At the end of Year 1, children will undertake a statutory phonics screening check. This is a short assessment to make sure that children have learnt phonics to an appropriate standard. (Year 2 children will be taking this test in the Autumn Term as they were unable to take it at the end of Year 1 due to the pandemic)
There are 40 words in the screening check which children are asked to read on a one-to-one basis with their teacher. The check is made up of ‘real words’ (e.g. ‘mud’) and ‘non-words’ (e.g. ‘splog’) and children need to apply their phonic knowledge to read all words.
Preparation for the check takes place during the daily phonics session, but you can help your child at home by practising phonics on a regular basis.
Phonics - Read Write Inc
At Langdale we teach a synthetic phonics programme called
‘Read, Write Inc’.
This programme has been tried and tested over the years and has been a great success in our school. All of us will have been in the learn to read phase at some time in our lives. The quicker we learn to read, the quicker we can start to read to learn – this phase lasts for the rest of our lives. Read, Write Inc helps support children in being successful readers.
Five key principles underpin the teaching in all Read Write Inc. sessions:
- Purpose – Know the purpose of every activity and share it with the children, so they know the one thing they should be thinking about.
- Participation – Ensure every child participates throughout the lesson. Partnership work is fundamental to learning.
- Praise – Ensure children are praised for effort and learning, not ability.
- Pace – Teach at an effective pace and devote every moment to teaching and learning.
- Passion – Be passionate about teaching so children can be engaged emotionally.
Our phonic sessions are typically for 30 minutes. During this time, we group children by their reading progress and re-assess children every half-term so we can place them in the group where they’ll make the most progress. We provide extra booster sessions or after school clubs for children who need a bit of a boost.
How do we make phonics easy for children to learn?
Read Write Inc. Phonics depends upon children learning to read and write sounds effortlessly, so we make it simple and fun. The phonic knowledge is split into two parts.
First we teach them one way to read and write the 40+ sounds in English. We use pictures to help, for example we make ‘a’ into the shape of an apple, ‘f’ into the shape of a flower. These pictures help all children, especially slower-starters, to read the sounds easily.
Children learn to read words by sound-blending using a frog called Fred. Fred says the sounds and children help him blend the sounds to read each word.
Then we teach children the different spellings of the same sounds, for example, they learn that the sound ‘ay’ is written ay, a-e and ai; the sound ‘ee’ is written ee, e and ea. We use phrases to help them remember each sound for example, ay, may I play, a-e – make a cake?
We teach them that there are ‘tricky’ words that we refer to as ‘Red words’ that do not follow a regular pattern and need to be recalled visually by sight.
How do we ensure children can read every book?
During phonics lessons we give children books we know they can read using their sound blending skills. Before they read the story, they sound out the names of characters and new words, practice reading any of the ‘tricky red’ words, and tell them a thought-provoking introduction to get them excited about the story.
Then, the children read the story two to three times: first to focus on reading the words carefully; then to read fluently with comprehension and understanding. We talk about the story together for example, how characters might be feeling and why. By the time your child reads the story to you at home, they will be able to read it confidently with expression.
How do we teach children to spell confidently?
We teach children to spell using ‘Fred Fingers’: we say a word and then children pinch the sounds onto their fingers and write the word, sound by sound. Children are encouraged to see spelling patterns in words; play, may, day, say, ray. They also practice writing a target word in a dictated sentence.
Before you start to teach your child, practise saying the sounds below. These are the sounds we use to speak in English.
We use pure sounds (‘m’ not ‘muh’, ‘s’ not ‘suh’, etc.) so that your child will be able to blend the sounds into words more easily.
At Langdale we use a puppet called Fred who is an expert on sounding out words! We call it, ‘Fred Talk’. For example:
How parents can help their children learn to read at home?
Read a bedtime story to your child.
Share books with your child. We recommend that you visit a local library to choose books together. Talk about the pictures and the content of these stories. There is some really good advice about how to make bedtime story-time fun on www.ruthmiskin.com/ parents
Listen to your child read the storybooks we send home.
Your child will bring home a Read Write Inc. Storybook they have just finished reading in their group. They will be able to read this book confidently because they have already read it two or three times. Please do not say “This book is too easy!” Praise your child for how well they read it – celebrate what a great reader they are. They’ll sometimes bring home previous stories they have read too. Re-reading stories develops their fluency on every reading. There’s more good advice on how to listen to your child read on: https://ruthmiskin.com/en/find-out-more/parents/
Please attend any phonics workshops that you are invited to.
We run these for Reception and Year 1 parents. There are also short film clips for parents to enable you to support your child to use phonic skills when reading; https://ruthmiskin.com/en/find-out-more/parents/
Additional games and information for parents