At Whitby Heath, we believe that reading is the most important skill that children must master during their time at primary school.  Our aim is to ensure all children swiftly become confident and fluent readers, enabling them to go on to 'read to learn' and enjoy and thrive in their learning across the curriculum.  We believe that being a strong reader equips children with the tools to become independent, life-long learners and sets children up for not only a successful time at primary school, but also at secondary school and in their future life beyond!    

Our primary goal is to make sure that every child learns to read quickly and effectively through the Read, Write, Inc. phonics programme.   At Whitby Heath School children learn phonics and early reading skills and strategies through structured and systematic teaching, following the Read Write Inc Phonics (RWI) programme.  Learning to read in the early years can be challenging but we believe children learn effectively through RWI here at Whitby Heath and for many the task of becoming a reader can be effortless.  

Not only do our children become good readers, but they become passionate about reading and enjoy reading for pleasure.  A love of reading is fostered within our curriculum and across all classrooms.  Adults and children alike love to read and we have a strong reading culture at Whitby Heath.   

As well as learning to read effectively through the RWI programme, our children also become keen and confident writers, who make spelling decisions and apply what they've learnt to spell well.  The teaching of reading and writing go hand in hand at Whitby Heath.  Through daily RWI lessons in the early years and KS1, children at our school get off to a flying start in their reading and writing and go on to learn effectively and enjoy learning in KS2.

Click HERE to watch a short video to find out more about the RWI phonics programme and how it is used to effectively teach phonics and early reading.

When the children know around 44 sounds and are confident and fluent readers, that read with expression and understanding, children come off the RWI programme.  This is determined through our assessments.  They then continue to learn to regularly read and write more words containing prefixes and suffixes through the 'No Nonsense' spelling programme and continue to regularly read a breadth of appropriately matched texts and develop their comprehension skills and strategies through the 'Pathways to Read' programme.  


Videos especially helpful to support earliest readers...

Click HERE to find out what phonics is and how we use phonics to teach early reading

Click HERE to find out how we teach the letter sounds/set 1 sounds so children know 1 way to read and write every sound

Click HERE to find out how we teach children to blend sounds to read words

Click HERE to find out how we teach children to read first words/Sound Blending Books with 'Fred Talk'

Click HERE to find out how we teach the set 1 digraphs (sounds made with 2 letters)

Videos especially helpful to support developing readers who can read all the single letter sounds, some  'special friends' sounds ('ch', 'sh', 'th', 'qu', 'ng', 'nk') and can blend to read simple words...  

Click HERE to find out how we teach set 2 and 3 sounds and strategies for reading words with these 'special friends' sounds in.

Have a look below at ways you can support with reading at home…

  1. Listen to your child read their home-reading book daily, asking questions before/during/after reading and record a brief comment about their reading in the reading diary.  (Please note, children should be secure in the sounds in their home-reading book so they can read the sounds/words speedily to develop accuracy, fluency and understanding.)
  2. Read stories to your child, encourage a love of books and talk about the book as you go. 
  3. Value books yourself and model your own love of reading
  4. Attend our parent phonics sessions to become familiar with RWI and our approach to the teaching of phonics, reading and spelling.
  5. Use your child’s RWI book mark to help your child get speedy at reading the sounds and the ‘green’ and ‘red words’ too.  (This will change each time your child progresses into a new RWI group)
  6. If you have any questions, no matter how silly you may think they are, please ask your child’s class teacher…we need to work together to help your child become a reader!