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Phonics

What is Phonics? 

Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that make up words and to distinguish one word from another in the English language.  At St Ives Infant School, we use the Phonics scheme Read, Write Inc (RWI). 

What is Read Write Inc?

Read Write Inc (RWI) is a phonics based programme which helps children learn to read whilst also developing a wide range of vocabulary and encouraging a love of stories. It was developed by Ruth Miskin and more information can be found at www.ruthmiskinliteracy.com

The children learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts.  They learn to read words using sound blending with Fred the Frog after they have learnt the first 5 sounds.  Once they are secure with the Set 1 sounds they will be able to read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out.  Staff use these stories to develop the children’s comprehension of what they have read by leading meaningful discussion and answering a range of questions. 

Who is Read Write Inc.for?

The Read Write Inc. programme is for primary school children learning to read. At St Ives Infant School the children will begin the programme in their last term of Nursery class and will remain on the programme until they are reading fluently with a good level of comprehension and speed. Our aim is for the majority of children to be off the scheme by the end of the first term in Year 2, however some children will remain on the scheme for longer, if required. 

How does it work?

Nursery Class: In the summer term before starting Reception class the children will be introduced to the characters associated with the RWI programme. 

Reception: Children are first taught the pure ‘set 1 sounds’ so that they will be able to blend the sounds into words more easily. In School we call this ‘Fred Talk’. We do not use letter names at this stage; we simply focus on the sounds.   

They are taught one sound a day and will be assessed regularly.  Once the children are fluent in recognising and blending the first set of sounds the children will start to read a levelled reading book.

Year 1 and beyond: The children will continue to learn and consolidate Set 2 & 3 sounds while reading the related story books. The children will complete reading and writing activities for 60 minutes each day, grouped according to their reading level. Children will be grouped according to their stage not their age, so classes will be mixed and taught by different teachers/teaching assistants.

What will the children bring home?

You can support at home by sharing the books and information below with your child every day. 

The children will bring home: 

  • A RWI sounds sheet. This will tell you the sound that your child has worked on that day.  Please practice writing these letters using the handwriting phrases and use to practice reviewing the sounds that they have learnt so far. 

  • The RWI book that they have just finished working on in school.  Therefore, your child should be able to read the book easily and fluently with expression.  Reading at home should be fun and as positive as possible. 

  • A RWI Book bag book that uses the same phonic patterns as in the book they have been practicing at school. We recommend you read this regularly/ daily. 

  • A book from the school library.  This book is for you to read/ share with your child.  This is to develop your child’s interest in books and stories and a love of reading.  

  • Videos are posted to class Dojo each weeks to share with parents the sounds the children have learnt. 

How are they assessed?

The children are all assessed each half term to gain a clear insight into the sounds that they have learnt and retained and how well they are using them to blend and read words. 

The children are then grouped according to what they know. If a child is making good progress within their RWI group before the assessment week, they will be assessed early to ensure that their progress is not stunted.  

A few children who need extra support to maintain progress may work with a trained  RWI adult to focus on their area of need.