Teaching Phonics at St James’ Lanehead C of E Primary School
At St James’ Lanehead C of E Primary School we strive to teach children to read effectively and quickly using the Read Write Inc. Phonics (RWI) programme from when our children start with us in the Early Years Foundation Stage. This includes teaching synthetic phonics, sight vocabulary, decoding and encoding words as well as spelling and accurate letter formation.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. We believe that we are providing our children with the tools to develop a love of reading and to be independent and inquisitive learners. We believe that all children should be competent readers and be able to articulate their ideas.
Using the RWI phonics program we teach children to:
1. Read accurately, fluently and with good understanding
2. Develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- Write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
Children learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and are taught how to blend these sounds to decode (read) words. We start by teaching children to read and blend the first thirty Set 1 sounds. Once they have conquered this skill, they start reading stories and texts that have words made up of the sounds they know. This means that they can embed and apply their phonic knowledge and start to build their reading fluency. Once secure, children learn Set 2 and Set 3 sounds and then read texts with increasingly more complex sounds and graphemes. Throughout this process there is a focus on comprehension, reading with expression and reading for enjoyment.
Children are taught in small groups which reflect their phonic knowledge and reading fluency. We regularly assess children so that they are taught in a RWI group which matches their phonic knowledge. We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ability to read ‘tricky words’; so they experience early reading success and gain confidence that they are readers.
The use of a synthetic phonics programme gives children a flying start with their reading, writing and spelling. It is an effective tool to ensure children ‘keep-up’ rather than ‘catch-up.’ The development of children’s phonic knowledge is embedded to also support a child’s writing skills. We ensure we meet the needs of all pupils by carrying out regular assessments. The progress of each child is closely monitored and tracked and parents/carers are regularly updated in regards to their child’s learning.