Phonics - Read Write Inc

What is Phonics?

 Phonics is the system of ‘blending’ sounds together to read, and ‘segmenting’ sounds to spell. They are both complimentary and interlinking skills that are taught together. You may hear your children use some vocabulary that you are not familiar with that they have learnt in their phonics lessons.

A Phoneme
Is the smallest unit of sound that we use in the English language. A phoneme can be made up of one letter as in the alphabet sounds – s, a, t, p, i, n etc, or two letters (a digraph) as in sh, ch, th, ay, ar, or three letters (trigraphs) as in air, ear, ure. Phonemes can not be broken down into separate sounds.

A Grapheme
Is the way we spell a phoneme. A phoneme may have only one grapheme for example ‘b’. Or may have several different spellings – for example or can be spelt ‘or’ in torn, ‘aw’ in claw, ‘au’ in naughty or ore in more. The children will initially be introduced to one common grapheme for each phoneme, but as they progress through the school they will taught the less common spelling alternatives and encouraged to try and choose the correct grapheme for a particular word they are trying to spell.

Consonant Blends
Are made up of two or three phonemes blended together quite quickly as we learn to read. Examples are sc, sm, bl, pr, str

Short Vowel Sounds
Are the vowels saying their sound as ‘a’ in c a t.

Long Vowel Sounds
Are the vowels saying their name as ‘ay’ in day, ‘oa’ in boat or ‘igh’ in night.

How do we teach Phonics at our school?

EYFS and Key Stage 1 Phonics sessions take place four days a week. Children are grouped according to attainment to make sure teaching and learning is at the correct level for their current achievement. Groups may contain a mixture of EYFS, Year 1 and Year 2 children. As soon as children have a thorough understanding of decoding words these children will then access the Inference approach to reading. Key Stage 2 Children identified as being below the expected level of attainment for phonics and reading will receive additional support through RWInc intervention sessions. These will take place when needed by the children

How can you help your child?

In Year R the follow up sheets will be sent home to consolidate learning in class. It will be useful to revise the phonemes your child has learnt that week at school and also later to go over some from previous weeks to reinforce their learning. It is also very beneficial to point out some phonemes when reading at home with your child, particularly those recently learnt. Key words will be sent home as Teddy Words in Year R and linked to the stages in the reading scheme. Please help your child practise recognition of these as this is another important skill to master.

Reading

Reading is obviously recognised as an essential element of all learning. We aim to teach the skills of reading and to foster a lifelong love of language. There is balance of non-fiction and fiction books and children are expected to read a range of genres.

Children bring books home from their earliest days in school. We view the education of children as a partnership with parents and ask them to read with their children as often as possible. 

As a reading school our children take home books that are phonetically decodable but not from one particular scheme. The children use Read Write Inc books within the session but take home a range of different schemed books which include the trigraphs and digraphs they have been taught within their Read Write Inc sessions. We want to ignite a love of reading in our children and believe that children need to have the opportunity to apply their early reading skills taught by using a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts from different decodable schemes eg Big Cat phonics, Bug club books and Oxford reading tree phonics. Staff use the Read write inc groupings/assessments to ensure the books the children take home match their phonics phase so children can decode these books easily. Children also take home a book banded book to enjoy reading together with their parents/carers, these are marked with a sticker inside the front cover.  In addition, all children in school visit the library at least once a week and are able to take two books of their own choice home to share.

We also include a large selection of non scheme books within the levels and within each class children have access to high quality texts linked to their current topic.

Our phonics policy can be downloaded from the link below.