Early Reading


As a school, we teach synthetic phonics as the initial, and most important, approach to the teaching of reading. Our pupils learn to read and write effectively using the Read Write Inc. (RWI) Phonics Programme which is a systematic programme for the teaching of phonics, reading, spelling and writing. We want all pupils to begin their journey to read with confidence, develop a love of reading and apply their skills competently to writing.

We aim to ensure that all pupils:

  • Decode letter-sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly, using their phonic knowledge and skills
  • Read common exception words e.g. the, a, do, to, on sight
  • Understand what they read
  • Read aloud with fluency and expression
  • Write confidently, with a strong focus on vocabulary and grammar
  • Spell quickly and easily by segmenting the sounds in words
  • Learn letter formation and handwriting skills

    The video below taken from the Ruth Miskin Read Write Inc. website explains the overall scheme in more detail.

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 The video below taken from the Ruth Miskin Read Write Inc. website explains the PHONICS in more detail.


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Introducing Read Write Inc Phonics in school

We start teaching the programme in our Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and the children then continue until they have worked their way through the whole reading scheme. Usually this is during Year 1 or 2. 

In EYFS all children will learn how to ‘read’ and ‘write’ all of the Set 1 sounds and some of Set 2 (see below). They are then taught how to blend these into words.  Fred the Frog helps the children to blend the sounds together which are then used to help children read.  The teachers will often use the phrase ‘Fred Talk’ to sound out words.

 We have ongoing assessments throughout each half term and formally assess all children on the scheme every six to eight weeks, to ensure that they are placed in the correct group for their reading ability.  This also allows us to quickly identify any children who needs some support to access the learning at the level of the group.  If this arises, we provide one-to-one tutoring for the child in accordance with the Read, Write Inc scheme to help individuals make rapid progress and once again be at the level of their group.  Groups are taught by either a teacher or a TA who have had Read, Write Inc Phonics training. 


Children begin by learning Set 1 Sounds in a specific order.  They also begin learning to blend sounds together to make words after learning the first five sounds, through practising oral blending.  When children can blend independently they progress on to reading ‘green words’.


Once children can read ‘green words’ they begin to read stories in their Read, Write Inc sessions.  Each storybook is matched to the sounds they can already read, which sets them up for success and helps to build their confidence with reading.  It is through the storybooks we teach children ‘red words’, which are irregular words which are not phonetically plausible and cannot be sounded out (Fred Talked).  Every storybook is taught in the same way, children practice reading the green words in the story and also the red words before they begin to read the book.  Children will then read the book several times to help build their fluency and comprehension skills.

 Years 1 and 2

 Children follow the same format as EYFS but will work on complex sounds (Set 2 and 3 sounds) and read books appropriate to their reading level.  Daily sessions of RWI phonics last for 40 minutes.

 Once your child knows all Set 1 Sounds by sight and sound and uses them to blend to read words, we start teaching Set 2 sounds initially and then Set 3 Long Vowel Sounds.  Your child will need to learn that most vowel sounds have more than one spelling.  There are twelve Set 2 ‘Speed Sounds’ which are made up of two or three letter which represent just one sound.  For example, ay as in playee as in tree and igh as in high.  It is important that your child does not pronounce these as two or three separate sounds.  When you child sees the ‘speed sound’ letters together in a word, they must say just one sound for these letters.

 Set 1 Sounds are taught in the following order, together with rhymes to help children form the letters correctly and instantly recognise sounds ready for blending:

Set 1 Sounds




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 insect’s body, dot for the head.


Down Nobby and over the net.


Down the plait, up and over the pirate’s face.


Round the girl’s face, down her hair and give her a curl


All around the orange


Curl around the caterpillar


Down the kangaroo’s 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

Set 2 and 3 Sounds

Set 2 Sounds - the Long Vowels. When children are very confident with both Set 1 and Set 2 Sounds, they are taught Set 3 Sounds.


Long  Vowel


Set 2 Sounds 

  Set 3 Sounds 


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?



The video below taken from the Ruth Miskin Read Write Inc. website explains how to pronounce the sounds.


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Blending (Fred Talk)

To expose your child to the idea of blending sounds together to make words, break down the words of the simple vocabulary you often use at home.  For example, “please pass me that c – u – p”, “time for b – e - d”.  This will help your child to practise their own oral blending as they can repeat the sounds back to you and then say the word.  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.

The video below taken from the Ruth Miskin Read Write Inc. website explains HOW to blend in more detail.

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When using Read, Write Inc to read the children will:

  • Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple prompts
  • Learn to read words using sound blending (Fred Talk)
  • Read lively stories featuring words they have learnt to sounds out
  • Show that they comprehend the stories by answering ‘Find It’ and ‘Prove It’


When using Read, Write Inc to write the children will:

  • Learn to write the letter/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds
  • Learn to write words by saying the sounds and graphemes (Fred Fingers)


When using Read, Write Inc the children will also work in pairs:

  • To answer questions
  • To take turns talking and listening to each other
  • To give positive praise to each other

 Reading With Your Child

Your child will bring home reading books (RWI Book Bag Books) which are precisely pitched at your child’s reading level, to share with you.  It is important you listen to them read each day.  Help your child to decode words at home, it is really important to pronounce the sounds correctly. (There are links useful videos within this document.)

Your child will also be allocated RWI Ebooks on Oxford Owls and can access these with their username and password at home.

Your child also has unlimited access to school library books which can be borrowed from each classroom’s Library Book Basket.

Vocabulary Building

 Children need a rich vocabulary in order to develop high levels of comprehension.  Help your child to build a wider vocabulary by using alternative words for things at home.  Rather than saying you are pleased that they have tidied their toys away, you could use delightedoverjoyed, or thrilled.  Again you can use massivehugeenormous if you are describing something big

 Finally Do Not Worry!

 If your child is struggling at first with their sounds and words, do not worry. They will get there in their own time.  If you have time (and we all know time is precious!), try and read stories to your child before they go to bed.  This will not only 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.

 Please find at table below which highlights some of the keys phrases school uses when teaching RWI.




Fred is a frog puppet we use in sessions. He can only speak in sounds. 

Fred Talk 

Sounding out a word, saying each of the sounds before blending

Fred Fingers

‘Pinching’ each sound from a word on your fingers to help spell a word

Green Words

Decodable words

Red Words

Irregular words which cannot be sounded out

Story Green Words

Decodable words which will be included in the storybook 

Speedy Green Words

Decodable words in the storybook which children should be able to read at speed rather than Fred Talking first. 

Fred in your Head

Still sounding out a word but doing so in your head rather than out loud, to help build fluency. 

Special Friends

Two or three letters working together to make one sound e.g. sh, ch, igh, air, a-e, i-e. 

Useful Resources

Oxford Owl -

 Ruth Miskin website -

 Ruth Miskin website-