Phonics & Reading - additional information about our programmes to support learning
Phonics at St John’s, “The teaching of phonics is a strength of the school and most pupils reach the level required by the end of Year 1. Positive relationships and high expectations ensure that pupils develop the skills of segmenting and blending. This ensures that most pupils in key stage 1 can read unknown words accurately and quickly become fluent and keen readers.” (Ofsted, December 2018)
'The most important starting point is to read to children. Reading to children is the best way of encouraging them to love books and reading.
By reading stories aloud to children every day, you are forming a link for them between reading, comfort and love. When you love a book, your children will want to hear it again and again! Children thrive on repetition, so when you’ve read Room on the Broom for the hundredth time, remember you are hardwiring their brains for success.' (Ruth Miskin, 2020)
At St. John’s CE Primary School, we follow the systematic synthetic phonics programme, 'Read Write Inc.'. Phonics is taught on a daily basis throughout the EYFS and KS1 and targeted interventions are delivered using Read Write Inc. in KS2.
We are committed to every child learning to read as quickly as possible with the strongest start to reading in the Foundation Stage. We follow Ruth Miskin's 'Read Write Inc Phonics' programme daily and follow the programme rigorously. This programme is new to the school this year and we are very excited to see how it transforms our youngest children into confident, happy readers. We use this highly successful programme to teach our children to read, write and spell. Our children do well in the phonics screening check and by Year 2, the majority are fluent readers with the best chance of success in the end of Key Stage 1 tests.
Read Write Inc sessions take place every morning for all Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 children with no exceptions, as the pace and consistency of the programme is a key element to developing reading skills for all children. This is integral to allowing our children to effectively learn the rest of the school curriculum using their knowledge and skill in reading.
Our ultimate aims and objectives within the Read Write Inc. programme are for the children to be able to learn and apply sound blending skills and to learn to segment words in order to be able to create skilled and confident readers. Children also learn to read and spell words that do not conform to regular phonetic patterns (High Frequency Words) and decode both fiction and non-fiction texts through discussion, performance and teacher led activities.
Following a short series of Read Write Inc. lessons (3 or 5 day rolling cycle depending on ability), children are then given accurately matched, fully decodable Read Write Inc. 'Book Bag Books' that allow the children to apply their phonic knowledge and practice reading at home with their parents. This means that the books contain only the sounds in which the children have already been taught so far and leaves nothing for the children to 'guess' when reading (which can often lead to errors). It is therefore important for the children to experience success when reading these books and they must be celebrated for reading these fluently at home. Allow them to show off their reading ability to you and share the joy of reading together!
'Read-a-lot-children do well at school; they read in two days what many children read in a year. They absorb the vocabulary, grammar, ideas and, above all, knowledge.
Everything hangs on children wanting to read: begging, nagging and testing do not get children to want to read. Children are like us - they only read if they want to.
I don’t think there’s a big secret about what to do; we need to show children how much we love stories. Read great stories, poems and non-fiction every day, all through school.
What we love today they might read tomorrow.' (Ruth Miskin, 2020)
Accelerated Reader is a computer program that we use to help us to manage and monitor our children’s independent reading practice. Children pick books at their own level and read them at their own pace. When finished, a short quiz is taken, on the computer. (Passing the quiz is an indication that the child has understood what they have just read - this is the skill of fluency )
Accelerated Reader gives children and their teachers feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher can then use to help children to set goals and direct ongoing reading practice.
Children using Accelerated Reader choose their own books to read, rather than having one assigned to them. This makes reading a much more enjoyable experience as they can choose books that are (in the main) interesting to them.
Teachers and support staff will help children to choose books at an appropriate readability level that are challenging without being frustrating, ensuring that your child can pass the quiz and experience success.
If children do not do well on the quiz, the teacher or support staff member may help your child:
- Choose another book that is more appropriate.
- Ask more probing questions as your child reads and before your child takes a quiz.
- Pair your child with a partner, or even have the book read to your child.
In most cases, children really enjoy taking the quizzes. They read books at their appropriate reading and interest levels and are therefore likely to be successful. This will be satisfying and encouraging for for most of our children.
Best of all, they learn and grow at their own pace. Brilliant!
Please have a look at the parent guide, below.
What is Accelerated Reader?
Read Write Inc. Documents and Resources for Parents
Common Exception Words - Spelling Lists
If you have any further questions about Phonics please do net hesitate to contact your child’s class teacher.