“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 Girnhill Infant School. The Read, Write Inc. programme is a systematic, synthetic phonics programme that explicitly teaches children to read fluently and accurately. All of the staff at Girnhill are trained to deliver the Read, Write Inc phonics programme in school.
At Girnhill Infant School, we value reading as a key life skill and one that lays the foundations for lifelong learning. We want every child to learn to decode quickly and accurately so that reading becomes effortless. This enables children to develop their comprehension so that they can then begin to read for pleasure.
Our aim is that all children will be able to:
Read, Write, Inc. is a method of learning centred on letter sounds and phonics, blending them together to read and write words and using these learnt sounds in their reading and writing. Using Read, Write, Inc. the children learn to read effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into comprehending what they read. It also allows them to spell effortlessly so that they can focus on composing what they write.
The children are assessed and grouped according to their ability and they work with a teacher or teaching assistant in a small group. The Reading Leader, to ensure that they move through the programme at a good pace, continuously assesses the children. At the end of each half term all children are assessed and then put into new groups according to their phonic knowledge and fluency when reading.
We begin by teaching the children set 1 sounds. Children can start blending sounds into words as soon as they know a small group of letters well. Once the children have been taught the first 5 sounds (m, a, s, d, t), they are then taught assisted blending using the sounds that they know. During lessons children are taught to hear sounds and blend them together in sequence to make a word. We start with blending oral sounds, then progress to reading the letters and blending them together to read the word.
In Read Write Inc phonics the individual sounds are called ‘speed sounds’ – because we want your child to read them effortlessly. Set 1 sounds are the single letter sounds and set 1 special friend sounds. They are taught in the following order;
m, a, s, d, t, i, n, p, g, o, c, k, u, b, f, e, l, h, sh, r, j, v, y, w, th, z, ch, qu, x, ng, nk.
There are 12 Set 2 ‘speed sounds’ that are made up of two or three letters which represent just one sound, e.g. ay as in play, ee as in tree and igh as in high. These are ‘special friend’ sounds.
When children are taught Set 2 sounds they will learn:
Each sound has a list of green words linked to it, so that the children have the opportunity to sound out and blend words containing the new sound they have been taught, for example, s-p-r-ay = spray.
When learning Set 3 speed sounds the children will be taught alternative sounds/graphemes, e.g. ee as in tree and ea as in tea.
The tables below show each sound, the associated phrase and example green words for set 1 special friend sounds, set 2 and 3 sounds and additional sounds that are taught.
|ch||chip, chop, champ|
|qu||queen, quack, quest|
|ng||Thing on a string||thing, string, ring, king|
|nk||I think I stink||stink, think, link, sink|
|ay||May I play?||day, say, play, tray, today,|
|ee||What can you see?||see, feel, need, sleep, three|
|igh||Fly high||night, fight, flight, high|
|ow||Blow the snow||show, blow, flow, snow|
|oo||Poo at the zoo||zoom, moon, food, cool|
|oo||Look at a book||look, book, good, hood|
|ar||Start the car||star, bar, car, start, cart|
|or||Shut the door||sort, short, worn, horse|
|air||That's not fair||fair, hair, chair, stair|
|ir||Whirl and twirl||whirl, twirl, shirt, skirt|
|ou||Shout it out||mouth, found, shout, loud|
|oy||Toy for a boy||toy, boy, employ, joy|
|a-e||Make a cake||make, cake, flake, bake|
|ea||Cup of tea||neat, real, clean, please|
|i-e||Nice smile||hide, shine, white, nice|
|o-e||Phone home||phone, bone, home, spoke|
|u-e||Huge brute||tune, rude, June, perfume|
|aw||Yawn at dawn||saw, law, raw, straw|
|are||Share and care||bare, spare, scare, flare|
|ur||Nurse with a purse||burn, turn, hurl, burp, lurk|
|ow||Brown cow||howl, down, brown, frown|
|oi||Spoil the boy||join, coin, voice, choice|
|ai||Snail in the rain||paint, train, rain, pain|
|e||He, she, me, be, we||he, she, we, be, me|
|oa||Goat in a boat||foat, throat, boat, float|
|ew||Chew the stew||Flew, blew, crew, new|
|er||A better letter||over, weather, never|
|ire||Fire, fire||spire, conspire, hire, fire|
|ear||Hear with your ear||fear, dear, gear, spear|
|ure||Sure it's pure||picture, mixture, adventure|
|ue||Come to the rescue||rescue, blue, glue, clue|
|ie||Terrible tie||ties, tried, pie, lie|
|au||Paul the astronaut||Paul, August, author, pause|
|e-e||Go Steve and Pete||even, Steve, Pete, theme|
|kn||Knock knock, who's there?||knight, knee, knock, knit, knot|
|ck||Tick tock clock||clock, pick, black, snack|
Nonsense Words (Alien words)
As children build up their knowledge of sounds they are able to apply their decoding skills to any unfamiliar word, whether it be real or nonsense. During lessons each day children will practice their decoding skills by sounding out nonsense words. Children are unable to rely on existing knowledge of real words, and instead have to use their letter-sound knowledge. This is an important part of the Phonics Screening Check that the children complete at the end of year 1.
Learning to Blend and Ditty Books
As soon as children have been taught a few initial letter sounds they begin to learn to blend the sounds together to read real words in a Word Time session. Each word time session involves oral blending of known sounds before they are shown the words written down on green cards. Children practice Fred talking the words until they become able to read them on sight. Ditty lessons follow on from this where children who are becoming excellent at reading single words are introduced to reading short sentences. Once children are confident reading the short sentences they are challenged to use their developing phonic knowledge to write a sentence.
After ditty books, the next stage is storybooks. These books are closely matched to their developing phonic knowledge. The storybooks consist of green words linked to the sounds that they have been learning, red words and challenge words to extend the children’s vocabulary. After children have practiced these words individually they are prepared to see them in context in the story.
Comprehension activities, partner discussion and writing activities based on the book, follow on from reading.
Reading into Writing
Each story book follows a three or five day plan.
Writing activities include;
Children then 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.