Phonics Programme

Our school policy on phonics and the teaching of reading and writing

Our pupils learn to read and write effectively and quickly using an adaptation of the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme in the Infants.

The Read Write Inc. Phonic programme

The programme is for pupils in Year R to Year 2 .

Struggling readers in Years 5 and 6 follow Read Write Inc. Fresh Start.

We teach pupils to:

decode letter-sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly, using their phonic knowledge and skills

read ‘tricky’ words on sight

understand what they read

read aloud with fluency and expression

write confidently, with a strong focus on vocabulary and grammar

spell quickly and easily by segmenting the sounds in words

acquire good handwriting.

In addition, we teach pupils to work effectively with a partner to explain and consolidate what they are learning. This provides the teacher with opportunities to assess learning and to pick up on difficulties, such as pupils’ poor articulation, or problems with blending or alphabetic code knowledge.

In Year R we emphasise the alphabetic code. The pupils rapidly learn sounds and the letter or groups of letters they need to represent them. Simple mnemonics help them to grasp this quickly. This is especially useful for pupils at risk of making slower progress. This learning is consolidated daily. Pupils have frequent practice in reading high frequency words with irregular spellings – ‘tricky words’.

We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and the ‘tricky words’. This is so that, early on, they experience success and gain confidence that they are readers. Re-reading and discussing these books with the teacher supports their increasingly fluent decoding.

Alongside this, the teachers read a wide range of stories, poetry and non-fiction to pupils; they are soon able to read these texts for themselves.

Embedding the alphabetic code early on means that pupils quickly learn to write simple words and sentences. We encourage them to compose each sentence aloud until they are confident to write independently. We make sure they write every day.

Our aim is for pupils to complete the phonics programme as quickly as possible. The sooner they complete it, the sooner they will be able to choose books to read at their own interest and comprehension level.

Achievement in our school

Assessing and tracking progress

We assess all pupils from Year R to Year 2 on the Read Write Inc. Sound and Word Entry Assessment and we use these data to assign them to either Read Write Inc.Phonics or Read Write Inc. Literacy and Language, along with Read Write Inc.Spelling. This gives us a very good indication of how well they are making progress relative to their starting points. We do this for all pupils, whenever they join us, so we can track all of them effectively, including those eligible for the pupil premium.

For those on the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme, we record their starting date and entry point on the tracker to monitor the rate at which they are making progress. We can also easily identify those who joined the programme later.

In addition, we use a standardised reading test [NFER ] so that we can ensure that the gains our pupils are making are age-appropriate.

By the end of Key Stage 1, our pupils are able to read aloud age-appropriate texts accurately and with sufficient speed. This means that we can focus on developing their comprehension, preparing them well for transition to Key Stage 2. Their good decoding skills mean that they have a sound strategy for decoding unfamiliar words when they come across them at whatever stage or in any subject, even into secondary school.

Our figures show that around 90% of our pupils complete the phonics programme by the end of Year 1. The rest of the pupils, around 10%, complete the programme by the end of the autumn term of Year 2. We aim for all children to be accurate and speedy readers by the time they enter Key Stage 2.

Pupils who are making slower progress usually complete the programme by the end of Year 2. We support pupils who have identified special educational needs for however long it takes until they can read. For example, we identify those who are at risk of falling behind their peers immediately – whatever their age. Highly trained staff tutor them for 15 minutes every day, using the Read Write Inc. One-to-one tutoring programme.

Narrowing the gap – and the pupil premium

The programme as a whole has been very effective for our pupils in narrowing performance gaps between different groups, both within our school and nationally.

The programme has also been effective in terms of the standards of reading and writing at the end of Key Stages 1 and 2, as shown in our RAISE online data.

We know from our tracking that our pupils who are eligible for the pupil premium have made progress in line with that of our other pupils or are catching up quickly.

Phone screening check

We have high expectations of our pupils’ progress. In the June 2012 phonic screening check 80% our pupils reached the threshold, and in June 2013, following the introduction of this scheme the figure rose to 90% We attribute this to the programme and to the expectations it builds in.

Impact across the curriculum

  • Our teachers are enthusiastic about using the Read Write Inc. programme because they can see how well pupils learn from it and the progress they make, not just in English but across the curriculum.
  • Data is used effectively to ensure gaps are closing between all groups – in particular those eligible for the pupil premium (Read Write Inc. assessment and tracking, standardised reading tests, phonics screening check).
  • 80-90% of pupils complete Read Write Inc. Phonics by end of Year 2 Term 1.
  • Slower progress pupils and those with specific SEN are taught in small homogeneous teaching groups and receive Read Write Inc. one-to-one tutoring.

Quality of teaching in our school

The programme’s ‘cycle of instruction’ means that, after direct instruction and guided practice, the pupils teach another pupil. In this way they all rehearse and consolidate what they have been learning. This helps the pupils to make their understanding clear to themselves and helps the teacher deal with any misconceptions. ‘Partner teaching’ is a key assessment tool. We also use this approach very effectively in other subjects.

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Collective Worship themes this term

In Term 6 we are covering a range of parables - the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin, the Pharasee

and the Publican as well as learning about St Aidan and St Columba .

Thought for the week

from Barbara Meardon

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Try to make time this week to be mindful of small moments.