Early Reading

The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout our school. Phonics is taught daily to all children in the Foundation Stage, Year 1 and those in further up the school. Staff systematically teach learners the relationship between sounds and written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them. Phonics is delivered in (regularly) assessed groups and coaching is planned for those children who are working below expected levels.

Read Write Inc (RWI) is used as the spine for delivery of the phonics sessions. This programme is visual, audial and kinaesthetic, thus increasing the likelihood of rapid progress. Pupils will be given reading books which match closely to the phase of the phonics they are currently working on. This forms the foundation for lifelong readers.


RWI is based on the five P’s:

Children learn quickly in a positive climate.

Pace – Good pace is essential to the lesson.

Purpose – Every part of the lesson has a specific purpose.

Passion – This is a very prescriptive programme. It is the energy, enthusiasm and passion that teachers put into the lesson that bring the teaching and learning to life!

Participation - A strong feature of R.W.I lessons is partner work and the partners ‘teaching’ each other (based on research which states that we learn 70% of what we talk about with our partner and 90% of what we teach).

Planning - Pupils work within ability groups which are defined by their performance on R.W.I assessments.  Pupils are assessed every half term and the groups are reorganised accordingly.

Children learn sounds in school which help them to read and write. They then practise these skills through reading 'Book Bag Books' at home which are specifically pitched to both consolidate learning and provide challenge in an engaging and fun way! This is what they look like.

All children in EYFS and KS1 have a reading record that they take home every day and this creates a strong link of communication between home and school.


In Reception all children will learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. Those who are ready, will begin to read simple words within books and write some of these.

Year 1 and above

Children follow the same format as Reception but will work on complex sounds and read books appropriate to their reading level. Phonic sessions take place daily.

Set 1 Sounds are taught in the following order together with a numonics  (short rhyme) to help children form the letters correctly and instantly recognise sounds ready for blending


The children are then taught Set 2 Sounds – the long vowels

Set 2 Sounds

ay: may I play 

ee: what can you see

igh: fly high 

ow: blow the snow 

oo: poo at the zoo 

oo: look at the book

ar: start the car

or: shut the door 

air: that’s not fair

 ir: whirl and twirl 

ou: shout it out 

oy: toy for a boy

The children are taught the sounds in 3 sets

When they are very confident with all Set 1 and 2, they are taught Set 3 Sounds.

Set 3 Sounds

ea: cup of tea
oi: spoil the boy
a-e: make a cake
i-e: nice smile
o-e: phone home
u-e: huge brute
aw: yawn at dawn
are: share and care
ur: purse for a nurse
er: a better letter
ow: brown cow
ai: snail in the rain
oa: goat in a boat
ew: chew the stew
ire: fire fire!
ear: hear with your ear
ure: sure it’s pure?
tion: (celebration)
tious / cious: (scrumptious / delicious)
e: he me we she be


Fred Talk


We use pure sounds (‘m’ not’ muh’,’s’ not ‘suh’, etc.) so that your child will be able to blend the sounds into words more easily. Fred is our Read, Write Inc. friend. He can only speak in sounds, so we help him learn to say words instead of sounds. For example, Fred says 'm-a-t' instead of mat. We also teach him not to add 'uh' to our sounds to keep them pure. For example, we say 'c' and not 'cuh'.



Children will:

  • learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts
  • learn to read words using sound blending
  • read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out
  • after meaningful discussion led by an adult, children show that they comprehend the stories by answering questions


Children will:

  • learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds
  • learn to write words by saying the sounds and graphemes
  • learn to build sentences orally using adventurous vocabulary
  • start with simple sentences and develop towards more complex ones by the end of the programme


Children are assessed so they work alongside children at the same level. This allows them to fully participate in all lessons. 
They work in pairs so that they:

  • answer every question
  • practise every activity with their partner
  • take turns in talking to each other


Help your child learn to read words by sound-blending (Fred talk) eg. c-a-t = cat, sh-o-p = shop. Children learn to read words by blending the letter-sounds that are in the Speed Sounds set. Help your child to say the pure sounds ('m' not 'muh', 's' not 'suh' etc.) as quickly as they can, and then blend the sounds together to say the whole word.


Spelling with your Fred Fingers

Children are taught to use their fingers to help them write words. The children say the word out loud and break it down into its individual sounds. If a word has 3 sounds children hold up 3 fingers, 4 sounds 4 fingers etc. Children pinch each finger as they say the sounds needed in the word then they write the letters that represent each sound.

When using Fred Fingers each finger represents one sound. When children reach yellow Read Write Inc. storybooks, they will learn to trace the letters onto each finger and say the letter names.


Nonsense words (Alien words)

Research has shown that incorporating nonsense words into teaching reading can be an effective way to establish blending and segmenting skills. However, it is important to ensure that children understand that they are reading nonsense words (and why) so that they are not confused by trying to read the words for meaning. By reading nonsense words children develop their ability to decode individual sounds and then blend them together to read. They are an indicator of early reading skills and work as a quick, reliable, and valid way of assessing children. However, reading nonsense words is only a small part of the Read, Write Inc. phonics teaching.

A full guide to parents including mnemonics, teaching video’s, handwriting and much more can be found here.