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Reading and Phonics

Reading and Phonics


Read Write Inc.:  A Programme for the Teaching of Phonics in the Foundation Stage and KS1


In the Foundation Stage and KS1, the teaching of phonics and early reading and writing is built upon the programme and principles of Read Write Inc.  Read Write Inc. was developed by Ruth Miskin (one of the UK’s leading authorities on the teaching of reading) to provide a structured and systematic approach to literacy learning and teaching.  It is designed ‘to create fluent readers, confident speakers and willing writers.’  

Read Write Inc. is a phonic-based approach to teaching reading.  It involves children learning to read sounds and how to blend these sounds together to read words.  While at the same time, learning how to represent these sounds using the correct graphemes and letter formation (shape, size and orientation) for writing.   Read Write Inc. is widely used in UK schools (a quarter of all schools use this programme) and it is recognised as a successful reading programme.  It enables every child to become a confident and fluent reader at the first attempt, as it aims to teach children to read at a pace that they are ready for and comfortable with. 


The programme is carefully structured to introduce the 44 sounds (speed sounds) systematically.  These are the letter sounds, not the letter names.  The speed sounds are divided into small groups.  Once your child has learnt all of the sounds in one group, they can apply these sounds to sound blending.  During Read Write Inc. lessons, children are only asked to read books that contain words built from the sounds that they have been taught – resulting in reading success and confidence at every turn.  As the children learn to read each set of sounds confidently and fluently, they are introduced to more ways of spelling those sounds and they are then able to read books containing a greater variety of words from the English language. 


Aside from the Green Words that can be sounded out (explained above), the children are also introduced to sets of Red Words that cannot be sounded out and must therefore be learnt by sight.  Learning these Green Words and Red Words in tandem, allows children to read a growing number of words and books, building confidence, fluency and enjoyment for reading. 


Read Write Inc. Spelling


From Year 2 through to Year 6, the children follow the Read, Write Inc. Spelling programme, which builds upon the solid foundation of Read Write Inc. phonics that is introduced in the Foundation Stage and KS1.  Through this programme, the children learn the full range of spelling patterns, introduced in line with the sequence stipulated by the National Curriculum (2014).  The programme also includes online, interactive resources that are appealing and age-appropriate.  With a daily burst of 15 minutes, the children are enabled to develop their skills systematically and consistently.  They are then given the opportunity to consolidate these skills further through embedded spelling tasks in English lessons and through practising for their weekly spelling test. 


Reading Books to Share at Home


In the Early Years and Key Stage 1, reading for enjoyment and fluency is promoted and encouraged in a number of ways.  The first of these is by choosing and taking home a Reading for Pleasure book.  The purpose of these books is to create an opportunity for 'story time' at home and therefore these books should be read to your child.  Sharing stories in this way will develop your child's language and vocabulary and also their familiarity with story structures.  Reading for Pleasure books are changed weekly and can be recommended to the others so that children can talk about and develop their reading preferences.  Once pupils have demonstrated sufficient confidence and fluency with reading and blending the first set of sounds, they are given a Read Write Inc. (RWI) Sound Blending book, which aligns fully with the sounds they will learn in class.  As they work their way through the RWI phonics programme, they will be issued with a reading scheme book that directly matches their learning as they progress.  Experiencing success is an integral part of the RWI phonics programme.  Ensuring our reading scheme books are fully decodable is essential to this endeavour.  Upon completion of the RWI phonics programme, the children take the computerised Star Reader test and they are moved on to the Accelerated Reader programme described below.   


Reading for enjoyment is also promoted through our system of 'Core Books'.  Based on Pie Corbett's 'Reading Spine', our Core Books comprises a store of 'classics and essential reads that help children engage at a deeper level and enter the world of the story'.  Copies of many of these can be borrowed from the class collections.


Once the children graduate from the RWI phonics programme, English learning is supported by 'The Power of Reading' which is described in the main section of the English curriculum page. 

Accelerated Reader


As pupils become more competent and fluent readers, they are able to access the Accelerated Reader programme. Children are assessed, using the STAR reading test, to gauge which level of books they should read. Pupils are then issued with books at the appropriate level. When they have read the book they take a computerised quiz to judge their understanding, or comprehension of the book. As pupils improve and read towards the upper end of their range, they are re-assessed and then able to choose books from a more difficult range.  Pupils are rewarded for receiving 100% in their quizzes and for the number of words read over a term. 


How will I know if a book has an Accelerated Reader quiz?


To know which quizzes are on Accelerated Reader (AR), visit the AR BookFinder website: www.arbookfind.co.uk. Here you can conduct a search of all available books with AR quizzes.

Please bear in mind that just because a child can read the words in a book this does not mean the content is appropriate. The interest level of the material must be considered. Interest level is based on content -a book’s themes and ideas- and indicates for which age group a book is appropriate. The chart below shows which ages fall into each interest level.


Interest Level

              Year Level

LY- Lower Years

              Ages 5-8

MY- Middle Years

              Ages 9-13

UY- Upper Years

              Ages 14 and above


These are recommendations. It is the responsibility of teachers and parents to use their best judgement when guiding children to appropriate books.

In most cases, a book’s interest level co-ordinates with its book level. Many books, however, have a low book level but are appropriate for upper years and vice versa. For example, both Oscar, Cat-About-Town by James Herriot and Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman have a book level of 4.0 since both books have short sentences and vocabulary that is simple.  Noughts & Crosses is intended for older pupils; therefore, it is tagged as Upper Years, while Oscar, Cat-About-Town is tagged as Lower Years.

If your child independently reads a book at home, (a book not provided by the school), and the book is on the Accelerated Reader system, your child will be able to take a comprehension quiz at school based on that book.  Your child will need to have the home book with them in school when they take the quiz, to ensure that the quiz offered is based on the same edition of the book. 

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