Read Write Inc
Our pupils learn to read and write effectively and quickly using the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme.
The Read Write Inc. Phonic programme
The programme is for:
· pupils in Year R to Year 2 who are learning to read and write
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.
In Year R we emphasise the alphabetic code. The pupils rapidly learn sounds and the letter or groups of letters they need to represent them. Simple mnemonics help them to grasp this quickly. This is especially useful for pupils at risk of making slower progress. This learning is consolidated daily. Pupils have frequent practice in reading high frequency words with irregular spellings – ‘tricky words’.
We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and the ‘tricky 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.
Alongside this, the teachers read a wide range of stories, poetry and non-fiction to pupils; they are soon able to read these texts for themselves.
Embedding the alphabetic code early on means that pupils quickly learn to write simple words and sentences. We encourage them to compose each sentence aloud until they are confident to write independently. We make sure they write every day.
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. The quality of the vocabulary they use in their writing reflects the language they have heard in the books the teacher has read to them; they have also discussed what the words mean.
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.
Achievement in our school
Assessing and tracking progress
We assess all pupils from Year R to Year 1 on the Read Write Inc. Phonics. 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.
By the end of Key Stage 1, our pupils are able to read aloud age-appropriate texts accurately and with sufficient speed. This means that we can focus on developing their comprehension, preparing them well for transition to Key Stage 2. Their good decoding skills mean that they have a sound strategy for decoding unfamiliar words when they come across them at whatever stage or in any subject, even into secondary school.
We aim for all children to be accurate and speedy readers by the time they enter Key Stage 2.
Pupils who are making slower progress usually complete the programme by the end of Year 2. We support pupils who have identified special educational needs for however long it takes until they can read. For example, we identify those who are at risk of falling behind their peers immediately – whatever their age. Highly trained staff tutor them for 15 minutes, using the Read Write Inc. One-to-one tutoring programme.
Impact across the curriculum
Our teachers are enthusiastic about using the Read Write Inc. programme because they can see how well pupils learn from it and the progress they make, not just in English but across the curriculum.
Quality of teaching in our school
The programme’s ‘cycle of instruction’ means that, after direct instruction and guided practice, the pupils teach another pupil. In this way they all rehearse and consolidate what they have been learning. This helps the pupils to make their understanding clear to themselves and helps the teacher deal with any misconceptions. ‘Partner teaching’ is a key assessment tool. We also use this approach very effectively in other subjects.
Assessment is a critical element of our programme. The teachers assess:
pupils’ phonic knowledge
the speed at which pupils are able to read the text
their understanding of the stories they read.
We record the results from the Sound and Word Assessments, which take place every eight weeks, on the Assessment Tracker. These data allow us to intervene in different ways. For instance, we quickly move pupils to another group if they are progressing faster than their peers. Those who continue to struggle have one-to-one tutoring so that they keep up.
The homogeneous groupings allow the teachers to focus on all pupils for the whole lesson. This means that all the pupils are engaged, with a positive impact on their behaviour. They learn to participate fully: we agree with them the rules for working in a group or discussing with a partner. We discourage ‘hands up’ for answering questions because we believe that all pupils should answer every question. The teacher selects pupils to answer.
Simple teaching strategies and a lively pace ensure that all the pupils participate fully– there is no chance for them to lose concentration and miss key elements. In addition, because all the pupils are grouped across the school in terms of their reading ability, they are reading at an appropriate decoding level every day. The homogeneous groups help us to focus the teaching and ensure pupils make very good progress.
We support behaviour by using silent signals for gaining their attention, for setting up partner routines, and for managing the way pupils move around the classroom. Everyone uses the same signals. The teachers are encouraged to use these strategies in other lessons, too, so that the approach to behaviour is consistent throughout the day.
We believe that the partner work and the homogeneous groupings help the pupils learn to work together. Effective partner work has the benefit of helping pupils to work closely with others – especially those who are not their best friends. Quick bonding activities help new partners to get to know one another.
Praise for hard work and good behaviour is fundamental to pupils’ progress. The values of courtesy, consideration and kindness are at the heart of every lesson, taught through the programme and embedded in other lessons. All the staff use the same positive strategies for behaviour management across the school. Working well together, as part of a team, is at the core of the school’s work – for staff and pupils.
The school’s shared vision is that every pupil learns to read quickly and continues to read – widely and often. Mrs Proctor works with all the staff to ensure that this happens. In particular, she works closely with Mrs Wilson and Mrs Smith (the reading leaders) to monitor the quality of teaching and to provide coaching for staff who need it (teachers and teaching assistants).
The role of the reading leader is critical. Alongside the head teacher, the reading leader drives the teaching of Read Write Inc. Phonics, ensuring it is taught with fidelity so that all the pupils complete the programme as quickly as possible.
The reading leader’s roles include:
ensuring pupils in the ‘lower progress’ group are making good progress and organising one-to-one tutoring for the pupils who need extra support.
keeping the groups homogeneous, i.e. at the same reading level
providing further training (through demonstration, coaching, monitoring)
ensuring that our teaching of reading is of the highest quality and that all our pupils make progress.
Teachers alert the reading leader to any pupil whose progress is faster or slower than the rest of their group.