Literacy Resources

To gain an overview of English at Robert Miles Infant School, please read our English Curriculum Intent.

Phonics

Phonics is not the only way to teach reading, but it is recognised as the best way to teach reading for most children. At Robert Miles Infants we follow the Read, Write Inc. (RWI) scheme to teach phonics and guided reading. RWI is taught daily in small groups from when children first join us in reception until year 2, when they demonstrate their can read confidently, fluently and with good comprehension.

How does it work?

Children are assessed regularly and grouped according to their reading level. They work in small groups with a teacher or a teaching assistant who has been fully trained in the RWI programme. They learn the sounds that they need to know and practise blending and segmenting skills for reading and writing using ‘Fred Talk’.

At the end of each half term the children will be assessed again to check progress. They will then be re-grouped to ensure that they are being sufficiently challenged and supported. If children are not making expected progress they will access tailored ‘catch-up’ sessions.

Our daily RWI lessons start as shorter sessions for our children in reception and develop into hour long lessons that incorporate a guided reading lesson. RWI books are used which match children's phonic knowledge. Within these lessons children will also engage in writing activities to develop Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG) skills along with activities that develop reading comprehension.

Children begin to learn the letter sounds (phonemes) and how to blend them together to read when they first start school in reception. Children will learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts and a rhyme/saying called a ‘ditty’. First, children need to be able to 'orally blend' (saying the sounds and blending them into words, not reading them). You can help your child to orally blend by saying out loud the letters "c-a-t" and children should respond by blending the sounds into the word and saying the whole word "cat". Children then learn to read words by blending the letter/sounds that are in the Speed Sound sets. We call this 'Fred Talk'. In phonics we use pure sounds. This means removing the ‘uh’ from the sounds. The children learn to read real and ‘nonsense’ words (sometimes called monster or alien words) by blending sounds together. These sounds can be stretchy sounds (e.g. ay as in the words play) or bouncy sounds (e.g. oo as in the word look).

From reception to Key Stage 1 (Year 1 and 2) children continue to learn the phonemes (letter sounds) including when sounds are represented by 2 letters (digraphs) or 3 letters (trigraphs). In the RWI programme these are known as ‘Special Friends’. As children move through the scheme they will be taught that some sounds can be written in different ways.

Throughout the scheme they are also taught to read and write ‘Common Exception’ or Tricky words that can not be sounded out. These are known as ‘Red Words’ in RWI.

We use the 'Complex Speed Sound Chart' below within our lessons to remind children of the different ways the sounds can be written.
Complex speed sounds chart

To download a copy of the complex speed sounds chart click below.

Complex speed sounds chart

Lower case letter formation stencil

To download a copy of this stencil click below.

Lower case letter formation stencil

Upper case letter formation stencil

To download a copy of this stencil please click below.

Upper case letter formation stencil

Reading

Reading unlocks the whole curriculum and future learning depends upon it. We are very passionate about childrens’ literature and creating a life-long love of reading for children. Children learn to read in different ways and at different ages.

The first part of a child’s journey towards being a successful reader starts when the child is a baby and is listening to stories and rhymes. This encourages a love of language and stories and develops the child’s vocabulary and understanding of language as they start to become familiar with what words mean and what they look like.

At school children will learn the fundamental skills of reading through the high quality teaching of systematic phonics. Our teachers continue to build on this through daily story time. We place paramount importance on providing opportunities for children to listen to fluent, expressive reading of stories, poems and non-fiction.

We provide purposeful cross-curricular reading where children are given regular opportunities to practise the skills they have learned throughout the day and they are expected to read regularly across the curriculum in a range of contexts and with confidence.

Alongside this we use our reading spine to immerse children in a wide range of rich and varied texts, exposing them to ambitious vocabulary and a rich literature heritage. Children start school with varied exposure to vocabulary and a wide range of oral language skills. We recognise that vocabulary matters to academic success and life chances and therefore we teach ambitious vocabulary systematically through Read, Write, Inc. and across the curriculum. We provide experiences to widen children’s vocabulary at the earliest stages of their lives within a language-rich environment. Each class has a books area to support your child in developing a love for reading.

Below are some helpful parent information documents:

Reading at Home Overview (parent guidance for how to support children when reading at home)

Book Bag Book Information Booklet (parent guide of how to use the Book Bag Books with your child)

Reading VIPERS KS1 (questions to support children's comprehension when reading)

November 2020

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