Throughout EYFS and KS1, a systematic approach to phonics is taught. There is a sharp focus on ensuring that children gain phonics knowledge and language comprehension necessary to read, and the skills to communicate, giving them the foundations for future learning. In EYFS and Key Stage One, discrete Read Write Inc. (RWI) phonics lessons and are taught in homogenous ability groups. The RWI phonics scheme is used to teach early reading and ensure that children are able to decode efficiently – sounding and blending words quickly and accurately. Fluency at each level is a strong focus. Through direct teaching, all children participate by listening and responding, and by practising and applying what they are learning. Teachers make sure that children practise using the knowledge they have been taught in previous lessons until they can use it automatically, thus freeing up their capacity to learn new knowledge. Children also become increasingly familiar with the structures and features of narrative texts.
Assessment is used to determine next steps clearly, including identifying children who might need immediate extra support. Additional support is given to those children who need to catch up with their reading through a variety of intervention teaching, and children who have not passed the phonics check in Year 2 have continued support (see SEND Reading Provision below).
Once new phonemes have been taught, children take home a decodable RWI book to re-read and practise their fluency alongside a RWI Book Bag Book which reinforces the sounds taught in class. Children can practise at home, their increasing knowledge of GPCs and their blending skills in meaningful contexts, making them feel successful from the very beginning. Learning assistants support a wide range of reading activities to ensure that children have more frequent opportunities to read with adults.