Phonics Reading Scheme
Information for Parents
Read Write Inc. – Freshstart
The Ruth Miskin Read Write Inc. reading scheme enables students to improve their reading and writing skills quickly and easily. RWI Freshstart is taught to students whose reading age is significantly below their actual age at Villiers High School.
Although one main way of assessing progress is through increases in reading ages in Accelerated Reader reading comprehension tests, impressive results are also to be found in English level improvement.
It is currently being delivered in the Year 8 and 9 Alternative Curriculum lessons as well as Year 7 and Year 9 set 4 English mainstream lessons, where English teachers are supported by a Learning Support Assistant in delivering RWI to the class. Students work with a partner decoding ‘green words’ and finding strategies for remembering the ‘red’ words. These words are found in the story the students read, so they are pre-learning the vocabulary.
Students read the text with a partner, paired reading in this way has been shown to improve results, as students are in ‘teacher’ role. Research has shown that students remember more when they are teaching what they know to other students.
Two distinct types of student are assessed as having reading ages that are less than their actual age. Students new to the country with English as an Additional Language (EAL) and no learning difficulties, make rapid progress (some students between 12 to 18 months reading age progress within a 6 month intensive period of two hours a week).
Students who have been through Primary Schools and still haven’t understood phonics or have learning difficulties, such as Moderate Learning Difficulties, also benefit from RWI. The familiar structure and core repetitive teaching of synthetic phonics and comprehension skills are beneficial for SEN students.
The scheme is Dyslexia friendly because as well as teaching a system for decoding ‘green’ words and reading for meaning. The ‘red’ or ‘sight’ words are taught with repetitive memory strategies for more complex silent letter patterns.
The most powerful tools for raising Literacy achievement are the teaching strategies to enable students to write with expression. The emphasis on talking enables the students to make a continuous connection between reading, writing, speaking and listening, as well as grammar and spelling.
Discussing the text helps the students to read between the lines and bring their own language and vocabulary knowledge into the written work. This works though clear strategies to develop inference and understanding in spoken and written responses. Developing word banks along with the printed writing frames in the modules, allow the students and teacher to introduce new topic related words not in the modules.
Freshstart is particularly good at teaching British idioms and phrases that are context based, this is especially useful for students with EAL.