Children in reception are taught phonics through the Read, Write Inc. scheme as a whole class and are then placed into two groups based on ability and specific needs in January. The children in KS1 and early KS2 are also taught in phonics groups using Read, Write, Inc. according to their ability and learning needs. We currently have 4 groups, allowing children to be taught sounds specific to their learning needs. We use Read Write Inc resources to teach phonics which allow children to progress through the 4 phonics phases. Children’s progress is checked regularly and children move through the groups according to their progress.
Most of the English language can be read with phonics, but children also need to recognise and remember those 'tricky words' that cannot be sounded out letter by letter e.g. the or said. We use special phonic 'decodable' books that help children to practise their early reading and we encourage children to draw on their own experiences, the setting of the story and the pictures to help them understand what they are reading about.
Comprehension skills are vital in making sense of what the words say and interpreting meaning. At St Paul’s we mainly use Oxford Reading Tree as our structured and levelled set of books in our reading scheme, this scheme is very phonic-based at the beginning.
However we also have a range of other books, such as short stories and traditional tales which enrich the scheme but are at the right level to help children gradually develop in skills and confidence. Children move steadily from early reading skills to more complex reading skills and do that at their own pace to ensure confidence and enthusiasm. Developing their comprehension ability becomes increasingly important as phonics knowledge is completed.
Even in the junior years there are levelled reading books within the scheme that are aimed at moving older readers on and giving them controlled practice in reading. Children progress through the scheme as their reading ability improves and they become more confident readers, usually moving from the scheme to reading books of their own choice in Key stage 2.