Phonics

The Read Write Inc. Phonics programme

At Loddon Primary Federation, we teach reading using the Read Write Inc programme.

Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.

We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.

How will my child be taught to read?

We start by teaching phonics to the children in the Reception class. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters. Ask them to show you what these are.

The children also practise reading (and spelling) what we call ‘tricky words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’.

The children practise their reading with books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. They start thinking that they can read and this does wonders for their confidence.

The teachers read to the children too, so the children get to know all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. They learn many more words this way and it also helps their writing.

We use various ways to find out how the children are getting on in reading. We use the information to decide what reading group they should be in. Your child will work with children who are at the same reading level as him or her. Children will move to a different group if they are making faster progress than the others. Your child will have one-to-one support if we think he or she needs some extra help to keep up. 

In the summer term, the government asks us to do a phonics check of all the Year 1 children. That gives us extra information about their progress.

How long will it take to learn to read well?

By the end of Year 2, your child should be able to read aloud books that are at the right level for his or her age. In Year 3 we concentrate more on helping children to understand what they are reading, although this work begins very early on. This happens when the teacher reads to the children and also when the children read their own story book.

All the staff have been trained to teach reading in the way we do it in this school. We believe that it is very important that all the teachers and teaching assistants work in the same way.

What can I do to help at home? Is there anything that I shouldn’t do?

You will be invited to a meeting sat the start of the Reception year so that we can explain how we teach reading. Please come and support your child. We would very much like you to know how to help.

Your child will bring different sorts of books home from school. It helps if you know whether this is a book that your child can read on their own or whether this is a book that you should read to them. The teacher will have explained which is which. Please trust your child’s teacher to choose the book(s) that will help your child the most.

Help your child to sound out the letters in words and then to ‘push’ the sounds together to make a whole word. Try not to refer to the letters by their names. Help your child to focus on the sounds. You can hear how to say the sounds correctly at this link: https://ruthmiskin.com/en/find-out-more/parents/#lg=1&slide=2

Your child might bring home a picture book that they know well. They will have already worked with this book in school so will be able to read the text. Rather than say, ‘This is too easy.’ Instead, encourage your child to tell you the story out loud; ask them questions about things that happen or what they think about some of the characters in the story.

We know parents and carers are very busy people. But if you can find time to read to your child as much as possible, it helps him or her to learn about books and stories. They also learn new words and what they mean. Show that you are interested in reading yourself and talk about reading as a family. You can find out about good stories to read to your child here: https://www.facebook.com/miskin.education

Does it matter if my child misses a lesson or two?

It matters a lot if your child misses school. The way we teach children to read is very well organised, so even one missed lesson means that your child has not learnt something that they need to know to be a good reader.

What if he or she finds it difficult to learn to read?

We want children to learn to read, however long it takes us to teach them. We will find out very quickly if your child is finding reading difficult. First, we move children to a different group, so that we can make sure that they have learnt what they need to know. If they still struggle, we give them extra time with an adult, on their own. These adults are specially trained to support these children. Your child will still be in the same group with the other children and won’t miss out on any of the class lessons.

If we have any serious worries about your child’s reading, we will talk to you about this.

Some children take a bit longer to learn to put sounds together to read a word, e.g. c-a-t to make the word ‘cat’. At our meeting, we will explain how you can help your child to do this.

What if my child turns out to be dyslexic?

The way we teach reading is especially helpful for children who might be dyslexic. This is because we use a very well-organised programme that has a strong focus on phonics. This is very important for children who find learning to read difficult. If you are worried about your child, please come and talk to us.

My child has difficulty pronouncing some sounds. Will this stop him learning to read through phonics?

This isn’t a problem for learning to read as long as we know what sound the child is trying to say. This is not something to worry about. Many children have a few sounds that they can hear clearly but find it difficult to say, particularly the l-sound, r-sound, w-sound, th-sound, s-sound, sh-sound and j-sound. Often they say a t-sound for the c-sound; “tttssh” for the s-sound; “w” for the r-sound and “r” for the l-sound. You can help your child by encouraging him or her to look at your mouth when you say the sound. Whatever you do, do not make your child feel a failure. They can easily learn to read, even if they find one or two sounds difficult to say.

Reading at home.

Set 1 Speed Sounds

First your child will bring home the Set 1 Speed Sounds and once they have learnt a few sounds, they will also have a Sound Blending Book.

Black and White Storybooks

As soon as your child starts to read the Read Write Inc Phonics Storybooks, he or she will bring home a black and white Storybook. This is a copy of the colour version he or she will have read at school. Your child will have read this story three times with their reading teacher, so should be able to read the story confidently. A brief explanation of how to follow the activities is included in the books.

Book Bag Books.

Your child may also bring home a Book Bag Book. This book builds upon the ideas and many of the words in the Storybook he or she has just read. Your child need more support in reading this book.

Glossary of some of the specific language we use to teach children to read using ReadWriteInc.

‘Special Friends’

Special friends are a combination of two or three letters representing one sound, e.g. ck, ay, igh, oa.

Fred Talk

Fred the Frog helps children read and spell. He can say the sounds in words, but he can’t say the whole word, so children have to help him.

To help children read, Fred (the teacher) says the sounds and then children say the word.

For example, Fred says c-a-t, children say cat, Fred says l-igh-t, children say light.

Teachers are encouraged to use Fred Talk through the day, so children learn to blend sounds.

For example:

Play Simon Says: Put your hands on your h-ea-d/ f-oo-t/ kn-ee.

Put on your c-oa-t/ h-a-t/ s-c-ar-f.

Set the table with a b-ow-l/ f-or-k/ s-p-oo-n.

‘Fred in your head’

Once children can sound out a word, we teach them to say the sounds silently in their heads.

We show them how to do this by:

1. whispering the sounds and then saying the whole word;

2. mouthing the sounds silently and then saying the whole word;

3. saying the whole word straight away.

Perfect pencil grip

Children sit at a table to write.

They hold up a pencil in a tripod pencil grip with the non-writing hand flat holding their paper.

Red Words

Red Words are also known as common exception or tricky words. They occur in stories regularly (said, what, where) but have unusual letter combinations (‘ai’ in the word ‘said’ makes the sound ‘e’).

Remind your child not to use Fred Talk to read Red Words but instead to ‘stop and think’.

Tell them the word if you need to.

How can I support my child’s reading and writing?

Here are the top five things you can do.

  1. Ask your child to read the Speed Sound cards speedily.
  2. Use Fred Talk to help your child read and spell words.
  3. Listen to your child read their Read Write Inc. Storybook every day.
  4. Practise reading Green and Red Words in the Storybook speedily.
  5. Read stories to your child every day.