Phonics

Our Phonics Leader is: Mrs Davies

Phonics is taught daily in Early Years and Key Stage One. Phonics teaching here at Towngate is based on the Read, Write, Inc. phonics scheme, where teaching is delivered to pupils within a four-phased process.

Pupils are taught using the following format:

  • Review & Revisit
  • Teach
  • Practise
  • Apply
What is Read, Write, Inc?

Read Write Inc (RWI) is a phonics complete literacy programme which helps all children learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling.  The programme is designed for children aged 4-7. However, at Towngate we begin the programme in Nursery and will continue teaching RWI to children beyond the age of 7 if they still need support in their reading.

RWI was developed by Ruth Miskin and more information on this can be found here.

How will RWI be taught?

All children are assessed regularly by our RWI lead teacher Mrs Davies so they work with children at the same level. This allows complete participation in lessons.

Nursery

When appropriate, children will be introduced to the initial sounds in short five minutes sessions.

Reception

In Reception all children will learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down.

Reading

The children:

  • learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts – see below
  • learn to read words using Fred talk and sound blending
  • read from a range of storybooks and non-fictions books matched to their phonic knowledge
  • work well with partners
  • develop comprehension skills in stories by answering ‘Find It’ and ‘Prove It’ discussion questions
Writing

The children:

  • learn to write and form the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds with the help of fun phrases
  • learn to write words by using Fred Talk
  • learn to build sentences by practising sentences out loud before they write
Talking

The children work in pairs so that they:

  • answer every question
  • practise every activity with their partner
  • take turns in talking and reading to each other
  • develop ambitious vocabulary

Fred Talks

We use pure sounds (‘m’ not’ muh’,’s’ not ‘suh’, etc.) so that your child will be able to blend the sounds into words more easily.

At school we use a puppet called Fred who is an expert on sounding out words! we call it, ‘Fred Talk’. E.g. m-o-p, c-a-t, m-a-n, sh-o-p, b-l-a-ck. Fred helps children spell by using your ‘Fred Fingers’ to say and pinch the sounds ready to spell.

The following video is an example of blending sounds with Fred:

Step 1

Set 1 Sounds are taught in the following order together with rhymes to help children form the letters correctly and instantly recognise sounds ready for blending.

Set 1
SoundRhyme
mDown Maisie then over the two mountains. Maisie, mountain, mountain.
aRound the apple, down the leaf.
sSlide around the snake
dRound the dinosaur’s back, up his neck and down to his feet.
tDown the tower, across the tower,
iDown the insects body, dot for the head.
nDown Nobby and over the net.
pDown the plait, up and over the pirates face.
gRound the girls face, down her hair and give her a curl
oAll around the orange
cCurl around the caterpillar
kDown the kangaroos body, tail and leg
uDown and under the umbrella, up to the top and down to the puddle
bDown the laces, over the toe and touch the heel
fDown the stem and draw the leaves
eSlice into the egg, go over the top, then under the egg
lDown the long leg
hDown the horse’s head to the hooves and over his back
shSlither down the snake, then down the horse’s head to the hooves and over his back
rDown the robot’s back, then up and curl
jDown his body, curl and dot
vDown a wing, up a wing
yDown a horn, up a horn and under the yak’s head.
wDown, up, down, up the worm.
thDown the tower, across the tower, then down the horse’s head to the hooves and over his back
zZig-zag-zig, down the zip.
chCurl around the caterpillar, , then down the horse’s head to the hooves and over his back
quRound the queen’s head, up to her crown, down her hair and curl
xCross down the arm and leg and cross the other way
ngA thing on a string
nkI think I stink

You can find videos to help support the pronunciation of letters on the Ruth Misking Website

Step 2:

The children are then taught Set 2 Sounds – the long vowels. When they are very confident with all of set 1 and 2 they are taught Set 3 Sounds.

Long  vowel soundSet 2 Speed Sound cards

Teach these first

Set 3 Speed Sound cards
ayay: may I playa-e: make a cakeai: snail in the rain
eeee: what can you seeea: cup of teae: he me we she be
ighigh: fly highi-e: nice smile
owow: blow the snowo-e: phone homeao: goat in a boat
oooo: poo at the zoou-e: huge bruteew: chew the stew
oooo: look at a book
arar: start the car
oror: shut the dooraw: yawn at dawn
airair: that’s not fairare: share and care
irir: whirl and twirlur: nurse for a purseer: a better letter
ouou: shout it outow: brown cow
oyoy: toy for a boyoi: spoil the boy
Step 3:

Within all the books children will have red and green words to learn to help them to become speedy readers. Red words are words that are not easily decodable and challenge words to extend children’s vocabulary. Green words are linked to the sounds they have been learning and are easily decodable.

Dots and dashes represent the sound each letter makes.

During the RWI session children will read the book three times and at each new reading they will have plenty of opportunities to practise using their developing comprehension skills. You may have hear your child talking about ‘hold, edit or build a sentence’.

Hold a sentence is an activity that encourages children to remember a whole sentence while focusing on spelling and punctuation.

Build a sentence is to give children the opportunity to create their own sentence to that shows the meaning of a word and edit a sentence allows the children to critique a sentence using their knowledge of spelling punctuation and grammar. Children complete a longer piece of independent writing, which gives them the opportunity to show off their creativity and to practice their spelling, grammar and punctuation.

How to help at home:

Your child will start to bring books home when they are confident readers. Please help them to read and give lots of praise!

If you have any other questions about RWI, please see your class teacher or see Mrs Davies.

For any further information please visit  Ruth Miskin website.

Useful websites that can be used at home to support the teaching and learning of phonics: 

Phonics Bloom

Letters and Sounds

Phonics Screening Test

What is the Year 1 phonics screening check?

The phonics screening check is taken individually by all children in Year 1 in England. It is designed to give teachers and parents information on how your child is progressing in phonics. It will help to identify whether your child needs additional support at this stage so that they do not fall behind in this vital early reading skill. There are two sections in this 40-word check and it assesses phonics skills and knowledge learned through Reception and Year 1. Your child will read up to four words per page for their teacher and they will probably do the check in one sitting of about 5-10 minutes.

What sort of check is it and is it compulsory?

It is a school-based check to make sure that your child receives any additional support promptly, should they need it. It is not a stressful situation as the teacher will be well-equipped to listen and understand your child’s level of skills.

There will be a few practice words first to make sure your child understands the activity.

What does it check?

It checks that your child can:

Sound out and blend graphemes in order to read simple words.
Read phonically decodable one-syllable and two-syllable words, e.g. cat, sand, windmill.

For further information about the phonics screening test, or ways in which you can further support your child at home, please do not hesitate to speak to your child’s class teacher.