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Our Foundation Schemes

At St Mary’s we teach phonics through a synthetic phonics programme called Read Write Inc. (RWI). Our aim is to give your child the best possible start to their reading journey. Our Read Write Inc Lead is Mrs, Eddy, if you have any questions about RWI please contact the school office to arrange to speak with her.

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Reading at St Mary’s

We aim for all our children to become fluent, confident readers who are passionate about reading.

Children who read regularly or are read to regularly have the opportunity to open doors to many different worlds. They have better brain development, attentional and cognitive ability. They have better knowledge about the world and are ready for learning. In addition children who read regularly have better language development and literacy skills. More importantly, reading will give your child the tools to become independent life-long learner.

We can achieve this together through:

• Read Writ Inc, a program to help your child to read at school.
• Encouraging children to develop a love of books by reading to them daily, at home and at school
• Giving children access to a wide range of books at school and at home.

What is Read Write Inc?

Read Write Inc (RWI) is a phonics programme which helps all children learn to read fluently amd at speed so that they can focus on developing skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling. The programme is designed for children aged 4-7 years, however the programme is an age not stage approach so we continue to teach phonics to some children beyond this.

More information can be found here. https://www.ruthmiskin.com/parentsandcarers/
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How will my child be taught to read?

We start by teaching phonics to the children in Foundation. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This Is essential for reading, but it also helps children to learn to spell well. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters.


The children:

• Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts – see below
• Learn to read words using Fred Talk and sound blending
• Read from a range of storybooks and non-fiction books matched to their phonic knowledge
• Work well with partners
• Develop comprehension skills in stories by answering ‘Prove It’ and ‘Find It’ discussion questions.


The children work in pairs so that they:

• Answer every question
• Practise every activity with their partner
• Take turns in talking and reading to each other
• Develop ambitious vocabulary

Progression through the stages

Children begin to learn the routines and silent signals of the programme in their first week of school and will start to learn initial sounds in week 2. As the children progress they will learn complex sounds and read books appropriate to their phonic ability. Daily phonics sessions last for 40 minutes. Once children become fluent, speedy readers they will move on to the RWI spelling programme.

Five key principles that underpin the teaching in all RWI 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 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.

Children will be taught to read as follows:

Before you start to teach your child, practice saying the sounds below. These are the sounds we use to speak in English. Children initially begin using pictures for each sound, this will help them to recognise the sound and then form the shape of the sound.
Fred Talk

We use pure sounds (‘mmm’ not muh, ‘sss’ not suh, etc) so that your child will be able to blend the sounds into words more easily. At school we use a puppet called Fred who is an expert on sounding out words! We call it ‘Fred Talk’ e.g. m-o-p, c-a-t, m-a-n, sh-o-p.

The following video is an example of blending sounds with Fred.
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The children are taught sounds in 3 sets.

Step 1:

Set 1 sounds are taught in the following order together with rhymes to help children to form the letters correctly and instantly recognise sounds ready for blending.
Sound Mat images to follow
At this stage we do not use the letter names.

The youtube video below can support with pronunciation of the sounds.
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Step 2:

The children are then taught set 2 sounds – the long vowels. When they are confident with all of set 1 and 2 they are then taught set 3 sounds.
Nonsense words (Alien words) ‘What a load of nonsense!’
As well as learning to read and blend real words children will have plenty of opportunities to apply their sound recognition skills to read ‘Nonsense words’. These words will also feature heavily in the Year One Phonics Screening check in the summer term. These words provide endless opportunities for children to apply and practice their thinking in a range of different contexts.

Step 3:

Within all the RWI sessions and books children will be exposed to red and green words to learn to help them to become speedy readers. Red words are words that are not easily decodable and challenge words to extend children’s vocabulary. Green words are linked to the sounds they have been learning and are easily decodable. 
Dots and dashes represent the sound each letter makes.

During the RWI session, children will read the book three times and at each new reading they will have plenty of opportunities to practise using their developing comprehension skills. You may have heard your child talking about ‘hold a sentence’. This is an activity that encourages children to remember a whole sentence whilst focussing on spelling and punctuation.

To help at home

Your child will start to bring purple blending books home when they are confidently able to blend. As the progress they will bring home a daily story sheet and then a storybook matched to their phonic ability. Please read this book with your child as many times as possible. On the first read children will be using their skills to decode, on the second read children are familiar with the words and are now able to begin to focus on what is happening in the story. The final read gives children the opportunity to use their understanding of the story and characters to use a storytelling voice, using expression to make the story more interesting.
For Maths we use Powermaths - as used in the rest of the school.
Read Write Inc. Parent/carer information - Other languages