“The limits of our language are the limits of our world…” Ludwig Wittgenstein
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At Brambles the teaching of phonics is of the highest priority. We intend for all children to become confident and enthusiastic readers. We believe that a systematic, synthetic approach provides the best foundations.
At Brambles Primary Academy, we use Read Write Inc as our Systematic, Synthetic Phonics Scheme. Read Write Inc is a DfE-validated phonics programme with a whole-school approach to teaching early reading and teaches children to read accurately, fluently and with understanding.
During the Autumn and Spring term, children in Nursery spend their RWI time listening to, learning and joining in with carefully chosen stories, rhymes, poems and songs. They then use this to role-play together, develop vocabulary and build sentences orally and make up stories through planned talk experiences. In the summer term, the focus is to learn the initial letter sounds and introduce oral blending through ‘Fred Talk’ throughout the day. Children are taught the correct letter formation using the RWI mnemonics and we ensure that children achieve the correct pencil grip.
Children in Reception are taught daily phonics lessons. For the first four weeks of Reception, children revisit Set 1 sounds and are taught in class groups. After this period, children are individually assessed and grouped according to their stage. Children receive daily phonics teaching in these groups using the structured speed sounds lesson plan.
It is our aim that all children leave Reception on track to achieve the expected standard for the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check.
Children in Key Stage 1 continue to be taught phonics in small groups, depending on their stage not age. They have a daily RWI lesson lasting 40 minutes. This lesson starts with a 10 minute speed sounds routine which teaches oral blending, new speed sounds and revision of previous speed sounds, oral blending, decoding words, reading common exception words, decoding ‘alien/nonsense’ words, and spelling. Children then read and comprehend a book which is carefully matched to their phonics knowledge following a 5-day plan. The learning in the remaining part of the session includes spelling, grammar, and other writing activities.
We make sure that children read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and the common exception words. This is so that, early on, they experience success and gain confidence as readers. Re-reading and discussing these books with teachers, supports their fluency and decoding skills and promotes a good understanding of the text being read.
It is our aim that children in Year 2 complete the RWI programme by the end of the Autumn term in Year 2 and then focus on bridging the gap between Phonics and Reading with fluency and understanding.
A progression document identifies the sounds taught across the year to ensure children are ready for the Phonics Screening Check (PSC) in the Summer Term of Year 1. Any children who do not pass the PSC have tutoring and small group interventions and will take a re-sit in Year 2.
When children have worked all the way through the RWI scheme and have a secure phonic understanding, they move onto guided reading sessions with a greater focus on comprehension and fluency (as detailed on our Reading page on the website) Guided Reading is on a whole class basis and there are many other daily opportunities for reading across the curriculum.
Classrooms across the academy display the RWI Speed Sounds chart to support children with their reading and spelling.
Key Stage 2
By the time children complete the transition from KS1 to KS2 we intend that they will have completed the RWI phonics programme. Their phonic development will continue to be explicitly taught through the school’s spelling programme.
Those children who have not reached the expected level by the time they leave KS1 will continue to access the RWI programme and receive additional targeted tutoring to ensure they catch up with their peers.
The Read Write Inc approach:
Children take part in 3 x 40-minute RWI lessons each week, using the format and books from the scheme. Lessons begin with Speed Sound Sessions, followed by reading to build fluency and comprehension. Sessions are rigorous, snappy and successful for all. Teachers engage children and ensure their full participation using call and response, choral reading and partner practice. Partners practise everything they are taught and answer every question together. This keeps children working and thinking throughout the lesson, and gives teachers opportunities to check if something needs explaining more clearly. For any children not making expected progress, intervention is put in place and staff speak to parents or carers to offer advice on how best to support their child.
All children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 take part in Read Write Inc sessions until they finish the scheme. Children making expected progress will finish the grey level before the end of the Autumn Term in Year 2.
All children take home Read Write Inc books matched to their level of phonic knowledge.
Children are assessed half-termly and grouped accordingly. All teachers keep a ‘Sound Tracker’ for their group (provided by the reader leader), to identify any gaps and monitor progress. The Read Write Inc Team meet regularly to discuss any children who are not making expected progress and to discuss groupings. All staff delivering the programme feedback to the class teacher on progress. and are aware of any children in their group with a Support Plan. The Phonics lead ensures that the online assessment portal is up to date and carefully monitors progress across the whole school.
Children who demonstrate a need for additional support are tutored 1:1 in addition to their daily phonics sessions. This helps to ensure all children keep up, and don’t have to catch up. Staff will provide additional support throughout the day by wearing ‘pinnies’ for quick sound checking, targeting the sounds that children need more practise with.
Staff are regularly trained by Read Write Inc trainers to lead sessions and throughout the school year, in-house sessions are held alongside ‘Instructional Coaching’ cycles to promote good practice. A key element of the Read Write Inc. Programme is consistent whole-school practice. This is underpinned by continued professional development.
Parents and Carers
Parents and Carers are another essential part of the reading success at our school. At the start of the school year, as part of welcome meetings and newsletters, Parents and Carers are supported to understand the important role of Phonics and Reading. Specific meetings are held at the start of Reception and ahead of the Phonics Screening in Y1. There are links above to Read Write Inc information for Parents and helpful videos about How to say the sounds and How to support your child with reading. Phonics and reading are a key focus for discussion at Parents’ Evenings and events throughout the school year. Some children have access to RWI Pathways through ClassDojo, which are short videos centred around the sounds that the child needs more support with. These videos can be accessed both at home and at school.
Most children will have developed reading skills to enable them to access reading for pleasure and reading for learning. We aim to equip all children with the skills to:
- Decode letter-sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly, using their phonic knowledge and skills
- Read common exception words on sight
- Understand what they read
- Read aloud with fluency and expression
- Write confidently, with a strong focus on vocabulary and grammar
- Spell quickly and easily by segmenting the sounds in words
- Learn letter formation and handwriting skills.
The acquisition of these skills will mean that:
- All children make good progress in Phonics.
- Phonics Screening Check results are at or above national average.
- All children develop the skills they need to become fluent readers across the curriculum.
- Children can read and apply the phonics skills they have been taught.