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School moving from ORT to Read Write Inc - what should we expect?

(3 Posts)
BirdyBedtime Wed 15-May-13 13:54:23

DD (now in P3) has learned to read using ORT books and materials, but the school also already does phonics based teaching for sounds etc. They are planning to move totally to phonics/RWI from next year when DS starts P1.

I have to say I am a more than a bit glad not to have the prospect of Biff, Chip and Kipper all over again, but also I'm a little uncertain about how the RWI approach works. Because of the size of the year there will be 3 pure P1 classes and one P1/2 composite, but they intend to do the one hour literacy in ability groups across the whole year. I think this might be good, but wonder about firstly, how can they assess literacy and put children into ability groups at the start of P1, and secondly will children be 'stuck' in the group that they are initially put in? As children of this age can make big leaps in learning in short spaces of time, particularly around reading, what happens to a child if their ability improves faster than the others in their group (or vice versa)?

I do intend to ask these things at the induction meeting for P1, but just wonder how it works in your school? Having had a bit of a look at the website, RWI sounds fantastic and hope that it suits DS, as DD has, on occasion found learning to read a difficult experience, and at almost 8 now seems to have forgotten how to sound out words that she doesn't know.

TeenAndTween Wed 15-May-13 14:22:36

You say your school has already been using phonics but uses ORT books.

So the first change I would be expecting to see is to use some phonics based books in Reception/Y1 (P1/2?) for the early readers, and then only going to ORT books for more confident readers (around the time of magic key perhaps). If they say they are doing RWI but send home low level ORT books then reading at home will not support their phonics lessons .

Pure RWI has attainment-based phonics groups which are meant to be regularly reassesed, so children grasping quicker/slower than average in their group should move groups rather than progressing at the speed of the group. Our school started the very pure way with infants going off into small mixed year groups for phonics, but adandoned it (I believe they found the moving all around quite disruptive and the school didn't have enough breakout areas, and TAs, anyway).

Often schools have different attainment-based tables for reading/writing/maths and children move tables if they click or struggle, so RWI groups should be no more static than those.

They have special RWI books for in-school use which you won't see which are very phonics based (which 'real book' protagonists probably hate but are useful for reinforcing basic sounds).

RWI combines reading and writing so as well as the picture with the letter (e.g. d d d dinosaur), they use the same picture to help write the letter (round his body, up and down his long neck (or something)).

You can buy RWI cards online (sets 1, 2 and 3). These were good for my DD, we used to practice sounds, and post into a letter box the ones she knew, gradually adding more in.


BirdyBedtime Wed 15-May-13 14:53:13

Thanks TandT. I've already looked up the cards on Amazon! DS is probably going to be the youngest (or very nearly) in his year but has been showing an interest in reading in the past few months. We've been teaching him the phonic sounds which we know through DD (she did Jolly Phonics) and he can blend simple CVC words and 4 letter words. I didn't want to do too much before August as I was concerned about him ending up bored if he already knew things, but sounds like RWI is very ability based, so I think we'll just keep doing as we are and do some work with the cards over the summer.

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