How we teach your children to read words
At Park Primary, we use a teaching programme called Read Write Inc. Phonics to teach our children to read and write. We make sure children have a good phonic knowledge before they move to Year 3. Some children complete the Read Write Inc. programme in Year 1 and others in Year 2. The children who have completed the programme move to a comprehension group where they focus on their understanding of the text. Children in Key Stage 2 who require extra support will receive one-to-one tuition to help build up their phonic knowledge.
In Reception and Key Stage 1, we group children by their reading progress for daily sessions and re-assess children every half-term so we can place them in the group where they’ll make the most progress. We provide extra daily one-to-one sessions for children who need a bit of a boost to keep up.
How do children learn to read phonetically?
The phonic knowledge is split into two parts.
First we teach them one way to read and write the 40+ sounds in English. We use pictures to help, for example we make ‘a’ into the shape of an apple, ‘f’ into the shape of a flower. These pictures help children to read the sounds.
Children learn to read words by sound-blending using a frog called Fred. Fred says the sounds and children help him blend the sounds to read each word.
Then we teach children the different spellings of the same sounds, for example, they learn that the sound ‘ay’ is written ay, a-e and ai; the sound ‘ee’ is written ee, e and ea. We use phrases to help them remember each sound, for example, ay, may I play?, a-e – make a cake.
How do we ensure children can read the books during phonic sessions?
The first thing we do is to give children books we know they can read – without any guessing. (We read lots of other stories to them, but do not expect them to read these yet.)
Before they read the story, they sound out the names of characters and new words, practise reading any of the ‘tricky red’ words, and tell them a thought-provoking introduction to get them excited about the story.
Then, over the week, children read the story a number of times: first to focus on reading the words carefully; then to help them read the story fluently; and finally, we talk about the story together, for example, how characters might be feeling and why.
How do we teach children to spell confidently?
We teach children to spell words they have been reading during phonics sessions by using ‘Fred Fingers’: we say a word and then children pinch the sounds onto their fingers and write the word, sound by sound.
We encourage children to form letters with the correct pencil grip and in the correct sitting position from the very beginning.
Once children can write simple words, we teach them to ‘hold’ a sentence in their heads and then write it with correct spelling and punctuation.
How can you help at home?
First of all, come to our meetings. We hold these throughout the year to give you practical advice about how you can help.
We appreciate you’re busy but here are two things that will make the biggest difference to your child’s progress. Every night:
- Read a bedtime story to your child.
Your child will bring home lovely books from their class book corner. Read these stories to your child – don’t ask them to read the story themselves as this is beyond their current reading stage. There is some really good advice about how to make bedtime storytime fun on www.ruthmiskin.com/ parents
Your child will bring home a colour banded book suited to their current reading stage and an RWI Book Band Book which will only contain sounds that the children have been learning in their phonics lessons. Encourage your child to sound out unfamiliar words and praise them when they use their sounds correctly. Talk to your child about what they have read, explain the meaning of words they may not have come across before and ask them questions to see if they have understood the text. We encourage children to read the same text a number of times to help them build up a good understanding of what they have just read. Please write a comment in your child’s reading record book so the adults in school know how they are doing at home. There’s more good advice on how to listen to your child read on www.ruthmiskin.com/parents
Phonics Screening Check
In Key Stage 1, children are assessed at the end of Year 1 using a Government Statutory Assessment Tool known as the Phonics Screening Check. This screening check confirms whether the child has learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard and will identify sounds needing further consolidation in Year 2. For more information on the Phonics Screening check and for suggestions on how to support your child at home please see the slides below: