WASPS: Teaching Phonics, Reading, Spelling & Writing

Teaching Phonics, reading and spelling using Read, Write Inc

At WASPS children follow a structured programme of reading, writing and spelling. This is delivered through highly structured synthetic phonics teaching and activities which compliment skills and letter sounds taught. The programme used is ‘Read, Write Inc’ devised by Ruth Miskin. Read, Write Inc is a whole school programme for 4 – 11 year olds designed to develop fluent readers, confident speakers and willing writers.

Staff at WASPS have been trained in the delivery of this programme. The teaching of synthetic phonics is energetic, quick paced and engages all groups of children. Children will learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and will quickly learn how to segment and blend the sounds, in order to read.

Alongside daily teaching the children develop handwriting skills with a focus on joined handwriting. They are taught to compose their own sentences using Fred talk. Fred talk is a strategy used in every Key Stage 1 class to encourage children to say the individual sounds that make up a word. Fred is a frog that only speaks in sounds and not whole words. This means that in order for the children to understand what Fred has to say they must first ‘blend’ the sounds to hear the word. For example, when Fred says the word ‘cat’, he will say the sounds of the letters in the word c-a-t. The children can then blend the word by repeating the sounds in order. They may do this a little faster each time, which eventually results in them being able to hear and say the word cat.

Reading and writing

At WASPS children are provided with positive early experiences of reading. Reading for pleasure is at the heart of our school, in order to foster a lifelong love of reading.

Read, Write Inc ditties, storybooks and PM reading books are at the centre of our core reading scheme with Oxford Reading Tree (ORT) used to compliment and dove tail the main scheme. The books are carefully levelled to ensure a gentle introduction of new, exciting vocabulary and as the children progress at their own rate through the scheme they become successful, confident readers.

Our parents are invited to attend a reading session where we introduce the reading scheme and teach parents how to effectively segment and blend with an emphasis on ‘pure sounds’. Once our parents feel confident about the teaching of reading we then send home reading books and mini homework packs. The packs contain high frequency word lists that the children need to read and spell as well as sound flash cards in order for the children to confidently identify ‘pure’ letter sounds.

We ensure that every child reads to an adult at school in order to develop a love of reading. During whole class teaching teachers and children will read aloud and review books. Even from a young age children are encouraged to join in with the repeated phrases throughout a text, in order to build on the language patterns of stories.

Classic texts are shared in Key Stage 2 classes and traditional tales throughout Key Stage 1. Reading a range of genres inspires creative writing and builds on the children’s existing vocabulary. The children are provided with vast opportunities to develop their writing skills using the wonderful school grounds for inspiration. Children are provided with the skills to become successful writers, high quality written work is evident across the school, and older children are encouraged to edit and improve their own work. Cross curricular links are made using our humanities framework and a progression of skills is evident from Early Years through to Year 6.

Assessment and monitoring

Class teachers assess the children’s phonic skills each term, approximately every six weeks. In June class teachers administer the national Year 1 phonic screening check.
The real words and alien words within the check align with the Read, Write Inc programme. The Phonic check comprises of two sections, the first contains simple words containing three or four letters and the second section with more complex word structures containing five or six letters. For the last few years, the threshold mark (or pass standard) set by the government has been 32 correct answers out of 40.

Click the link to download/see a copy of the 2018 Phonics screening check

During the year, if a child is making slower than expected progress then the class teacher will ensure intervention activities are put in place to enable the child to make accelerated progress. If children do not reach the required standard, then the teacher will discuss plans and offer additional, tailored support to ensure that children catch up. Any children who do not pass will re-sit the check the following summer term.
Click to download a parent’s guide Phonics Screening Check in Year 1. It gives you all the information you need to support your child.