The Government strongly recommend the use of synthetic phonics when teaching early literacy skills to children. Synthetic phonics is simply the ability to convert a letter or letter group into sounds that are then blended together into a word.
At Featherstone Primary School, we are using the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme to get children off to a flying start with their literacy. RWI is a method of learning based upon letter sounds and phonics, and we use it to aid children in their reading and writing.
Reading opens the door to learning. A child who reads a lot will become a good reader. A good reader will be able to read more challenging material. A child who can read more challenging material is a child who will learn. The more a child learns, the more he or she will want to find out.
Using RWI, the children learn to read effortlessly so they can put all their energy into comprehending what they read. It also allows them to spell effortlessly so they can put all their energy into composing what they write.
The children are assessed regularly and grouped according to their ability. They will work with a RWI trained teacher or teaching assistant. In addition to the RWI, children will also be working on writing skills in their classes with their own teacher.
The Read Write Inc Manager at the Featherstone Primary School is Miss Lacey. If you have any questions or need any guidance on the programme, please pop in to the school office or give them a call and they will arrange an appointment for you.
When using RWI to read the children will:
- Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple prompts.
- Learn to read words using sound blending (Fred talk).
- Read lively stories featuring words they have learnt to sound out.
- Show that they comprehend the stories by answering 'Find It' and 'Prove It'.
When using RWI to write the children will:
- Learn to write the letter/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds.
- Learn to write words by saying the sounds and graphemes (Fred fingers).
- Learn to write simple then more complex sentences.
- Compose stories based on story strips.
- Compose a range of texts using discussion prompts.
When using RWI the children will also work in pairs:
- To answer questions.
- To practise every activity.
- To take turns talking and listening to each other.
- To give positive praise to each other.
Help your child learn to read words by sounding-blending (Fred talk) eg. c-a-t = cat, sh-o-p = shop. Children learn to read words by blending the letter-sounds that are in the Speed Sounds set (shown further down the page).
Help your child to say the pure sounds ('m' not 'muh', 's' not 'suh' etc.) as quickly as they can, and then blend the sounds together to say the whole word.
Support your child at home using the following guide:
Reading Books Sent Home
Children in Reception who are learning the first 44 letter sounds and are not blending fluently will bring home sound sheets, picture books and a library book for you to read with them.
Once children can blend fluently and know the first 44 sounds they will bring home Ditty sheets or a red Ditty book and a RWI bookbag book.
After ditty books, children bring home a RWI book and an RWI bookbag book. These will be changed every 3/4 days.
Read Write Inc Books: (This is your child's main reading book) Please encourage your child to read though the speed sounds page first, then the green and red words page and then check your child understands the meaning of words on the vocabulary check page, before they start reading the book. Your child will have read this book at least three times before they bring it home. They should be able to read this book with fluency and expression by the time they bring it home and they should have a good comprehension of what the book is about. At the back of the book are find it/prove it questions for you to do with your child.
RWI Book Bag books: (These books are to support is your child's main reading book) These books are to extend your child's reading. Your child should be able to read most of this book however they might need a little support, especially with the first read.
Visit the Oxford Owl website (external link) which has over 100 free ebooks for to enjoy with your child.
Library Books: (once a week from October Half Term) Library books are chosen by your child from the school library. These are for you and your child to enjoy together. If your child is able to read a few familiar words, great, but if not, please enjoy reading them to your child. Your child can also include in their reading diaries, books they have read from home or books they have taken out of the library and read.
What else can I do to help my child learn to read?
Purchasing your own set of RWI sound cards will enable your child to practise the sounds he or she has already learnt and will be most beneficial. Please refrain from teaching new sounds until they have been taught at school. Each week, the sounds being taught in each phonic group are put on the newsletter for your information. Currently, you can purchase set 1 and set 2/3 Sound cards from the school office. Each pack is £7.00 each. Alternatively, you can also obtain them and other resources such as the Parent Handbook from Amazon.
Reading a variety of books (fiction, non-fiction, rhymes etc.) Discuss the different features of the books. Talk about the books and other reading materials that you have shared. Explain the meaning of new words. See if your child could change a part of the story to make a new version. You could use puppets or soft toys to retell the story. Most importantly though, show that fun can be gained by listening to stories and reading a range of texts, eg. cereal packets, shopping lists, road signs, web pages, magazines, comics, newspapers etc.
Finally, don't worry if your child is struggling at first with their sounds and words, they will get there in their own time. If you have time (we know it is very precious!), we would urge you to try and read stories to your child before they go to bed. This will help develop a wider vocabulary which makes a vast difference to their quality of writing but it will also encourage them to enjoy a good story.
- Read Write Inc - for more information and ideas for supporting your child visit the RWI website
- Oxford Owl - visit the Oxford Owl website which has over 100 free ebooks for to enjoy with your child
- YouTube: Phonemes Pronunciation Guide - a video clip, demonstrating how we produce our pure sounds to help during our Read Write Inc lessons
- Family Learning: Phonics Games - Phonics games will help your child to practise sounding out words, which will help them to read
- ICT Games: Word Reader - Listen to the word and choose which flower has that word underneath it