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Phonics and Early Reading

How do we teach children to read at Birchen Coppice Academy?

Reading is an essential skill for learning and for life. Future success in the classroom depends upon it. Success in reading opens up the rest of the curriculum to children and provides a doorway into other amazing worlds. A pupil’s self-esteem and confidence in learning often depends upon it too. We therefore invest heavily in our training, teaching materials and and our books so that our children receive the very best start when on the journey to becoming a fluent, independent, and confident reader.

Children enjoy being immersed in the world of books and stories from the time they start with us in nursery or reception. Reception is the time when we start the pupils’ journey towards reading independence. Our first step is to teach the children to decode written language through the Read, Write Inc phonics programme.

Daily phonics lessons are taught by highly trained practitioners who ensure children learn to decode quickly and efficiently. Children who find decoding more difficult are helped through ‘keep up’ sessions and one to one intervention if needed. We believe every child can be helped to be a successful reader if they get the support they need.

How does the Read Write Inc Programme Work?

Read Write Inc (RWI) is a systematic programme that teaches children the 44 sounds in English, the letters that represent them, and how to form the letters when writing.

We have put together a guide to how the RWInc programme works together with some useful links.            (please click on the pictures below for the videos)

The sounds the children learn are introduced in three sets. Set 1 sounds are called ‘special friends.’  ‘Special friends’ are two letters that make one sound.

Set 1

Set 2

ay: may I play
ee: what can you see
igh: fly high
ow: blow the snow
oo: poo at the zoo
oo: look at the book 
ar: start the car 
or: shut the door
air: that’s not fair 
ir: whirl and twirl 
ou: shout it out  
oy: toy for a boy 

Set 3

ea: cup of tea
oi: spoil the boy
a-e: make a cake
i-e: nice smile
o-e: phone home
u-e: huge brute
aw: yawn at dawn
are: share and care
ur: purse for a nurse
er: a better letter
ow: brown cow
ai: snail in the rain
oa: goat in a boa
ew: chew the stew
ire: fire fire!
ear: hear with your ear
ure: sure it’s pure?
tion: (celebration)
tious / cious: (scrumptious / delicious)
e: he me we she be

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. Please watch the video showing how to make sounds pure.

What reading books will my child have?

Read Write Inc reading books are written using only the sounds that the pupils have learnt at each level. This ensures that all children feel confident and successful at every stage of their reading. This book enables your child to practise the sounds they have been taught – practise is essential so that these new sounds are not ‘lost’ before adding more. Children enjoy sharing their success by reading these books aloud to you and they will respond to your encouragement.

What are Red and Green Words?

All books will have red and green words to learn.

Green words are linked to the sounds they have been learning and are easily decodable. You can ‘Fred talk’ these words.

Red words are not easily decodable and you ‘can’t Fred a red!’ This means that we say the word and do not try to sound it out. Pupils are taught to recognise these words by sight.

How can I help my child at home?

  1. Every three days your child will bring home a new ‘Book Bag Book’ linked directly to the RWInc book they have shared in school.
  2. Share the book, talk about the pictures, and encourage your child to read it aloud. Revisit this book so your child becomes really familiar with the words, and in doing so their fluency will develop. Remember to sound out (‘Fred talk’) any words that they need support to read.