At St Mary Cray Primary School the Read Write Inc. scheme has been introduced to help children in Early Years to develop their speaking and listening, reading and writing skills. It is a scheme of work developed for literacy by Ruth Miskin, who is one of the UK’s leading authorities on teaching children to read. The Read Write Inc scheme is also followed in Year 1, and for some children in Year 2, to aid children's continued learning of phonics.
At the start of each new term children in Early Years, as well as in Year 1 and Year 2, are assessed to help identify whether a child has gaps (or children who are surging ahead) in their knowledge of phonics. Reception, Year 1 and some Year 2 children are assigned to their own small group for regular reading sessions with a trained member of staff using Read Write Inc. methods. These groups are organised according to their specific needs, and the specific sounds and letters are taught in fun and engaging ways.
Regular assessments help to identify children who are making consistent progress, who are then placed in a group where the books may be a bit more challenging. Regular assessments also help identify children who may need extra help. This is provided on a regular one to one basis.
A considerable amount of time and money has been invested in the training of teacher and teaching assistants alike. The training is ongoing and led by Mrs Horton, our Phonic Leader.
Five key principles underpin the teaching in all Read Write Inc. sessions as taken from the Teacher Handbook:
- Participation – As they are in small groups, children participate fully in every session. They are able to maintain high levels of concentration and they do not miss key elements of the teaching.
- Praise - Children work together as partners. They take turns to teach and praise each other. They are motivated by praise from their teachers and teaching assistants.
- Pace - Sessions never drag. The lively pace keeps every child fully engaged and on task.
- Purpose - Every instructor has been trained in Read Write Inc. methods. They know the purpose of each activity, and how it leads into the next.
- Passion - Instructors, too, become passionate about their teaching as they see the children enjoying the progress they are making.
During Reception, children take part in lots of phonic based activities through the day. In Key Stage 1 phonics is also revised and applied through handwriting and Literacy. Children will learn sayings and actions with each sound. Phonics is a key part of early school life and is monitored and assessed continually.