The Government strongly recommend the use of synthetic phonics when teaching early reading 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 Lent Rise, 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 that you read, the more you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go’. Dr Seuss.
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.
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.
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.
Visit the Oxford Owl website (external link) which has over 100 free ebooks for to enjoy with your child.
- 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
At the end of Year 1 children take part in the national Phonics Screening. You can find out more about this here.