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My children's school recently sent out a letter saying that they are now using Read Write Inc, and that children then move on the National Literacy Strategy for spelling.
In what year group would you expect children to move off the Read Write Inc programme? (I mean the element of the programme that ends with the grey colour as the school has purchased the reading books through to the grey colour, and the associated writing books, they don't have any other aspects of the scheme such as the RWI spelling scheme for KS2, and the reading and writing books do not go home at any stage).
Also, what do you think they mean by the National Literacy strategy for spelling? I've seen a document on the national strategies website called "Support for Spelling". This starts in Year 2 assuming that children are secure at Phase 5 of phonics. Do you think this is what they mean in the letter?
What does being secure at phase 5 phonics mean?
Which level of Read Write Inc relates to Phase 5?
Is there a time period during which one might expect a child to be doing both Read Write Inc and the national strategy for spelling?
Sorry to have so many questions but it is puzzling me.
RWI groups wd normally be split across the school at a designated daily time, it has nothing to do with Year but ability,
Those Letters & sounds 'phases' are more bother than enough! If the school is using RWI they won't be worrying about L& S phases, surely?
Do we still have a 'National Literacy Strategy'?
I don't know whether we have a National Literacy Strategy any more ....... or any other strategy. But, I think this particular schools is referring to that document on the National Strategies website called Support for Spelling, which starts with a year 2 programme. Is this a popular publication or not?
Take your point about RWI and the Letter and Sounds phases, but phase 6 is rather different from RWI. My own non-technical impression of RWI (up to the grey level that is) is that it probably covers up to phase 5 letters and sounds. Or am I very mistaken?
Phase 6 is consolidating alternative grapheme representation and prefixes and suffixes
the Y2 section in Support for Spelling is phase 6 of L&S can't comment on RWI as we don't use it but we do use Get Spelling Right which follows on (Ruth Miskin)
In what year group would you expect children to move off the Read Write Inc programme?
We use RWI and I would say an aim ids off rh phonics programme for most by the end of Year 2. However we currently have a small group (4) of Yr1s who are now off it and 25x Yr 2s who started on the Comprehension programme in September at the start fo Yr 2. No rule of thumb as it's an assessment for the ability grouping. I aim for majority of YrR at green level by the end of the year, Yr1s- pink level and Yr 2s- grey level.
As soon as pupils are onto the next level eg Comprehension, then they start the RWI Spelling programme within their daily lesson- we give about 10-15 mins daily to this. We use a 7 day programme for each the comprehension books in oder to get through all the activities plus spelling.
The RWI spelling programme has the benefit of revising all the necessary sounds and exceptions so pupils learn their own ways of spelling the tricky, non-phonetic words and how to choose which grapheme in a word, using mnemonics and little rhymes and phrases etc.
We don't send hom ethe reading or writing books.
We use a range of book-banded reading and other story books at the correct levels to reflect the RWI group levels. We also send home sets of 5-10 sight vocabulary words for children to learn- again at their 'level'. We sell discounted sets of Speed sounds card set for home use to parents.
We allow parents to come and observe the lessons being tauhgt every term, so they understand the nature of the lessons and how their child gets a range of activities every day.
RWI contains everything they need to learn- they don't need an 'extra' spelling approach.
Thank you for that very clear explanation. Our school has not purchased the spelling or comprehension programme.
Something is puzzling me which I don't know how to tackle. My child was assessed by school as a free reader at the start of Year 2. At home she is currently enjoying reading the Wishing Chair by Enid Blyton to me at the moment.
I would say she has a good grasp of phonics - did Jolly Phonics at nursery school and repeated it again in reception, then the school adopted Read Write Inc at some point during her time in Year 1.
At the moment, second term of year 2, she is in a phonics group which has just started Set 4 of RWI - orange. From what I have gleaned on the web this is not really a match for her reading level, so I am a little puzzled. When I ask the school if she is having problems with phonics that I can help with at home they won't answer and refer me to the head who won't tell me anything either.
