Phonics & Early Reading

At Smarden, we teach phonics using Read Write Inc (RWI), a phonics and reading programme. RWI is rigorous, consistent and high quality. 

Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.

We want your child to love reading and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.

We start by exposing phonics to the children in the Nursery. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters. Ask them to show you what these are!

Once in Reception,  children also practise reading (and spelling) what we call ‘tricky words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’.

The children practise their reading with books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know and this does wonders for their confidence.

The teachers read to the children daily, so the children get to know all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. They learn many more words this way and it also helps their writing.

We will always let you know how well your child is doing.

We use various ways to find out how the children are getting on in reading. We use the information to decide what reading group they should be in. Your child will work with children who are at the same reading level. Children will move to a different group if they are making faster progress than the others. Your child will have one-to-one support if we think they need some extra help to keep up. 

We also use a reading test so that we can make sure that all our children are at the level that they should be for their age compared to all the children across the country.

In the summer term, the government asks us to do a phonics check of all the Year 1 children.  That gives us extra information about their progress. We will talk to you about how well your child has done.

By the end of Year 2, your child should be able to read aloud books that are at the right level for his or her age. In Year 3 we concentrate more on helping children to understand what they are reading, although this work begins very early on. This happens when the teacher reads to the children and also when the children read their own story book.

Try to read at home with your child as often as possible and sign their reading record. Talk about the book they are reading and show that you are interested in reading yourself.


Supporting reading at home

We will make sure that they are in the correct phonics group to enable them to make maximum progress. Some children will be given extra one-to-one tutoring by a trained adult if needed.  

Throughout the school we regularly identify those children needing a little extra support with their reading. This might be decoding or comprehension. We have skilled staff that can deliver these interventions either on a 1:1 or small group basis. 

If you have any questions about phonics and early reading or would like to find out more, then please speak to Miss Powell (Phonics Leader) or Mrs Pickering (English Leader). Your child's teacher will also be able to help.

Additional Information for Parents