Phonics and Reading
We use the highly successful Read Write Inc. phonics programme to teach our children to read, write and spell.
Read, Write, Inc. at Lark Hill
Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.
We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.
How will my child be taught to read?
We start by teaching phonics to the children in the Nursery class once they are settled and ready. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters. Ask them to show you what these are.
We teach the sounds in a particular order. There are 44 sounds in the English language but many of these can be spelt in different ways.
The children also practise reading (and spelling) what we call ‘tricky words/red words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’. These are words that can’t be decoded using sounds. We teach our children to sight read these words.
The children practise their reading with books that match their phonics ability and the ‘tricky words’ they know. They quickly believe they are readers, and this does wonders for their confidence.
The teachers read to the children, too, so the children get to know all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. They learn many more words this way and it also helps their writing.
How will I know how well my child is doing?
We will always let you know how well your child is doing. Please attend "Learner Review" meetings to keep up to date with your child's progress.
We teach phonics in small groups and your child will work I a group with other children who are at the same stage in their reading journey. We use various ways to find out how the children are getting on in reading. We assess all the children each half term in RWI, changing groups as needed. Your child will have one-to-one support if we think he or she needs some extra help to keep up.
In the summer term, the government asks us to do a phonics check of all the Year 1 children. This gives us extra information about their progress. We will talk to you about how well your child has done, and especially if we have any worries at all.
How long will it take to learn to read well?
Our aim is for most children to be finished RWI by the end of year 1 or shortly after they start year 2.
What can I do to help?
Please practise reading for at least 10 minutes every day at home. Make sure you record this practise in your child’s reading record. You can also access books to support their RWI learning programme on the Oxford Owl website.
Does it matter if my child misses a lesson or two?
It matters a lot if your child misses school. RWI happens every single day. Teaching is very systematic, so even one missed lesson means that your child has not learnt something that they need to know to be a good reader.
What if he or she finds it difficult to learn to read?
We want children to learn to read, however long it takes us to teach them. We will find out very quickly if your child is finding reading difficult. First, we move children to a different group, so that we can make sure that they have learnt what they need to know. If they still struggle, we give them extra time with an adult, on their own. These adults are specially trained to support these children. Your child will still be in the same group with the other children and won’t miss out on any of the class lessons.
Some children take a bit longer to learn to put sounds together to read a word, e.g. c-a-t to make the word ‘cat’.
My child has difficulty pronouncing some sounds. Will this stop him learning to read through phonics?
This isn’t a problem for learning to read as long as we know what sound the child is trying to say. This is not something to worry about. Many children have a few sounds that they can hear clearly but find it difficult to say, particularly the l-sound, r-sound, w-sound, th-sound, s-sound, sh-sound and j-sound. Often, they say a t-sound for the c-sound; "tttssh" for the s-sound; "w" for the r-sound and "r" for the l-sound. You can help your child by encouraging him or her to look at your mouth when you say the sound. They can easily learn to read, even if they find one or two sounds difficult to say.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns. We are here to help.