The more that you read, the more that you’ll know. The more that you learn the more places you’ll go.Dr Seuss
The British government strongly recommend the use of synthetic phonics when teaching early literacy skills to children. Synthetic phonics is simply the ability to convert a letter or letter group into sounds that are then blended together into a word.
Here at St Mary’s we are using the Read Write Inc. (RWI) programme to get children off to a flying start with their literacy. RWI is a method of learning based upon 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.
- A good reader will be able to read more challenging material.
- A child who can read more challenging material is a child who will learn.
- The more a child learns, the more he or she will want to find out.
Using RWI, the children learn to read effortlessly so they can put all their energy into comprehending what they read. It also allows them to spell confidently so they can put all their energy into composing what they write.
The children are assessed regularly and grouped according to their ability. They will work with a RWI trained teacher or teaching assistant. In addition to the RWI, children will also be working on writing skills in their classes with their own teacher.
The Read Write Inc. Managers at school are Mrs Betts and Mrs Jones. If you have any questions or need any guidance on the programme, please pop into the school office or give them a call and they will arrange an appointment for you. We have an open-door policy here at St Mary’s, so please approach you child’s class teacher about any further concerns regarding their reading or writing.
When using RWI the children will also work in pairs:
- To answer questions
- To practise every activity
- To take turns talking and listening to each other
- To give positive praise to each other
When using RWI to read the children will:
- Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple prompts
- Learn to read words using sound blending (Fred talk)
- Read lively stories featuring words they have learnt to sound out
- Show that they comprehend the stories by answering ‘Find It’ and ‘Prove It’
When using RWI to write the children will:
- Learn to write the letter/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds
- Learn to write words by saying the sounds and graphemes (Fred fingers)
- Learn to write simple the more complex sentences
- Compose stories based on story strips
- Compose a range of texts using discussion prompts
Help your child learn to read words by sounding-blending (Fred talk) eg. c-a-t = cat, sh-o-p = shop. Children learn to read words by blending the letter-sounds that are in the Speed Sounds set.
Help your child to say the pure sounds (‘m’ not ‘muh’, ‘s’ not ‘suh’ etc.) as quickly as they can, and then blend the sounds together to say the whole word. If they struggle to hear the sounds themselves you may assist by blending for them and asking them to identify the word.
The children will complete a spelling test at least twice a week within their RWI group. They will carry out spelling checks during the week focusing on applying the new sounds they have learnt that week. At the end of the week the children will be tested on the red words (trick words- such as are, we, she, the…) and a selection of words in which they must apply the new learnt sounds.
How will I know how well my child is doing?
We will always let you know how well your child is doing, either verbally or a quick note in their diaries.
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 catch up.
What else can I do to help my child learn to read?
Purchasing your own set of RWI sound cards will enable your child to practise the sounds he or she has already learnt and will be most beneficial. (Amazon sell speed sound packs or please use the cards sent home from school in Reception) Please refrain from teaching new sounds until they have been taught at school. The teachers will send you information about the sounds that their group will be covering each time the groups are changed round. Please discuss with your child and ask them to teach you the sounds they are learning.
Reading a variety of books (fiction, non-fiction, rhymes etc.) Discuss the different features of the books. Talk about the books and other reading materials that you have shared. Explain the meaning of new words. See if your child could change a part of the story to make a new version. You could use puppets or soft toys to retell the story. Most importantly though, show that fun can be gained by listening to stories and reading a range of texts, e.g. Cereal packets, shopping lists, road signs, web pages, magazines, comics, newspapers etc.
Finally, don’t worry if your child is struggling at first with their sounds and words, they will get there in their own time. If you have time (we know it is very precious!), we would urge you to try and read stories to your child before they go to bed. This will help develop a wider vocabulary which makes a vast difference to their quality of writing but it will also encourage them to enjoy a good story.