Reading and Phonics
Children in Reception and Key Stage 1 follow the RWI (Read, Write Inc) programme. It is an approach to teaching phonics in which individual letters or letter sounds are blended to form groups of letters or sounds, and those groups are then blended to form complete words.
Read Write Inc. combines 5 clear steps to ensure real success in literacy:
- A systematic and dynamic whole-school approach
- High quality literacy teaching
- Inspiring whole-school literacy training
- Effective assessment and grouping
- Keeps parents fully supportive
There are two elements to reading that your child will develop in phonics and comprehension. All of the teaching and activities around reading that the school puts in place will be aimed at supporting one of these elements.
In England, children are taught to read the words on the page using phonics. Phonics is an approach to reading that focuses on building words from sounds. A sound might be represented by a letter (such as ‘s’ or ‘m’) or a group of letters (like ‘ch’ or ‘igh’). In Reception, children will start by learning the letters and the sounds they make, and how to put them together to read simple words. For example, once they know the individual sounds for ‘s’, ‘a’ and ‘t’ they can blend them together to form the word ‘sat’.
Good comprehension skills are vital in reading as they help children understand the meaning of the words, as well as supporting their vocabulary and knowledge of the world. It is likely that children will be able to understand books and stories that are much more complicated than the books they can read by themselves, so most comprehension teaching will focus on children listening to and experiencing books that are read to them, or with them, and then answering questions and discussing them.
Our main reading scheme: Oxford Reading Tree
Reading schemes are structured, levelled sets of books that grow gradually more challenging over time. Children begin reading on a particular book band or level and once they are ready, they move up to the next book level. There are many reading schemes and levelled books available in our school; however The Oxford Reading Tree is used throughout school to ensure progression. Most schemes are very phonic-based at the beginning.
A common approach to reading in Reception is to send two books home each week – one from a reading scheme for your child to read to you and one chosen by the child for you to read aloud to them.
Do not compare the book level your child is on with those of their classmates. We wouldn’t expect all children to be the same height when they start school, so neither should we expect them to read at the same level straightaway. If you’re concerned about the progress your child is making, make an appointment to talk to the teacher about it. Above all, your child needs to know that you value their efforts. Children learn to read gradually over time, not suddenly over-night and it can take lots of practice and support from parents and teachers to become fluent. Remember to praise your child whatever level they are at.
For more details about RWI please look at our English Curriculum page
This website has excellent resources for parents to access at home. Over 200 books are available for children to read at home with parents. There are links to other resources too.
At Bowlee Park we want all of our children to be confident and competent readers. As part of school policy we ask that you read with your children for at least 15 minutes per night. This small amount of time can have a big impact on your child's learning.
Thankyou for your support with such an important matter.
Here is a video of how we teach phonics and letter sounds at Bowlee Park. Help your children by sounding out the letter sounds in the same way, it will really help and inspire your children to blend letter sounds and form complete words.
Here is a video of how letters are pronounced. Helping your child learn these sounds will really help them become confident readers.
In the videos below, Ruth Miskin demonstrates how to pronounce letters and blend. She also demonstrates how complex sounds are taught.