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 Literacy at Red Oak Primary.

Teaching our children to read and write accurately, fluently and confidently is the most important thing we will do.

Ofsted’s greatest focus, as well as ours here at school, is upon the teaching of reading: Read Write Inc. is the Phonics and Literacy programme that we use across the school to maximise reading  and writing results.

Read Write Inc. programmes combine into a complete literacy programme which we run from the moment new pupils arrive in our Nursery, until they leave us at the end of Year 6 at the age eleven.  These programmes are designed to stimulate and challenge children’s thinking and create enthusiastic, life-long readers and writers in them all.

Here at Red Oak we recognise that children who read a lot are successful at school. Reading enriches their vocabulary, their grammar, their writing and their spelling.

The more quickly they learn to read, the more they want to read and the more they understand; the less they struggle with spelling, the more capacity they have for writing what they want to say.

Importantly, if they read and write fluently, they can draw ideas together – a key skill for effective learning at any age. Teaching children to read – and keeping them reading – are the two things that will make the biggest difference to their future.

The five key principles of all the Read Write Inc. programme are:

Participation, Praise, Pace, Purpose and Passion

Broken down this means that children:

  • actively participate in each lesson through partner work
  • that praise is paramount for success
  • the pace of the lessons move the children on as quickly as possible
  • each activity within a lesson has a very clear purpose
  • the teachers at Red Oak are passionate about teaching reading and writing.

How we organise Literacy at Red Oak

All children in Reception and Year 1 are in RWI Phonics, grouped according to their ability. Some children in Year 2-4 continue with RWI phonics if they still need it. Children in Year 5 & 6 still needing support access the Fresh Start Programme. All children from Year 2- Year 6 not in RWI or Fresh Start are in class for Literacy.


RWI Phonics

Children in Nursery are taught Set 1 sounds and they practice these throughout their sessions, they also learn rhymes and songs that help with learning sounds.

All children in Reception and Year1 are grouped for Phonics according to their ability. They are assessed every 6-8 weeks. Children in Year2 -4 who are not yet confident in their reading and sound knowledge are also grouped for Phonics according to their ability. We aim to keep the groups as small as possible so that the children can receive the highest level of support possible.

The chart below shows how children move through the Phonics programme. Ideally children should be finishing the Grey books by the end of summer in Year 1, ready to start Literacy and Language in Year 2.

New Speed Sounds to learn

Speed Sounds to review

Ditties, Storybooks and Get Writing! Books

Set 1 and blending




Set 1 and blending


Set 2

Set 1 and blending

Green and Purple Storybooks and Get Writing! books

Teach letter names

Set 1 and 2

Pink Storybooks and Get Writing! books

Teach Set 3 reading only

Set 1 and 2

Orange Storybooks and Get Writing! books

Teach Set 3 reading and spelling

Set 1 and 2

Yellow, Blue and Grey Storybooks and Get Writing! books


What to expect in  RWI Phonics

Throughout the week the children participate in variety of enriching activities. Each day they practice their speed sounds, and read green and red words, as well as speed  words, they read the story book associated with their writing activity and have to answer questions about the story. There are regular vocabulary checks through the week to ensure that the children understand the new and rich vocabulary they are expected to use. They also practise reading with fluency and expression. During the writing part of RWI Phonics children regularly carry out a spelling check, edit work for spelling and punctuation, hold sentences (dictation), and build sentences. Towards the end of the week children write a composition based on picture prompts. Every Friday the children do an extended piece of writing based on the skills they have focussed on that week.


Red Oak Literacy

Our Literacy programme runs from Year 2- Year 6. There are 6 units of work per year, broken down into roughly two per term.  Each unit starts with a fiction reading focus, then a fiction writing focus and finally reading and writing non-fiction.

What to expect in Literacy

For each fiction reading focus the children hear and read an age appropriate, quality text. At this stage of our programme children make predictions about what to expect in the story, answer questions about the text and focus their attention on the subtleties and nuances of the stories.

For each fiction writing focus the children build up their writing skills through a three stage process. Initially they mirror the writing through drafting and revising their own writing, and then through role play, partner work, children build on these story frameworks by adding their own ideas, developing sentences and planning their own plots and scripts.

There are 5 core activities throughout our programme-

  • Word power- powerful and evocative vocabulary is explained, explored and used before children encounter it in the texts.
  • Scene setting- we give the children the opportunity at the beginning of each unit to explore the authors lives, and the settings in which our stories take place.
  • Grammar- grammar is explicitly linked in our Literacy programme, with each unit having particular grammar focusses.
  • Drafting- all children are given the opportunity to draft their writing first, either through story maps, or through first writing attempts.
  • Editing and improving written work- all children are able to spend time editing and improving their work.

During the non- fiction reading and writing focus children are expected to look at the different audiences, purposes, styles and forms. They follow a three stage deconstruction process which reveals the conventions of different text types, building up to the children writing a similar text type.

Every week the children do an extended piece of writing based on the skills they have used and acquired that week.


Fresh Start

Fresh Start is a RWI programme specifically designed for UKS2 children who have struggled to pick up reading and writing earlier in their schooling. It follows exactly the same principles and activities as RWI Phonics but has age appropriate texts and writing opportunities designed to engage the older children.  At Red Oak we run Fresh Start for any UKS2 children not in a Literacy and Language class. Our groups are kept very small, and in some cases some children are taught on a 1-1 basis.


One to One Tutoring

We use the RWI One to One Tutoring system and any child that is struggling in their Phonics group, or not on track for their age receive one to one tutoring every day. It is based on sound knowledge, being able to blend, and being able to read words at speed.


Spelling and Grammar

We use the RWI Spelling programme daily across the school from Year 2- Year 6. Each week the children have a different spelling pattern to learn. Throughout the week the children learn to identify the different sounds in a word using the dots and dashes technique, they learn to use the words in context, they practise dictation using that week’s focus words and above all they practise, practise, practise!

KS1 teachers plan the grammar that their classes need to know based on the outcomes from the literacy that week.KS2 using the Nelson Grammar scheme and grammar is taught daily in KS2, with a different focus each week. Children listen to the input, focus on the task, then practise their new skills and finally meet the grammar challenge.

RWI Literacy and Language also has termly assessments for grammar based on the grammar taught during the previous units, we used these assessments to guide us on where our children need the most support.




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