Helping your child with Phonics
Early Reading at All Saints Academy
Read Write Inc
What is Phonics?
Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:
- Recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
- Identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make – such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’;
- Blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.
Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.
Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment. Children who have been taught phonics also tend to read more accurately than those taught using other methods, such as ‘look and say’. This includes children who find learning to read difficult, for example those who have dyslexia.
About our chosen early reading program: Read, Write, Inc.
Read Write Inc. Phonics is a whole-school approach to teaching literacy that creates fluent readers, confident speakers and willing writers. It integrates phonics with comprehension, writing, grammar, spelling and handwriting using engaging partner work and drama.
At All Saints Academy we have chosen to follow the Read Write Inc strategy to support Early Reading we use the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme to get children off to a flying start with their literacy.
Using RWI, 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 put all their energy into composing what they write.
When using RWI to read the children will:
- Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts
- Learn to read words using Fred Talk
- Read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out
- Show that they comprehend the stories by answering questions.
When using RWI to write the children will:
- Learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent 44 sounds.
- Learn to write words by saying the sounds in Fred Talk
- Write simple sentences
Watch a video showing how to pronounce the 44 phonemes using pure sounds…
Click here to watch a video showing how to play Fred games to support blending sounds to form words…
Please watch the following video link to see and hear Tami Reis-Frankfort, reading specialist and trainer, as she demonstrates how to pronounce the sounds of the English Phonic Code, when teaching children to read with Synthetic Phonics.
Phonics Screening check: What is it?
The Phonics Screening Check is a test for children in Year 1. Children take it during June in a one-to-one setting with a teacher. This is usually their class teacher, but it could also be the headteacher or another teacher who knows the child well.
Whilst children learn phonics to help them with both word reading and spelling, the Phonics Screening Check only tests their skills at word reading. This is sometimes called decoding.
During the Phonics Screening Check, children are asked to read (decode) 40 words. Most of these words are real words but some are pseudo-words. Pseudo-words are included to ensure that children are using their decoding skills and not just relying on their memory of words they’ve read before. Because some children may misread these pseudo-words based on their similarity to words in their existing vocabulary, each pseudo-word is clearly identified with an image of an alien. Most teachers and children, therefore, refer to pseudo-words as alien words.
The test itself is divided into two sections. Section 1 is the easier part. In this section, children are asked to recognise simple word structures and Grapheme Phoneme Correspondences (GPCs) from the earlier phases of the phonics curriculum. In 2019, real words included in Section 1 were words like ‘shop’, ‘peel’ and ‘yell’.
Section 2 is the trickier part of the test. Here, children need to recognise GPCs from the later stages of the phonics curriculum. They also encounter graphemes that correspond to more than one phoneme (e.g. the grapheme ‘ea’ represents different phonemes in the words bread and bead.)
There is no time limit for the Phonics Screening Check, but it usually takes less than 10 minutes. Many schools use practice tests so children are accustomed to working one-to-one and reading unfamiliar words. Equally, many schools do not, as the daily phonics lessons in Year 1 already include reading both words and pseudo-words. Whichever approach is taken, most children reach the expected standard. If a child doesn’t meet the expected standard, their school will work with them to ensure they receive the phonics teaching and support they need. The child will then retake the Phonics Screening Check the following year.
PHONICS SCREENING CHECK – THINGS THAT WILL HELP YOUR CHILD REA
- Let your child see you read and read to them
- Tell your child about interesting things that you have read in newspapers, magazines and books.
- Visit the local library.
- Visit bookshops.
- Sit with your child every night and engage with them in their reading. Please make comments in their reading record book to assist the teachers.
- Discuss with them about what they have read in the book.
- Ask them to retell the story.
- Talk about interesting words and identify words or interesting phrases that they might use in their writing.
- Occasionally ask them to write the sequence of the story and identify characters