At Ursuline, we are passionate about ensuring that by the end of Year 6, every child will leave as a confident and enthusiastic reader and writer. In order to achieve this outcome, we provide opportunities for our children to thrive through a combination of high-quality, discrete phonics teaching, combined with daily opportunities for developing reading and writing skills. We believe that phonics provides the foundations needed to develop fluency in reading and writing. The teaching of phonics is given a high priority within school. We also strive to ensure that all parents and carers are aware of the importance of phonics and how they can support their child at home through the application of these skills in their reading and writing. Through parent meetings and workshops, we aim to provide parents and carers with the confidence and the tools to reinforce the child’s learning and have fun together learning to read.
To provide our children with the tools to become competent readers and writers, it is integral that we ensure:
- Consistency in the approach to teaching phonics throughout FS, KS1 and KS2 where appropriate
- Rigorous planning, assessment, and tracking
- Quality first teaching of stimulating, interactive lessons to support motivation
- That all children are able to read and understand simple sentences and use phonic knowledge to decode regular words by the end of Year 1. If not, pupils will continue with a phonic programme into Year 2 and KS2 if necessary
In Read Write Inc Phonics lessons, our pupils learn to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension. They learn to form each letter and spell correctly. Throughout the programme our pupils learn the English alphabetic code: the 150+ graphemes representing 44 speech sounds. They rapidly learn sounds and the letter or groups of letters they need to represent them, in three sets of Speed Sound Lessons. Simple mnemonics help all children to grasp the letter-sound correspondences quickly, especially those at risk of making slower progress or those new to learning the English language. This knowledge is taught and consolidated every day. High frequency words that are not phonically regular are taught as ‘tricky’ words (red words) and are practised frequently.
Phonic books are closely matched to children’s increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words so that they achieve plenty of success. Repeated readings of the text support their increasingly fluent decoding. A thought provoking introduction, prompts for thinking out loud and discussion help teachers ensure that our pupils comprehend what they are reading. Teachers read aloud and discuss picture books with similar themes to those in the Storybooks so pupils build up background knowledge ready for the next Storybook.
Pupils read the story three times. On the first read, pupils focus on accurate word reading, the second, on developing fluency; and the third, on comprehension. Fluency and comprehension develop on each repeated read.
Pupils learn to:
- Read new sounds and review previously taught sounds
- Sound out (Fred Talk) the name of characters and unfamiliar words
- Understand the meaning of new words
- Read the story (first read)
Pupils learn to:
- Read the words in the story speedily
- Track the story
- Read the story with increased speed (second read)
Pupils learn to:
- Predict the outcome, after listening to a story introduction
- Discuss and compare key moments in the story
- Read the story with a storyteller’s voice (third read)
- Answer questions about the story
- Read the same story at home
- Build background knowledge, ready to read the next RW Inc Storybook
As with reading, the alphabetic code is embedded first so that pupils can write simple words early on and build on their success. They write at the level of their spelling knowledge. They practise handwriting every day: sitting at a table comfortably, learning correct letter formation and joining letters speedily and legibly. In every lesson, children build up their spelling knowledge rapidly so that they are soon able to spell complex words confidently.
Pupils learn to:
- Develop a confident handwriting style
- Spell common words with common graphemes and suffixes
- Spell common words with unusual graphemes
- Write prepared sentences with correct spelling and punctuation
- Apply new grammar concepts linked to the story
- Edit their sentences to correct grammar and punctuation
Teacher modelling and participation
The teacher explains and uses direct instruction for every activity-‘My Turn Your Turn’ ensuring all children in the group are watching and mirroring what the teacher is doing. The pupils then ‘Turn To Your Partner’ (TTYP) to either practise what they have been taught or discuss a new idea. The teacher observes and listens carefully, picking up on any errors and uncertainties. The teacher repeats the activity until all the children are confident at every step. Revision and consolidation at the start of the following lesson are vital in embedding the learning step-by-step.
All pupils are assessed and grouped according to their phonic knowledge. Each child reads books that match their phonic knowledge. Ongoing assessment, means groups are constantly adjusted to ensure the best progress for each child. Pupils in Key Stage Two who are working below the expected level for phonics have regular intervention to target their specific needs. They are given extra support and staff address any misconceptions they may have. Our pupils take home reading books which match their current phonics level and they are encouraged to read regularly at home. Children’s books are matched closely to their knowledge of phonics so that children experience early reading success and gain confidence in reading. In addition to our home readers, pupils have access to a vast wealth of literature at their fingertips in the form of ‘Oxford Reading buddy;' an online library tailored to their reading level.
The impact of our Phonics curriculum and the attainment of children is measured using the Key Stage One and Key Stage Two national assessments, along with information provided by the Phonics Screening Check in Year One and the achievement of the Early Learning Goals in the Foundation Stage. The termly Read Write Inc assessments measure the attainment and progress of children in phonics. This information is then inputted onto a phonics tracker which is monitored closely. However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning so the impact of our reading curriculum goes far beyond the results of the statutory assessments. Through our systematic teaching of phonics, we endeavour to ensure that our pupils become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. In doing this, pupils can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension skills as they move into KS2.
For further information and resources for Read Write Inc, please click on the link below: