At Eastry Church of England Primary School we want children to enjoy reading and see it as a pleasurable activity that will allow children to; ‘fulfil their full potential as God intended.’ To make this possible we teach early reading through the synthetic phonics programme Read Write Inc. (RWI) RWI is a method of learning centred around letter sounds, phonics and blending sounds together to read and write words. Using RWI the children learn to read effortlessly so that they can then put all their energy into comprehending what they read.
We passionately believe that with the right support, all children can and will learn to read. In order for all children to be successful readers, they are assessed each half term and grouped according to their ability. As well as half termly assessments, we constantly informally assess the children to make sure that they are at working at the appropriate level. If needed, children receive additional daily one to one support to help them on their journey to becoming a confident reader. Within the daily RWI lessons, children are encouraged and supported to not only develop their decoding skills and to build up their fluency but also their comprehension skills.
The teachers at Eastry are determined that every pupil will learn to read, regardless of their background, needs or abilities. We have clear expectations of pupils’ phonics progress term by term, from Reception to Year 2, and the teaching of RWI aligns with these expectations. Every adult that teaches a RWI lesson is fully trained and equipped with all the resources to do so.
All children in EYFS and KS1 are taught RWI daily. If a child is highlighted as needing additional support, they will also access a daily one to one intervention. Identified KS2 children are also assessed using the RWI assessments and they access RWI as an intervention. The children are taught to apply the phonics skills through a range of progressive reading and writing activities. We begin by teaching the children set 1 sounds in Fledglings. The children are taught blending sounds into words and as soon as they have been taught the first 5 sounds we use an assisted blending approach to begin to hear and read the sounds in words. The children are then taught a new sound a day while practicing blending with the sounds previously taught. In RWI the individual sounds are called ‘speed sounds’ – because we aim for the children to read them effortlessly. Set 1 sounds are both the single letter sounds and set 1 ‘special friend’ sounds. They are taught in the following order; m, a, s, d, t, i, n, p, g, o, c, k, u, b, f, e, l, h, sh, r, j, v, y, w, th, z, ch, qu, x, ng, nk. There are 12 Set 2 ‘speed sounds’ that are made up of two or three letters which represent just one sound, e.g. ay as in play or igh as in high. These are also ‘special friend’ sounds. When the children are taught Set 2 sounds they will learn:
• a simple picture prompt linked to the sound
• a short phrase to say e.g. may I play
• the letters that represent a sound (special friends) e.g. ay
Each sound has a list of green words linked to it, so that the children have the opportunity to sound out and blend words containing the new sound they have been taught. When learning Set 3 speed sounds the children will be taught alternative sounds/graphemes, e.g. ee as in tree and ea as in tea.
Significantly, the assessment of pupils’ phonics progress is frequent and detailed therefore identifying any pupil who is falling behind the programme’s pace, so that targeted support can be given immediately, Staff have been trained in supporting children through 1:1 tuition following the RWI format.
All children at Eastry, including our weakest readers make sufficient progress in reading to meet age related expectations. Children will be able to apply their phonic knowledge to confidently spell many words either correctly or phonetically using the sounds they have learnt. They will know spelling alternatives for different sounds and be able to apply these consistently. Most importantly, children will choose to read as an activity they take pleasure in.