I have never seen her have a problem with phonics, so I am not sure what to do. She probably first started reading by sounding out and blending when she was 4.5 years old. She is now 6.75 years old.
Her spelling of high frequency words can be haphazard at times - e.g. thay instead of they, teachir instead of teacher, but still follows phonics principles. The spelling lists that are brought home each week are very simple as they are based around the work covered in her phonics group which is doing the orange set of reading books and writing books.
I am worried that she is missing out on the stuff that she really needs that she would access in the higher groups, or that the children beyond the RWI reading programme must be on - suffixes, prefixes, spelling patterns, ways of learning to spell more difficult words, comprehension of more challenging texts etc. She's a bright child so it is a bit of a puzzle to me and I don't know how to proceed. At this rate it seems as though it could be a very long time before she moves off the RWI reading programme onto whatever the school does next, and in the meantime she is building up gaps which I feel she would be capable of filling now. I'm not sure what to do for the best to help her, as I'm not a literacy teacher, and I don't know what the reasons are for her being at the level she is at.
mystery10Her spelling of high frequency words can be haphazard at times - e.g. thay instead of they, teachir instead of teacher, but still follows phonics principles. The spelling lists that are brought home each week are very simple as they are based around the work covered in her phonics group which is doing the orange set of reading books and writing books.
I don't think you do need to 'help her' as such. I honestly think you should relax and let her enjoy learning the tools of spelling and reading at school and keep reading fabulous books for enjoyment with her at home. Both together will be the best thing for her. She is only year 2 and so there is no reason at all for her to be 'off RWI' yet. It is a long term programme, often to year 4.
She sounds like a very normal Y2 child to be honest.
Thank you for that reassuring reply. It makes sense to me, but thinking about it another way it doesn't.
She knows that ey makes the same sound as ay - that's why she uses it pretty interchangeably in the word they, she also knows that ir, er, ur, even or after a w, all sound the same, so that's why she might spell teachir instead of teacher. There are no phonic "sounds" she does not know all the alternatives for.
But the reading programme of RWI wouldn't as such teach you to spell "they" instead of "thay", or "teacher" instead of "teachir" would it?
Wouldn't "they" be better learned by bashing through high frequency words in spelling lists frequently, or a personal spelling journal, and wouldn't "teacher" be better learned by looking at the suffix -er e.g. learn, learner, cut, cutter, make, maker etc. Doesn't all this get dealt with later on in Support for Spelling Year 2, or L and S phases beyond 5?
Going back to orange level RWI readers is not the only, or necessarily the best way of doing this is it? I don't feel that the RWI reading scheme is really designed to help a child know which is the correct alternative of many different options when writing a word down. Apart from anything, the vocabulary is very limited.
Nopes bashing through spelling lists and 'learning' endless spellings does not generally make for good spellers, hence many schools (including mine) no longer do this.
Clearly your child's school, along with many, many others, does feel that RWI is the best way of teaching reading, writing and spelling. This is going to sound a bit harsh, but if you choose to send your child there then you will have to accept their way of teaching, even if it isn't to your taste. Working through a scheme at school and reading lots for pleasure at home will enable your child to do well.
I'll just repeat the 'stop worrying' message. Relax and enjoy fabulous books with your daughter and be glad you aren't having to make your child bash through endless spelling lists and higher level reading scheme books at home.
A couple of suggestions along with the observation that English irregular spellings have to be learned visually; phonics are of no use deciding which spelling of ,say, 'oo' is needed ( fruit, sleuth,truth, lose, choose,threw, through,bruise,June - I could go on ..)
Offer £1 for every spelling 'thay' or 'teachir' that she can find...
Use magnetic letters to copy 'they' from the word you will have written, saying the names of the letters (and maybe chanting 't h e y' they,they, they! ) and then copying the word she has made. (This is Simultaneous Oral Spelling a la Lynette Bradley)
Make up sentences using like spellings rather than like sounds - They like the grey monkey.
I think the just-enjoy-books-with-her advice nails it and/but some fun can be had looking at words that rhyme but are not spelt the same in, say, The Gruffalo - nose, toes , if you do need to address alternative spellings.
