At Cockwood School we use a phonics programme called Read Write Inc. to support our children in developing their reading and writing skills. This is a fun and thorough phonics programme developed by Ruth Miskin, and is used by a quarter of schools in England.
Using the Read Write Inc. programme, the children learn how to recognise, say and write sounds in daily guided group sessions with a member of our Class 3 team. These sessions are initially no longer than 10-15 minutes to enable the children to fully engage and focus on the activity. As their ability to concentrate develops the sessions become a little longer and more elements of the Read write Inc. programme are covered.
Learning the Sounds
We begin with Set 1 Sounds; these are the single pure sounds that correspond with our letters of the alphabet. The children do not learn the letter names at this stage, as the focus is on the sound each letter makes, and how these can be combined or ‘blended’ to make simple words.
The way in which we pronounce each of these sounds can be seen in the video below:
Writing the Sounds
Each pure sound has a simple mnemonic or rhyme that the children memorise to help them with the physical process of writing the sound.
For example the first of the sounds that your child will learn is ‘m’, with the rhyme ‘down Maisie, mountain, mountain’. As you can see in the picture above, we start the letter ‘m’ at the top of the girls head, and go down, then bounce up and over the 2 ‘mountains’ to make the humps. Children will often remember the mnemonic before they have recall of the sound, but with daily revisiting will quickly learn the sound as well.
Each day they children will have the opportunity to ‘write’ the new sound they have learnt. Some children will be ready to hold a pencil, and write their sounds on paper or with pen on a whiteboard, but many will enjoy ‘writing’ in other ways by tracing letter shapes in sand or rice, using water and large paint brushes or ‘dancing’ the sounds in the air. All of these large movement activities support your child in developing the co-ordination and shoulder strength that they will require to have good control over small motor movements, including writing, during their time in EYFS and into Year 1.
Once your child is secure in the first 6 sounds they will begin ‘Word Time’ in which they will learn to combine or ‘blend’ these sounds to build simple words such as ‘mat’, ‘sad’, ‘dad’, and ‘sat’. Each day they are introduced to a new sound, and quickly build up the full repertoire of all 26 ‘pure’ sounds, as well as ‘ng’, ‘nk’, ‘th’, ‘ch’ and ‘sh’. These additional sounds are called digraphs, and are 2 letters making one sound, and are taught as such.
As the children develop their confidence in recognising simple words from ‘Word Time’, and show that they can use their known sounds to work out new words by breaking them down into individual sounds (segmenting) and then putting the sounds back together (blending) they will move onto reading books that support their development as early readers.
As always, if you have any questions or would like some guidance on how to support your child at home, then please do come and speak to one of the Class 3 team.