We use the Read Write Inc (RWI) phonics programme developed by Ruth Miskin and published by Oxford University Press. RWI is a proven systematic and structured approach centred around letter sounds and phonics and we use it to aid children in their reading and writing.
Reading opens the door to learning. A child who reads a lot will become a good reader, who will be able to read challenging material. The more a child learns, the more he or she will want to find out.
Using RWI, the children learn to read fluently so that they can put all their energy into comprehending what they read. It also allows them to spell effortlessly so they can put all their creative ability into composing what they write.
RWI meets the demands of the National Curriculum, giving children at St Joseph’s the best chance of success in the national tests. There is one-to one tutoring, ensuring that no child is left behind. The mantra of a RWI school is “Keep up not catch up”.
When using RWI to read the children will:
Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts.
Learn to read words using Fred Talk.
Read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out.
Show that they comprehend the stories by answering questions.
When using RWI to write the children will:
Learn to write the letter/letter groups which represent 44 sounds.
Learn to write words by saying the sounds in Fred talk.
Write simple sentences.
Children are introduced to Fred Talk in Reception. Teachers use a Fred frog soft toy to encourage children to talk in sounds. Fred says “c-a-t” not cat. You can have fun with Fred Talk at home
“what a tidy r-oom!”
“Where’s your c-oa-t?”
“Time for b-e-d!”
Children use their Fred fingers to pinch the sounds as they say them. Children use Fred Talk in the outside area during a game to match sounds to pictures.
This chart shows the complexity of the English language. Words with the same sounds are spelt differently.
Once children are confident with Speed sounds 1 and 2 we introduce a Storybook which is aligned with the sounds learnt in class. These books are books they can read immediately. They are read three times so that they gain fluency. By the third time they are using the story tellers voice and using intonation. Children are guided in discussion about the stories and they work out and rehearse ideas with a partner before they feed back to the class.
Children write every day rehearsing ideas out loud with a teacher and their partner. The children can articulate what they want to write and are encouraged to hold their ideas in their minds as they write. Children then re read their work to ensure the meaning is clear.
A typical Read, Write Inc. session contains a mix of learning and practising sounds, reading and writing. Each of the coloured storybook bands have a matching 'Get Writing' book that contains activities that the adults can use to build on the reading activities the children will have completed. The activities are designed to support the learning of sentence structure and grammar, but also developing vocabulary and generating ideas for writing. Activities often include:
Hold a sentence - listening to, orally repeating and then writing a sentence linked to the book they were reading.
Edit a sentence - correcting errors in a sentence, for example missing capital letters, punctuation and spelling mistakes.
Create a sentence - writing about a stimulus, often a picture from the storybook they were reading, for example filling in a speech bubble, completing a 'Wanted' poster or writing a simple recipe.
Adults use these activities when appropriate but also create their own activities as a result of their ongoing assessment of the children. This way Read, Write Inc. sessions always contain activities that are exciting, appropriate and fun!
Research has shown that incorporating nonsense words into teaching reading can be an effective way to establish blending and segmenting skills. However, it is important to ensure that children understand that they are reading nonsense words (and why) so that they are not confused by trying to read the words for meaning. By reading nonsense words children develop their ability to decode individual sounds and then blend them together to read. They are an indicator of early reading skills and work as a quick, reliable and valid way of assessing children. However reading nonsense words is only a small part of the Read, Write Inc. phonics teaching. The children will also have to read these words as part of their phonics screening check at the end of Year 1.