupils to learn to form the letters correctly and are later used to help children to remember digraphs (groups of letters that make a single sound). This is especially useful for pupils at risk of making slower progress.

Once pupils have learned the basic letter sounds they begin to read simple texts that are closely matched to their phonic knowledge and introduce ‘tricky’ words (words that are not spelled phonetically and therefore cannot be sounded out) This is so that, early on, they experience success and gain confidence, believing themselves to be readers. Re-reading and discussing these books with the teacher supports their increasingly fluent decoding and helps them to understand what they have read.

Alongside this, the teachers read a wide range of stories, poetry and non-fiction to pupils with the aim that they will soon be able to read these texts for themselves.

Embedding the alphabetic code early on means that pupils quickly learn to write simple words and sentences. They are encouraged to compose each sentence aloud until they are confident to write independently. Pupils write every day.

Pupils use their knowledge of the alphabetic code and the tricky words they have learnt in their writing. The quality of the vocabulary they use in their writing reflects the language they have learned from the books the teacher has read to them.

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.

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Achievement in our school

Assessing and tracking progress

Assessment is a critical element of our programme. The Read Write Inc. Leader and the Learning Mentor assess;
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  • Pupils’ phonic knowledge
  • The speed at which pupils are able to read the text
  • Pupils’ understanding of the texts they read.

At the beginning of the school year, all children with a reading age below age 7 are assessed using the Read Write Inc. entry assessment and those children who need to be taught phonics are grouped according to their age and ability. Every 8 weeks thereafter, children are reassessed and regrouped accordingly. This means that children are able to progress at their own pace and are taught at the relevant level. Any new arrivals to the school are automatically tested in their first few weeks to determine whether Read Write Inc. is necessary.

Progress of all pupils on the Read Write Inc. program is tracked every 8 weeks and children who are not making expected progress are targeted for 1:1 phonics interventions. .

In addition, we use a standardised reading test (GL Assessment) so that we can ensure that the gains our pupils are making are age-appropriate.

By the end of Key Stage 1, the majority of pupils are able to read age-appropriate texts aloud, accurately and fluently.

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Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Additional Support

Pupils who join the school with no English or who have SEND, may not complete the programme by the end of Year 2, but are supported by one to one tutoring for 15 minutes a day into Key Stage 2 if needed. All new arrivals in FS, KS1 and KS2 are assessed and, if necessary, are taught at the appropriate level to enable them to catch up with their peers.

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Additional support for lower-attaining pupils

Pupils in the ‘lowest’ attaining group often have the most diverse needs and therefore we try to keep the group size smaller than other ability groups or the adult to pupil ratio will be greater to give these pupils the greatest chance of succeeding and making progress. In addition to this, some of these children will also receive one to one tuition to support rapid progress.

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Phonic screening check

We have high expectations of our pupils and we expect the programme to have a positive impact on the percentage of children passing the phonics test this year, aiming to be at least in line with the national average pass rate. Those children who need more support in order to pass the phonic screening check are identified early in the Spring Term and interventions are put in place to help them succeed.

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Attendance

The programme is intensive and cumulative, so poor attendance severely disrupts the progress of any pupils who are absent, for however short a time. Our Home School Links Worker meets with the parents of the pupils who have poor attendance.

The role of the Literacy Leader and Read Write Inc leader is critical. Alongside the Executive Headteacher and the Head of School, the Read Write Inc Leader drives the teaching of Read Write Inc. ensuring it is taught with fidelity so that all the pupils complete the programme as quickly as possible.

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Parents and carers

We invite parents/carers to an initial meeting and we hold workshops regularly to show how they can help their children to read at home.

We organise repeat meetings for those who do not or cannot attend.

See the parent page on the Ruth Miskin Training website: http://www.ruthmiskin.com/en/parents/

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