In Reception and Key Stage 1, we teach phonics and early reading in discrete lessons every day and follow the Read Write Inc (RWI) phonics programme. In these lessons, children are taught how to break down words into their separate sound components known as phonemes; this is called synthetic phonics.  RWI lessons are fun and lively - ensuring all children get off to a flying start with their reading!
Reading
When using RWI to read the children will:
  • learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts
  • learn to read words using Fred Talk
  • read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out
  • show that they comprehend the stories by answering questions.
Writing
When using RWI to write the children will:
  • learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent 44 sounds.
  • learn to write words by saying the sounds in Fred Talk
  • write simple sentences
Talking and Listening
When using RWI to write the children will work in pairs so that they:
  • answer every question
  • practise every activity with their partner
  • take turns in talking and listening to each other
At the start of the programme children are taught initial sounds. Once they are familiar with a few sounds, they are then taught how to blend the letters in words in order to decode (read) and segment the letters in words in order to encode (write). Children usually begin to do this in Reception, and are grouped according to their rate of progress.

In Years 1 and 2, the children continue to follow the RWI programme, and will again work in groups determined by rate of progress. During their phonics sessions, as well as revising and learning new phonic sounds, children will apply and develop their phonics and reading skills by reading a range of phonic books. The children are encouraged to develop the ability to read at speed, with fluency and expression, and to read ‘like a story-teller’ and discuss many aspects of the book in order to answer comprehension questions verbally.

How can I help at home?
  • Help your child to learn the speed sounds.
  • Help your child to learn to read words by sound blending (we call this Fred Talk in school)
  • Help your child find sounds in words when reading.
  • Talk about the story and ask your child questions about what they have read.
Parent Tutorial

m – mmmmmmountain (keep lips pressed together hard) 
s – sssssnake  (keep teeth together and hiss – unvoiced)
n – nnnnnnet (keep tongue behind teeth)
f – ffffflower (keep teeth on bottom lip and force air out sharply – unvoiced)
l – llllleg (keep pointed curled tongue behind teeth).
r – rrrrrrobot (say rrr as if you are growling)
v – vvvvvvulture (keep teeth on bottom lip and force air out gently)
z – zzzzzzig zzzzzag (keep teeth together and make a buzzing sound)
th – thhhhank you ( stick out tongue and breathe out sharply) 
sh – shhhh (make a shhh noise as though you are telling somebody to be quiet!)
ng – thinnnnngg on a strinnnngg (curl your tongue at the back of your throat) 
nk – I think I stink (make a piggy oink noise without the oi! nk nk nk)
These next sounds cannot be stretched. Make the sound as short as possible avoiding uh at the end of the sound:
t – (tick tongue behind the teeth – unvoiced)
p - (make distinctive p with lips – unvoiced)
k – (make sharp click at back of throat)
c -  as above
h – (say h as you breathe sharply out – unvoiced)
ch- (make a short sneezing sound)
x – (say a sharp c and add s – unvoiced)
You will find it harder to avoid saying uh at the end of these sounds.
d – (tap tongue behind the teeth).
g – (make soft sound in throat).
b –(make a short, strong b with lips).
j – (push lips forward).
y – (keep edges of tongue against teeth).
w – (keep lips tightly pursed).
qu – (keep lips pursed as you say cw – unvoiced).

The short vowels should be kept short and sharp:

a:  a-a-a (open mouth wide as if to take a bite of an apple).
e:  e-e-e (release mouth slightly from a position).
i:  i-i-i (make a sharp sound at the back of the throat – smile).
o: o–o-o (push out lips, make the mouth into o shape).
u: u-u-u  (make a sound in the throat).

The Long vowel sounds are all stretchy sounds:

ay: ay may I play
ee: ee what do you see?
igh: fly high
ow: blow the snow
oo: poo at the zoo
oo: look at a 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

FAQ

What are speed sounds?
In Read Write Inc phonics the individual sounds are called ‘speed sounds’ – because we want your son/daughter to read them effortlessly.

What are ‘speed sounds’ Set 1, Set 2 and Set 3?

Set 1
In Reception your son/daughter learnt the sounds below by sight. They also learnt how to blend them together to read words e.g. c-a-t  = cat.
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

Set 2
(The long vowel sounds.) In Year 1 your child will progress to learning their Set 2 sounds in the Autumn Term and Set 3 sounds (reading only) in the Spring Term.

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. It is important that your child does not pronounce these as 2 or 3 separate sounds. 
When your son/daughter learns their Set 2 sounds in school 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.

Below is a list of Speed Sound Set 2:

ay: may I play
ee: what can you see
igh: fly high
ow: blow the snow
oo: poo at the zoo
oo: look at a 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


Set 3
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.

Set 3 speed sounds reading will be taught for most of Year 1 and Set 3 ‘speed sounds’ spelling during Year 2. It takes some time for this information to be fully understood by your child

There are 20 Set 3 ‘speed sounds’ that are made up of two or three letters which represent just one sound, e.g. ea as in tea, ow as in cow and are as in care. As before, it is important that your son/daughter does not pronounce these as 2 or 3 separate sounds. When your child sees the ‘speed sound’ letters together in a word, s/he must say just one sound for these letters.

When your son/daughter learns their Set 3 sounds in school they will learn:

  • the letters that represent a speed sounds e.g. ea
  • a simple picture prompt linked to the ‘speed sound’ and a short phrase to say e.g. cup of tea

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-oil = spoil.

Below is a list of Speed Sound Set 3:

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

It is important that the speed sounds are practised in the correct order. The list above shows you, at a glance, the order of the sounds. 

What are green words? at
..
mad
. . .
sad
. . .
dad
. . .
sat
. . .
mat
. . .


‘Green words’ are words which your child will be able to ‘go ahead’ and read as they are made up of the speed sounds that your child will have learnt.
The dots under each letter represent each sound. Children need to say each individual sound first, then blend them to say the word. 

Red Words I

you
. __

said
. __ .
the
__ .
your
. __
was
. . . .


Red words can be thought of as the tricky words because you can’t ‘sound them out’ to read them. These words are common words that appear often in reading and need to be learnt by sight. We practise these words as part of our daily phonic session.

Learning to read the red words is a very important part of reading and one which you can help with at home.

Green Words and Red Words
We will send home green words to practise sounding out and reading and red words to learn at home too.

Phonics Screening Check
All children in Year 1 in the school will take a phonics screening check in June of each year. Children in Year 2 will also take the check if they did not meet the required standard in Year 1.

The check is designed to give teachers and parents, information on how your child is progressing in phonics.

What is the phonic screening check?
There will be two sections in this 40-word check and it will assess phonics skills and knowledge learnt through Reception and Year 1.

What will it check?
It will check that your child can:

  • Sound out and blend sounds in order to read simple words.
  • Read phonically decodable one-syllable and two-syllable words, e.g. cat, sand, windmill.
  • Read a selection of nonsense words which are referred to as pseudo words.

What are nonsense or pseudo words and why are they included?
These are words that are phonically decodable but are not actual words with an associated meaning e.g. brip, snorb. Pseudo words are included in the check specifically to assess whether your child can decode a word using phonics skills and not their memory.

Is there a pass mark?
The check is not about passing or failing but checking appropriate progress is being made. Children progress at different speeds so not reaching the threshold score does not necessarily mean there is a serious problem.

What happens to the results?
The school will report your child’s results to you by the end of the summer term as well as to the local authority. If you have any concerns, do talk to your teacher about this in a parents’ meeting or after school.

Click on the links below to find out more.