Phonics: Read Write Inc. and Fresh Start
Read Write Inc. and Fresh Start
How they are used to raise standards of Literacy at Whitstable Junior School
Read Write Inc. is a whole-school literacy programme designed and developed by Ruth Miskin, one of the country’s leading authorities on teaching children to read. The programme aims to create fluent readers, willing writers and confident speakers.
When a child joins Whitstable Junior School, their reading ability is assessed within the first few weeks. If the child has gaps in their knowledge of phonics, or if they have been designated as dyslexic, they are assigned to their own small group for regular sessions with a trained instructor using Read Write Inc. methods.
Five key principles underpin the teaching in all Read Write Inc. sessions:
1) 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.
2) 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.
3) Pace - Sessions never drag. The lively pace keeps every child fully engaged and on task.
4) 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.
5) Passion - Instructors, too, become passionate about their teaching as they see the children enjoying the progress they are making.
At WJS we have invested significantly in the training of teachers and teaching assistants to carry out the programme effectively with small groups of children. These groups are organised according to their specific needs, and the specific sounds and letters are taught in fun and engaging ways.
Each session lasts about an hour and includes a variety of activities delivered with pace and rigour. Children have the opportunity to learn sounds which are reinforced during the session with reading and writing activities – learning is put into practise.
As children progress through the levels, they are regularly assessed to ensure they are placed in groups most appropriate for them. If a child is found to be struggling, 1 to 1 sessions are arranged for him/her to catch up with the group. Children may also be ‘fast-tracked’ to a more able group when their progress warrants this.
We are delighted to report Read Write Inc. is already making an impact with many children achieving higher levels of reading than in the past.
In the short video clips below, Ruth Miskin explains how the programme helps children learn to read and to write quickly:
What can parents do to help?
If your child would like to practise their sounds at home then please click on the appropriate level at the bottom of the page.
Red Ditty 1-5
Red Ditty 6-10
Children find it easier to learn to read and spell if they are taught pure sounds. You might like to watch this youtube video to make sure you are using the correct pure sounds with your child at home:
Ruth Miskin also suggests that children gain a great deal from knowing a short number of stories very well. Familiarity with these stories can help children to understand how stories are structured and the different kind of genres they may encounter. Your children will be read all of these books while on the RWI programme at WJS. The list is down loadable at the bottom of the page in case parents/careers would like to purchase/ or borrow any of the books to share at home.
Fresh Start is a component of Read Write Inc. that has been developed specifically for struggling readers aged 9 to 13. This offers our children in Years 5 and 6 a second chance to catch up and become fluent readers before they move on to secondary school.
At WJS, Fresh Start children enjoy sessions either every day or three times a week, according to their needs and abilities. These sessions teach children word decoding (simply put, to read words) and reading comprehension (how to read and discuss what they have read).
As with Read Write Inc., an initial assessment allows us to place each child in a group that suits him/her best. The same principles are applied to teaching and learning as the children work through a large number of reading and writing materials written specifically for their age group and interests. Again the key is that they are always practising what they have been taught to ensure the learning is embedded as they progress through the programme. In addition, spelling and handwriting are practised in every session.
Ruth Miskin gives a clear overview of Fresh Start in this youtube video:
We are convinced that the Read Write Inc. programmes will continue to make a very positive impact on the ability of our pupils, at all ages, to develop their reading and writing.
Read Write Inc can support all children to make progress and it is particularly suited to supporting those children with dyslexic tendencies. It is a recommended resources by the British Dyslexia Association.
Should you wish any further information or to discuss any aspects of the programme, please contact your child’s class teacher or myself directly.