The ability to read and write is a key life skill. Phonics is a way of decoding written letters or spoken sounds. At Bottesford Infant School we use a scheme Read, Write Inc to teach the children phonics and from there begin to read and write.
'Green' words are phonetically decodable words that the children learn to read. They allow the children to become fluent readers because regular reading of these words means that they become familiar and are able to recognise/read them on sight. They can use their knowledge of these words to read similar words more quickly.
These are words that the children will need to learn on sight because they contain parts that are not decodable. For example the word 'the' could be decoded as 'theh', but children must learn the correct pronunciation and spelling. They might only be red words until a specific sound is learnt.
Fred is our Read, Write Inc mascot/friend. He can only speak in sounds though, so we have to help him to learn to say words instead of sounds. For example Fred says
'c-a-t' instead of 'cat'. We also teach him to not add 'uh' to our sounds in order to keep them pure. For example we say 'c' not 'cuh'.
We use 'Fred Fingers' to help to make the transition between oral sounding out and spelling on paper.
Firstly we count how many sounds we can hear:
"cat, c-a-t, 3 sounds".
Then we hold up that many fingers.
For each sound we use our other hand to squeeze a Fred Finger and say the sounds in "c-a-t".
Then we use our free hand to 'sweep' over our Fred Fingers and blend the sounds into a word "cat".
Watch out- words such a fish need 3 Fred Fingers "f-i-sh". Words such as chair need 2 Fred Fingers "ch-air".
As children become more confident with their sounds and their spelling words they will move away from using their Fred Fingers and instead rely sounding out in their head.
Read, Write Inc books
After the children have learnt enough sounds they will begin to read 'Ditty' books in their Read, Write Inc lessons. Ditty books contain three short stories that the children read. These stories are made up from green and red words.
Following Ditty books children continue to read groups of books that are specifically written to support progress through the scheme. These books follow their own colour scheme and do not match up with the home/school reading scheme.
Each colour band contains ten main books, with extra books to support non fiction reading as well. Children are taught to read the 'green' and 'red' words at the beginning of each book, before checking their understanding using the 'vocab check' page. The children talk about the book before reading it three times. The first time is to practise decoding the words, the second time is to practise expression and the third time is to read for comprehension. Each books focuses on a particularly sound allowing the children to practise the sounds they already know. The children will move their way through the books at their own pace.