At St. Mary’s we are passionate about reading, which is the key to independent learning. We aim to give our children a life-long love of reading and use the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme to get children off to a flying start with their literacy.
Read Write Inc Phonics is a method of teaching reading and writing, which is centered around learning the sounds of the letters (phonics) and then blending them together to read words. The children also learn to break down words into individual sounds in order to write them.
How does RWI work at St. Mary’s?
The children in EYFS and KS1 are assessed by the RWI manager (Mrs Mason) and grouped according to their reading ability.
They work in small groups with teachers and teaching assistants every day in EYFS and KS1. Answering questions, taking turns to talk to each other and give positive praise to each other are key elements of every lesson.
At the end of each half term the children will be re-assessed to check they have made progress and will be grouped again for the following half term.
As a result, through the highly structured phonics sessions, children are well prepared for the National Phonics Screening Check which occurs towards the end of Year 1.
Through Read Write Inc lessons children will:
- Learn to read effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into understanding what they read.
- Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts.
- Learn to read words using “Fred Talk.”
- Learn to read words by blending the sounds together.
- Read lively stories featuring words they have learnt to sound out.
- Show that they understand the stories by answering 'Find It' and 'Prove it' discussion questions.
Fred the Frog puppet plays an important role in our Read Write Inc lessons. Fred is only able to speak in sounds, not whole words. We call this Fred Talk.
For example, Fred would say, “m-a – t” whereas we would say, “ mat. “
Fred talk helps children read unfamiliar words by pronouncing each sound in the word one at a time. Children can start blending sounds into words as soon as they know a small group of letters well.
During lessons children are taught to hear sounds and blend them together in sequence to make a word. We start with blending oral sounds, then progress to reading the letters and blending them together to read the word.
The following video is an example of blending sounds with Fred.
Order of teaching sounds
In Read Write Inc phonics the individual sounds are called ‘speed sounds’ – because we want your child to read them speedily and effortlessly.
Set 1 sounds are the initial letter sounds. They are taught in the following order.
m, a, s, d, t, i, n, p, g, o, c, k, u, b, f, e, l, h, sh, r, j, v, y, w, th, z, ch, qu, x, ng, nk
There are 12 Set 2 ‘speed sounds’ that are made up of two or three letters which represent just one sound, e.g. ay as in play, ee as in tree and igh as in high.
When children learn their Set 2 sounds they will learn:
- the letters that represent a speed sound e.g. ay
- a simple picture prompt linked to the ‘speed sound’ and a short phrase to say e.g. may I play
Every speed sound has a list of green words linked to it, so your child can ‘sound out’ and ‘sound blend’ words containing the new speed sound they have just learnt, for example s-p-r-ay = spray.
When learning their Set 3 speed sounds they will be taught that there are more ways in which the same sounds are written, e.g. ee as in tree and ea as in tea.
How will I know how to pronounce the phonic sounds?
What are the Set 2 and 3 sounds, phrases and green words?
Throughout lessons, children are also taught to read and spell ‘Red words’ which contain irregular spelling patterns e.g. ‘said’.
What are the ‘Red words’?
The ability to write well is linked to children’s experience of story and other texts. We use a talk approach, which involves the adults and children storytelling, talking about the story, drama activities and then shared writing. Gradually the children become more proficient as writers, because they have the vocabulary and the skills. In this way we teach the writing process and support the children in planning, composing and revising their work. Children write every day, across the curriculum and for a range of purposes
When using RWI to write the children will:
- Spell effortlessly so that they can put their energy into working out what they want to write.
- Learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds (graphemes).
- Learn to write words by saying the sounds in Fred Talk.
- Learn to write simple and then increasingly complex sentences.
- Compose a range of texts using discussion prompts.
- Compose stories based on picture strips.
At St Mary's we use 'Cursive Writing' from Reception helping our children develop a neat legible and fluent style of handwriting. Short, focused handwriting sessions are taught on a regular basis.
What else can I do to help my child with their reading?
- Read a variety of books (fiction, non-fiction, rhymes etc).
- Discuss the different features of various books.
- Talk about the books and other reading materials that you have shared.
- Explain the meaning of new words.
- Most importantly though, show the fun that can be gained by listening to stories and reading a range of texts e.g. reading and then following a recipe together
- Don't forget you don't have to read just books, cereal packets, shopping lists, road signs, web pages, magazines, newspapers etc are useful ways to practice reading.
Links for Resources
Films for parents of children learning to read with Read Write Inc. Phonics:
Follow Ruth Miskin Training for regular films and information on the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme:
Browse the Oxford Owl library for over 200 free eBooks – filter by programme and age of child: www.oxfordowl.co.uk (You will need to create a log in for this resource.)
Downloadable Resources - Please feel free to access these to support your understanding of phonics.