At Brook Primary School we use the Read, Write Inc programme to teach phonics in EYFS and KS1.
We teach pupils to:
– decode letter-sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly, using their phonic
knowledge and skills
– read ‘tricky’ 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
– acquire good handwriting
In addition, we teach pupils to work effectively with a partner to explain and consolidate what they are learning. This provides the teacher with opportunities to assess learning and to pick up on difficulties, such as pupils’ poor articulation, or problems with blending or alphabetic code knowledge.
We group pupils homogeneously, according to their progress in reading rather than their writing. This is because it is known that pupils’ progress in writing will lag behind progress in reading, especially for those whose motor skills are less well developed.
We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and the ‘red words’. This is so that, early on, they experience success and gain confidence that they are readers. Re-reading and discussing these books with the teacher supports their increasingly fluent decoding and their understanding of the text (comprehension).
Pupils write at the level of their spelling knowledge, that is, they use their knowledge of the alphabetic code and the tricky words they have learnt. They can soon spell more complex words confidently and accurately.
Our aim is for pupils to complete the phonics programme as quickly as possible. The sooner they complete it, the sooner they will be able to choose books to read at their own interest and comprehension level.
Assessing and tracking progress
We assess all pupils across the school who are on the Read Write Inc programme using the Sound and Word Entry Assessment. We use this data to assign children to either Read Write Inc. Phonics group or who may need 1:1 tuition. This gives us a very good indication of how well they are making progress relative to their starting points. We do this for all pupils, whenever they join us, so we can track all of them effectively, including those eligible for the pupil premium.
For those on the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme, we record their starting date and entry point on the tracker to monitor the rate at which they are making progress. We can also easily identify those who joined the programme later.
Reading is taught across the curriculum through discrete phonics sessions, one-to-one with a teacher or teaching assistant, shared reading, guided reading and reading aloud to children. Staff are reading roles models, who demonstrate and encourage a love for reading, and children have access to a wide variety of reading materials in class libraries, the school library, carefully selected core texts used in our teaching of Literacy and book fairs. Staff track the progress of children throughout the year ensuring that each child is supported and challenged at their appropriate level.
Across the school, every child is seen as a writer. Opportunities for writing are identified and seized and writing is embedded across the curriculum.
Children develop a joy for writing from the emergent writing in the Foundation Stage to the accomplished and confident writers that leave our school. Children are provided with abundant opportunities for speaking and listening, in all writing sessions. Storytelling plays an important role throughout the school allowing children to internalise writing patterns in order for them to imitate, innovate and invent their own – very much following the Pie Corbett model for Writing.
Writing is taught through discrete phonics sessions, shared writing and guided writing. During these writing sessions (writing workshops), teachers model to writers how to trial ideas, plan, use talk for writing, reach for ‘the right’ vocabulary, use reference materials, substitute vocabulary and edit and redraft a text. Finally, writing is celebrated through the pupils ‘publishing’ their writing for display or reading aloud to their class or other classes.
Staff use feedback marking to inform pupils of their next steps, as well as to inform future planning for individuals and groups. Children are encouraged to reflect on their own learning, and the learning of their peers, and to edit and improve their writing as a direct result. Teachers and children agree personalised writing targets to both challenge and progress pupils in their aspirations to become continually more accomplished in their writing. These targets are shared with parents who are invited to visit their child’s classroom each term and explore their literacy learning.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar is taught as part of a separate lesson, in which children learn about spelling rules, how to use punctuation and grammatical devices through short, focused activities. These skills are later reflected on during daily SPAG starters that open Literacy lessons. They are also briefly revised and then applied during writing sessions.
Phonic knowledge underpins our spelling teaching. Pupils are also taught to understand the role of morphology and etymology. Staff are familiar with what pupils have been taught throughout the school and the spelling rules and word lists they need to learn in their current year, in order to ensure a cohesive, structured approach. Spelling is taught as individual lessons and spelling lists are sent home to be practiced for weekly testing.
Emphasis is given to the importance of teaching handwriting thoroughly and regularly (at least twice a week) with high expectations of presentation. EYFS pupils are taught pre-cursive script which should develop into a fluid cursive script in KS1 and continue to mature and develop in KS2.
In addition to this, KS2 pupils are taught to use a clear un-joined style for labelling diagrams, listing data, email address and presenting algebra.
Pupils who require additional time to develop their fine motor skills are given opportunities to do so at writing interventions.