We teach literacy from Reception to Year 4 using the Read Write Inc programme.
Read Write Inc is a Synthetic Phonics Scheme that is proven to ‘get children reading and writing fast’. It works on the basis that if children know all 44 sounds (phonemes) of the English language in their purest form and learn to encode (spell) and decode (read) using these letter sounds, then reading and writing will be effortless.
Children are shown how words can be separated into ‘Green Words’ and ‘Red Words’. Green words sound phonetically and as such are easy to decode, for example ‘chop, ‘while Red words do not sound phonetically, for example ‘said’. These words just have to be learnt by sight.
The scheme promotes the advantage of learning the code to the English language. Once a child can apply their understanding of how to encode and decode, they will discover that they can read the vast majority of English words and progress very fast indeed. The Red words that are left are very much in the minority, hence requiring less space in the long term memory.
The children progress through a series of books that teach them how to read, spell, punctuate accurately and answer comprehension questions. The reading and writing activities require the children to work together so that no one can get by without joining in. The approach encourages the children to read, say and write all that they do which is a wonderful way of not only consolidating their learning but allowing them to see the connection between reading, writing and speaking. This fosters a much deeper understanding of Literacy skills than they would gain through other teaching methods.
The scheme demands that the children are appropriately placed in order to meet their needs completely. It is a very fluid scheme that allows children to progress entirely at their own rate. As such, some children may move through faster than others, but all develop an enormous amount of confidence very early on. This confidence then spills over into other subject areas and the independent approach that children take towards their learning across the curriculum is obvious.
It is wonderful for us to know that we can offer the children a holistic approach towards developing Literacy skills, which is pacey, energetic, comprehensive and fun.