Phonics, Reading and Writing

Teaching phonics, reading and writing at St Columb Minor ACE Academy 

Our pupils learn to read and write effectively and quickly using the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme. They progress onto Read Write Inc. Literacy and Language once they can read and spell with accuracy and speed. 

Read Write Inc. Phonics 

The programme is for:

  • Pupils in FS to Year 2 who are learning to read and write
  • Any pupils in Years 3 and 4 who need to catch up rapidly

Struggling readers in Years 5 and 6 follow Read Write Inc. Fresh Start

In Read Write Inc. Phonics pupils: 

  • 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
  • Acquire good handwriting.

In addition, we teach pupils to work effectively with a partner to explain and consolidate what they are learning. This provides the teacher with opportunities to assess learning and to pick up on difficulties, such as pupils’ poor articulation, or problems with blending or alphabetic code knowledge.

We group pupils homogeneously, according to their progress in reading rather than their writing. This is because it is known that pupils’ progress in writing will lag behind progress in reading, especially for those whose motor skills are less well developed.

In FS 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 is especially useful for pupils at risk of making slower progress. This learning is consolidated daily. Pupils have frequent practice in reading high frequency words with irregular spellings – common exception words.

We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and the common exception words. This is so that, early on, they experience success and gain confidence that they are readers. Re-reading and discussing these books with the teacher supports their increasingly fluent decoding.

Alongside this, the teachers read a wide range of stories, poetry and non-fiction to pupils; they are soon able to read these texts for themselves.

Embedding the alphabetic code early on means that pupils quickly learn to write simple words and sentences. We encourage them to compose each sentence aloud until they are confident to write independently. We make sure they write every day.

Pupils write at the level of their spelling knowledge. The quality of the vocabulary they use in their writing reflects the language they have heard in the books the teacher has read to them; they have also discussed what the words mean.

Our aim is for pupils to complete the phonics programme as quickly as possible. The sooner they complete it, the sooner they will be able to choose books to read at their own interest and comprehension level.

Read Write Inc. Literacy and Language

Read Write Inc. Literacy and Language is for: 

  • Pupils in Year 2 to Year 6 who have completed Read Write Inc. Phonics. 

In Read Write Inc. Literacy and Language pupils: 

  • Develop a deep understanding of what they read: complete texts by leading authors are introduced using a three-step approach 
  • Learn grammar in context allowing pupils to use it with understanding
  • Learn to articulate their thoughts and ideas clearly to one another: they learn how to present and debate; to reason and justify their answers 
  • Learn to write confidently by following our highly supportive three step approach, building upon the story or non-fiction text they have studied 
  • Write every day.

Once children complete the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme they are taught in their year group using Read Write Inc. Literacy and Language. This integrates reading, writing, thinking, and spoken language in all activities, to ensure the daily development of children’s comprehension and wider literacy skills. At the heart of Literacy and Language is the enjoyment of and engagement with a variety of texts. Pupils are encouraged to take their own meaning from each text, becoming independent and critical thinkers. Comprehension activities are designed to help children to infer, summarise, question, clarify, predict and argue a point of view. The children also make connections between texts and their own experiences. 

Pupils are taught the importance of using grammar correctly, so they can communicate clearly and convey their meaning effectively. Comprehensive guidance for teachers, supported by engaging Software, Pupils’ Book and Homework Book activities allows grammar to be taught explicitly, consolidated, practised and taught implicitly through the reading activities. All grammar is taught within the context of the texts being studied to ensure it is meaningful for children.

Pupils are taught to articulate their thoughts and ideas out loud and to communicate what they know and understand. Pupils answer every question with a partner, comment on each other’s ideas, clarify each other’s thinking, and build upon each other’s thoughts and ideas. The teacher asks questions to take their thinking further and clears up any misconceptions. Partner discussion helps teachers assess what and how pupils are learning throughout the lesson.

Teachers also read a wide range of stories, poetry and non-fiction to pupils. Pupils are encouraged to choose books to read at their own interest and comprehension level.