Our mission at Manor Park School and Nursery is to teach every child to read and write and then to keep them reading and writing. Our pupils learn to read and write effectively and quickly using the Read Write Inc. Phonics (RWI) programme. Phonics is the key to unlocking the alphabetic code of the English language. The acquisition and development of phonic skills are therefore regarded as being of the utmost importance. The teaching of Phonics is given a high priority.
We aim for all pupils to become fluent readers by the end of KS1 and develop a love of reading. In RWI. Phonics pupils will be able to:
- Decode letter-sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly, using their phonic knowledge and skills.
- Read common exception 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.
At Manor Park School and Nursery, Early Years children follow the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2021). They are taught the EYFS Statutory Educational Programmes within Development Matters (2021).
Phonics is taught systematically using the RWI Phonics programme. The teaching of Phonics is given a high priority as the acquisition and development of phonic skills supports the children to unlock the alphabetic code of the English language. The teaching of RWI begins in the summer term in Nursery, then daily, 9-9.45am in Reception and Year 1. Pupils in Year 2 who don’t pass the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check and those pupils who need to consolidate their phonics skills are included in Phonics teaching and placed in an appropriate RWI group. We group pupils homogeneously, according to their progress in reading.
In Reception 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 learning is consolidated with regular ‘Fred Talk’ (oral blending) and Speed Sound card recognition. In the summer term of Reception and throughout Year 1 the focus is on learning and consolidating Set 2 and Set 3 sounds and words. Pupils also have frequent practice in reading ‘red words’ (common exception words) with irregular spellings.
We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics. This is so that, early on, they experience success and gain confidence that they are readers. Re-reading and discussing these books with a member of staff supports their increasingly fluent decoding. This shared reading takes place daily as part of the Phonics session. Alongside this, the staff read a wide range of stories, poetry and non-fiction to pupils. Also, within the Phonics session the pupils learn to write words and sentences. We encourage them to compose each sentence aloud first which enables them to be confident to write independently. Children are encouraged to make use of phonic strategies they have learnt in RWI when taking part in all reading or writing activities throughout the curriculum.
Phonics is delivered by a team of teachers and teaching assistants who have been trained and regularly coached by the Phonics leader. All of the phonics team attend a fortnightly 30-minute practice session with the Phonics leader. The school subscribes to the RWI Online Portal which provides videos for parents and training videos for staff. The Phonics leader assesses all children every 6 weeks. The assessment data allows us to support children with daily one-to-one RWI Fast Track Tutoring or small group afternoon sessions, so that the children keep up with their peers.
In the RWI sessions, spelling is taught using ‘Fred Fingers’. The children write words linked to the sounds they are learning each day. Children learn to form letters correctly as part of their daily RWI Phonics sessions. Each letter has a corresponding handwriting verse which supports the children with orientation of each letter.
The impact of Phonics is seen through the half termly assessments carried out by the Phonics leader. The data is entered onto the assessment tracker to monitor the rate at which the children are making progress. 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 (as identified from the assessment tracker) and pupils with special educational needs receive one-to-one Fast Track Tutoring (FTT) daily. Trained staff tutor these children for 10 minutes every day using the RWI FTT programme, in addition to their group phonics session in the morning. This tutoring helps to meet individual needs.
The teaching of Phonics is monitored through coaching. The Phonics leader regularly coaches RWI staff during their lessons. Feedback is given instantly and staff practise the teaching steps of RWI straight away. Daily feedback is given to children verbally as they engage in shared reading with a partner and when they are using their Fred Fingers for spelling.
The children are assessed at the end of their Reception year against the Early Learning Goals (ELGs). The ELG of ‘Fine Motor Skills’ is within the Prime Area of Learning of Physical Development. The ELGs of ‘Comprehension’, ‘Word Reading’ and ‘Writing’ are within the Specific Area of Learning of Literacy. At the end of Y1 the National Phonics Screening Check is administered by the Phonics Leader. This data is used to plan for any extra support individual children may need, small group interventions and groupings for Y2.
The Phonics leader has created an annual action plan which informs the School Development Plan. All of these measures ensure that by the end of Key Stage 1, our pupils are able to read aloud age-appropriate texts accurately and with sufficient speed for comprehension. 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.