This manic phonics frenzy will eventually get justified blame for making children's spelling a hopelessly confused jumble.
Thank you, both the posts above made me smile and some useful tips too. I can imagine RWI being very boring to teach, but if it gives quick progress, then in other ways it gives its rewards.
I fully understand the like it or lump it approach, and the don't worry messages. I don't know that I worry as such, but I am concerned.
The extra tricks for learning spellings are great, but it's not quite like that with her ....... she doesn't really have any problems learning spellings; also the spellings she does get home are so easy now (easier than ones she had towards the start of year 1) we don't have to rehearse them for the weekly test (but I do, because I'm concerned that if I don't and she gets one wrong she'll never leave RWI).
If you ask her how to spell "they" for example, or test her on it at home, she would always give you the right answer, but when she is doing a piece of creative writing sometimes it will be spent "thay" instead --------- particularly if they have been doing the "ay" sound at school that day. So for example, on the day recently that they read Playday at school she spelled it as "thay".
I also think RWI is a good scheme for getting children reading fast. My child who is two years younger loves the books and it is better than the odds and sods from various other reading schemes that my older daughter received in the early days.
But my concern is that my daughter has, for some unidentifiable reason, other than being erratic with spellings (but she has a decent spelling age which puts her in the top 20% for her age) she seems to be placed in a low RWI group. She is with many children from the year below, others have come up to her group from lower groups, and many have gone up from her group, but she stays in the same group.
She understands all the different phonic sounds, what all the different alternatives are that sound the same etc etc. But my concern is that sticking around on the lower levels of the scheme will compound the errors she does make - to me it's a scheme which makes you very aware of the choices of letter combinations that make the same sound, but little to fix the right spelling in your mind. She's at the age and stage where she would enjoy a personal spelling journal, using a dictionary, some general spelling rules etc etc.
I would be happy with the school and the scheme if she was further on in it. I can see she would get some mileage out of the grey level say, and it would really benefit her, but at the rate she is progressing through the scheme the age at which she will encounter these books they will be an insult.
If she is in the correct group at school, and I have to trust that she is, I would like to understand better why her progress through the scheme is so slow relative to other markers of literacy progress and the others in her year. Then maybe I could do something .......... interesting and fun of course, but something nevertheless.
I can see that the RWI spelling package and comprehension package would also be great, but if the school goes on to purchase these, my daughter won't be starting on these until Year 6 at the current rate at which they seem to think she is progressing through the phonics.
How do they test children to decide which RWI group they should be in, and how often?
Sorry to ask so many questions, but the teacher will not tell me anything, says I must talk to the head, and the head will say nothing other than she doesn't want to tell me anything because then I will try to help her at home.
When we do RWI, we do "placement tests" at regular intervals to check that children are in the correct ability group. I have children who appear to read at a higher level than the RWI group they are in. It is confusing, I agree, but I think a lot of the higher level reading (for my children in particular) is due to whole word sight recognition rather than application of phonics, as they do not apply their phonics when reading words in the placement test, hence are placed lower than one might expect. I've also found that these particular children have a number of gaps in their phonics knowledge. RWI is very good at filling the gaps and the children enjoy the fast pace of the lessons, the small groups and the familiar structure. They also see a huge improvement in their writing. You could always ask to see the assessments that your child has undertaken to better understand the system, otherwise I would agree with the other posters, ie: don't worry.
'They' is a red word in Read Write and should have been taught as such and learned as such so that the children don't get them mixed up from early on.
I have a child currently who can read all the sounds, and use them to sound out unfamiliar words except words with ce/ ci e.g. procession. However, she does not use her knowledge to help her spell, even with words she has practised for our weekly test. She simply puts down what she thinks unless asked e.g. asked to sound out shower in 'Fred talk' she correctly said sh-ow-er. In her work she wrote shooowr.
We do lots of work to develop visual memory-all the best spellers can 'see' the correct spelling. Try cloze procedure where there is an option of 3 different spellings of the missing word and ask them to choose the correct one.
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