At Cherry Orchard we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers. We value reading as a key life skill, one that lays the foundations for lifelong learning. We believe that phonics provides the basis for this learning and enables children to become fluent readers. Therefore, the teaching of phonics is of high priority at Cherry Orchard.
“Teach a child to read and keep that child reading and we will change everything. And I mean everything.” Jean Winterson. This quote epitomises the intent of the Read Write Inc. programme, which we use to teach phonics at Cherry Orchard. The Read, Write Inc. programme (RWI) is a systematic, synthetic phonics programme that explicitly teaches children to read accurately and fluently. At Cherry Orchard Primary School we want every child to learn to decode quickly and accurately so that reading becomes fluent and effortless. This enables children to develop their comprehension so that they can then begin to read for pleasure.
The RWI reading books that the children access in their daily phonics sessions at school, as well as those that they take home, are matched to the children’s phonic knowledge and so are fully decodable.
Cherry Orchard is committed to ensuring every pupil will learn to read, regardless of their needs, background and abilities. The lowest 20% of children are identified from our half termly rigorous assessments and targeted for extra one-to-one tuition in order for them to “keep up, not catch up”.
The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Key Stage 1. Phonics is taught daily to all children in EYFS, Year 1 and those in Year 2 who have not passed the phonics screening in Year 1 or completed the RWI phonics programme. Pupils work within ability groups, which are defined by their performance on RWI assessments. Pupils are assessed every half term and the groups are reorganised accordingly. In EYFS, as well as daily lessons, essential knowledge and skills in phonics is developed during COOL (Choosing Our Own Learning) time. All children are encouraged to transfer the skills they learn in their phonics sessions into their independent reading and writing. RWI sounds posters and tricky red words are displayed in each classroom across EYFS and KS1, and the children use these to support their reading and writing in all lessons across the curriculum.
Each RWI lesson is consistent and is based on the 5 Ps -
Pace – Good pace is essential to each lesson.
Praise – Children learn quickly in a positive climate.
Purpose – Every part of the lesson has a specific purpose.
Participation – All pupils are involved in all parts of the lesson through choral response and partner work. A strong feature of RWI lessons is partner work and the partners ‘teaching’ each other (based on research which states that we learn 70% of what we talk about with our partner and 90% of what we teach).
Passion – This is a very prescriptive programme. It is the energy, enthusiasm and passion that teachers put into the lesson that bring the teaching and learning to life!
Children are taught to:
- recognise sounds and blend them together (Fred Talk);
- decode letter/sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly;
- read ‘tricky’ (red words) on sight;
- read fluently and with expression;
- understand what they read;
- spell quickly and confidently when writing, by segmenting the sounds within words;
- acquire a fluent handwriting style.
The result of phonics teaching at Cherry Orchard will be that children will have a secure knowledge of phonics, enabling them to become confident, fluent readers at the end of KS1. The children will make expected or more progress and will be able to apply their phonic knowledge confidently when reading and writing. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Check at the end of Year 1 and ongoing assessment throughout the RWI programme. Children will enjoy their phonics lessons and be familiar with a range of authors and genres. This will then lead to a love of reading and children taking pleasure in exploring the rich literary world around them, with a firm phonic basis to support them.