Children are introduced to phonics using a systematic synthetic phonics programme using Ruth Miskin’s ‘Read Write Inc.’ programme, at the heart of which is the systematic teaching of all the common sounds in the English language. Read Write Inc. is used by more than a quarter of the UK's primary schools and is designed to create fluent readers, confident speakers and willing writers.
Children who read regularly or are read to regularly have the opportunity to open the doors to so many different worlds! More importantly, reading will give your child the tools to become independent life-long learners.
We can achieve this together through:
- Read Write Inc., a program to help your child read
- Encouraging children to develop a love of books by reading to them daily, at home and at school
- Giving children access to a wide range of books at school and at home
At St James’s Catholic Primary School, we have put together a guide to how the RWI programme works together with some useful links. Ms Berlyn is our Phonics Lead, so if you have questions about phonics, contact school who can refer you to her. Please take the time to read the information as it will provide information as to how you can help and support your child in reading.
What is Read Write Inc.?
Read Write Inc. (RWI) is a phonics complete literacy programme which helps all children learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling. The programme is designed for children aged 4-7. However, at St James’s Catholic primary School we begin the programme in Nursery and will continue teaching RWI to children beyond the age of 7 if they still need support in their reading.
RWI was developed by Ruth Miskin and more information on this can be found at https://ruthmiskin.com/en/find-out-more/parents/.
How will RWI be taught?
All children are assessed regularly by our RWI lead teacher so they work with children at the same level. This allows complete participation in lessons.
- Bouncy sounds- said with a short, sharp gap in between e.g. a a a a
- Stretchy sounds- said in one continuous sound e.g. mmmmmmmm
- Green words- decodable words you can segment into sounds e.g. c-a-t
- Red words– exceptions which don’t follow the rules we have taught children about letters making particular sounds (you can’t Fred a red), sometimes called ‘high frequency words’
- Fred talk- sounding out and blending words
- Fred in your head- sounding out in your head
- Special friends – 2 or 3 letters which make one sound (digraph or trigraph)
- Digraph – 2 letters that are used to record a sound
- Trigraph – 3 letters that are used to record a sound
- Split digraph – a sound where the two letters are split up so the e sits on the end of the word (chatty friends)
- Chatty friends – letters which are so chatty that a good letter has to sit in-between them but they are sneaky and still hold hands behind the good letters back and make one sound (ie: the e sits on the end of the line), a split vowel digraph
- Nonsense words- alien words/made up words to assess a child’s phonic knowledge
- Fred fingers- used to pinch sounds for spellings
- Speed sounds- quick review of sounds
- MTYT- my turn, your turn
- TTYP- talk to your partner
- Phoneme- sound
- Grapheme- letter
Once the children are familiar with … rhythm / beats, they are introduced to the initial sounds in short five minutes sessions.
In Reception all children will learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down.
- learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts – see below
- learn to read words using Fred talk and sound blending
- read from a range of storybooks and non-fictions books matched to their phonic knowledge
- work well with partners
- develop comprehension skills in stories by answering 'Find It' and 'Prove It' discussion questions
- learn to read words by sounding-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 (shown further down the page).
- learn to write and form the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds with the help of fun phrases
- learn to write words by using Fred Talk
- learn to build sentences by practising sentences out loud before they write
- during their RWI sessions, children will recite a saying to help them learn how to form their letters. There is a copy of these rhymes in this folder.
The children work in pairs so that they:
- answer every question
- practise every activity with their partner
- take turns in talking and reading to each other
- develop ambitious vocabulary
Year 1 and Year 2
Children follow the same format as Reception but will work on complex sounds and read books appropriate to their reading level. Daily sessions of RWI phonics last for forty minutes. Once children become fluent speedy readers they will move on to literacy in Year One and ‘Active English’ (comprehension skills) in Year 2.
Five key principles underpin the teaching in all Read Write Inc. sessions:
Purpose – know the purpose of every activity and share it with the children, so they know the one thing they should be thinking about
Participation – ensure every child participates throughout the lesson. Partnership work is fundamental to learning
Praise – ensure children are praised for effort and learning, not ability
Pace – teach at an effective pace and devote every moment to teaching and learning
Passion – be passionate about teaching so children can be engaged emotionally.
Children will be taught how to read as follows:
Before you start to teach your child, practise saying the sounds below. These are the sounds we use to speak in English.
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.
At school we use a puppet called Fred who is an expert on sounding out words! we call it, ‘Fred Talk’. E.g. m-o-p, c-a-t, m-a-n, sh-o-p, b-l-a-ck.
Down Maisie then over the two mountains. Maisie, mountain, mountain.
Round the apple, down the leaf.
Slide around the snake
Round the dinosaur's back, up his neck and down to his feet.
Down the tower, across the tower,
Down the insects body, dot for the head.
Down Nobby and over the net.
Down the plait, up and over the pirates face.
Round the girls face, down her hair and give her a curl
All around the orange
Curl around the caterpillar
Down the kangaroos body, tail and leg
Down and under the umbrella, up to the top and down to the puddle
Down the laces, over the toe and touch the heel
Down the stem and draw the leaves
Slice into the egg, go over the top, then under the egg
Down the long leg
Down the horse's head to the hooves and over his back
Slither down the snake, then down the horse's head to the hooves and over his back
Down the robot's back, then up and curl
Down his body, curl and dot
Down a wing, up a wing
Down a horn, up a horn and under the yak's head.
Down, up, down, up the worm.
