Our Approach to Phonics
At Rokeby Park we use phonics to teach early reading and use the Read Write Inc. (RWI) scheme. This is a systematic approach to phonics and pupils learn letter sounds, which they then apply to their reading and writing.
Phonics is taught every day and the pupils are split into groups according to their needs. Typically, pupils complete the phonics scheme before they leave Year 2. Each half-term, we assess and group our children based on their stage of reading not age of reading. This means that all children practise reading at the right level.
In our Read Write Inc. lessons, we teach children to read sounds speedily and practise reading and spelling words containing these sounds. Children read books that match their phonic knowledge. We believe success breeds success, therefore our children read decodable books that contain sounds and words they can read, in line with the National Curriculum.
Children read each RWI Storybook at least three times at school to ensure accuracy and build fluency and comprehension. The children bring home this same book and a corresponding book bag book so they can practise becoming a storyteller with both fluency and expression. This ensures children are given ample opportunity to build on their confidence and reading skills.
All Year 1 pupils are required to take the ‘Year 1 Phonics Screening Check’. This check assesses pupils’ ability to read words using their phonic knowledge. The check is not a reading test and contains some ‘non-words’ or ‘alien words’, and pupils have to be able to distinguish between these and real words.
Alongside reading we also teach the children to spell the words they have been reading. They develop their ideas into sentences and answer questions about the storybooks they read. These skills can then be applied to children’s writing across other areas of the curriculum.
Phonics is also used beyond KS1 for children who may need extra support. Children in Year 5 and 6 use the Fresh Start programme. Fresh Start is a ‘learn to read’ programme aimed at older children but follows the same principles as Read Write Inc.
We read other stories to children, stories they may not yet have read for themselves. These stories will promote a love of reading, they will build your child’s vocabulary and understanding. Reading stories out loud has so many benefits and we do this with enthusiasm and love.
Reading is a fundamental and vital skill. Sometimes our children need additional phonics practice and support. In this instance, we will provide extra tutoring on a one-to-one basis for 10-15 minutes every day. This is based on ‘keep-up’ not a ‘catch-up’ idea ensuring no child is left behind.
Every child will be taught to read in our school. We are passionate and enthusiastic about ensuring every child is a confident and fluent reader. Our aim for our children is to become independent readers who can choose their own books to read and develop their love of reading.
Our Approach to Reading at Rokeby Park
All pupils take part in a guided reading session in school every day.
In school we use a mixture of topic related texts and genres that include fiction, non-fiction, and poetry for guided reading sessions. During guided reading sessions pupils will either read in a group, with an adult or independently. Pupils will complete independent activities linked to a book or theme that they are learning about. During guided reading the books that are used are at an instructional level, which means that pupils will find them harder to read, and will be taught how to use a range of strategies to support their reading.
Children are encouraged to discuss the text, expressing their individual opinions of the content. More able readers will be asked to compare the themes and speculate on the tone of different texts.
Reading is a valuable, lifelong skill that intersects all areas of the curriculum. We also encourage children to select their own books from the school library and welcome suggestions regarding the texts they would like to read in future. We develop our pupils through independent and shared reading as well as cross-curricular sessions which empower them to find pleasure in reading. We also encourage all our pupils in to read regularly at home.
Please see the information below that gives further guidance on RWI phonics.
RWI Parents Guide