Down the tower, across the tower, then down the horse’s head to the hooves and over his back
Zig-zag-zig, down the zip.
Curl around the caterpillar, then down the horse's head to the hooves and over his back
Round the queen’s head, up to her crown, down her hair and curl
Cross down the arm and leg and cross the other way
A thing on a string
I think I stink
Please do not use letter names at this early stage.
Children will also use pictures for each sound to help recognise the sound and then form the shape of the sound.
The children are then taught Set 2 Sounds - the long vowels. When they are very confident with all of set 1 and 2 they are taught Set 3 Sounds.
Long vowel sound
Set 2 Speed Sound cards
Teach these first
Set 3 Speed Sound cards
ay: may I play
a-e: make a cake
ai: snail in the rain
ee: what can you see
ea: cup of tea
e: he me we she be
igh: fly high
i-e: nice smile
ow: blow the snow
o-e: phone home
ao: goat in a boat
oo: poo at the zoo
u-e: huge brute
ew: chew the stew
oo: look at a book
ar: start the car
or: shut the door
aw: yawn at dawn
air: that’s not fair
are: share and care
ir: whirl and twirl
ur: nurse for a purse
er: a better letter
ou: shout it out
ow: brown cow
oy: toy for a boy
oi: spoil the boy
ire: fire fire!
ear: hear with your ear
ure: sure it’s pure?
Nonsense words (Alien words)
As well as learning to read and blend real words children will have plenty of opportunities to apply their sound recognition skills on reading ‘Nonsense words’. These words will also feature heavily in the Year 1 Phonics Screening check in the summer term.
Children will be introduced to ‘Ditty books’ when they successfully begin to read single words. The short vowels should be kept short and sharp:
Children use sound-blending (Fred Talk) to read short ditties. They will bring these home once they have read and discussed the book in class. Children will then be challenged to use their developing phonic knowledge to write short sentences.
Within all the books children will have red and green words to learn to help them to become speedy readers. Red words are words that are not easily decodable and challenge words to extend children’s vocabulary. Green words are linked to the sounds they have been learning and are easily decodable.
Dots and dashes represent the sound each letter makes.
Once your child has been introduced and taught these words in school we will send them home for you to continue practising with your child.
During the RWI session children will read the book three times and at each new reading they will have plenty of opportunities to practise using their developing comprehension skills. You may have heard your child talking about ‘hold, edit or build a sentence’.
Hold a sentence is an activity that encourages children to remember a whole sentence while focusing on spelling and punctuation.
Build a sentence is to give children the opportunity to create their own sentence to that shows the meaning of a word and edit a sentence allows the children to critique a sentence using their knowledge of spelling punctuation and grammar. Children complete a longer piece of independent writing, which gives them the opportunity to show off their creativity and to practice their spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Order of Story books:
Children will hopefully follow the order listed below. The expectation is that all children will leave Year One as confident speedy readers, ready to take on the challenges of Year Two. However, some children may need extra support and your teacher will talk to you about this.
Year Group Expectations
Red Ditty 1-10
During the reading session, it is important that the children are not asked to read books that contain sounds that they have not been taught. If a child is reading a text that doesn’t match their phonic knowledge, it forces them to try and guess the words on the page. This means that a book can look like this to a child if they can’t decode the words they are being asked to read:
The cat watc℘§d the witc∈.
The witc∈ droℑ℘d a slimΨ n℘wt into a big ca∈ldron.
He cξξ℘ld se℘ a sm℘l§ on the faΨΨ of the witc∈.
This can stop children from feeling confident and successful in their reading. Children benefit from reading decodable texts because they allow them to practise what they have been taught and develop confidence. They also help children develop effective and successful strategies for reading: sounding out letters and blending them into words.
Reading at Home
Children in Reception who are learning the first 44 letter sounds and are not blending fluently will bring home sound sheets and simple books containing CVC words for you to sound and blend with your child. Your child will be heard read twice weekly and will recap the sounds throughout the week during phonics, continuous provision and intervention groups we put in place.
Once children can blend fluently and know the first 44 sounds they will bring home a red Ditty book, an Oxford Reading Tree Songbirds book, Big Cat Phonics Book or a Floppy’s Phonics Book.
Read Write Inc Books
Once a week your child will bring home their school RWI book. Please encourage your child to read though the speed sounds page first, then the green and red words page and then check your child understands the meaning of words on the vocabulary check page, before they start reading the book. Your child will have read this book at least three times before they bring it home. They should be able to read this book with fluency and expression by the time they bring it home and they should have a good comprehension of what the book is about. At the back of the book are ‘find it/prove it’ questions for you to complete with your child.
Finally, don't worry if your child is struggling at first with their sounds and words, they will get there in their own time. If you have time (we know it is very precious!), we would urge you to try and read stories to your child before they go to bed. This will help develop a wider vocabulary which makes a vast difference to their quality of writing but it will also encourage them to enjoy a good story.
If you have any other questions about RWI, please see your class teacher or see Ms Berlyn our Read Write Inc. 'Reading Leader'.
Phonics Screening Check Year One
What is the Year 1 phonics screening check?
The Year 1 phonics screening check is a short, light-touch assessment to confirm whether individual pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard.
It will identify the children who need extra help so they are given support by their school to improve their reading skills. They will then be able to retake the check so that schools can track pupils until they are able to decode.
Further information can be found here.
Useful websites for Parents
How to pronounce the sounds-
Match the word with picture-
Sounding and blending-
Creating words phoneme and digraph-
Sorting real and alien words-
Sorting real and alien words-
Phonics games and resources