School Logo

Read Write Inc

Phonics at Prince Rock


“The best primary schools in England teach virtually every child to read, regardless of the social and economic circumstances of their neighbourhoods, the ethnicity of their pupils, the language spoken at home and most special educational needs or disabilities. A sample of 12 of these schools finds that their success is based on a determination that every child will learn to read, together with a very rigorous and sequential approach to developing speaking and listening and teaching reading, writing and spelling through systematic phonics. This approach is applied with a high degree of consistency and sustained.”

Ofsted: Reading by Six. 2012

Intent of Phonics

At Prince Rock, we follow a systematic phonics programme which is Read Write Inc. We complete the RWI programme with all children. Once the children have completed Read Write Inc., their phonics journey continues throughout the school as phonics is embedded within all whole class reading and writing lessons. At Prince Rock, we know that reading is at the heart of the curriculum and we want all of our children to have the skills and confidence to access a wide range of texts. 


In phonics, we focus on:


  • To teach children aural discrimination, phonemic awareness and rhyme awareness to support in the application of reading and writing.
  • To encourage repetition and consolidation, so that decoding and the skills of segmenting and blending are automatic and aid reading fluidity. 
  • To learn to read and write all 44 graphemes in the English language.
  • To learn to read all 75 phonemes within the RWI programme. 
  • To learn specific strategies to help them remember common exception words.
  • To apply their phonic knowledge across all curriculum areas.
  • Each group prepares their resources carefully to ensure consolidation opportunities and progression through the acquisition of new knowledge.


    Implementation of Phonics

    Children who are completing RWI are grouped according to their RWI knowledge (based on baseline and six subsequent assessment points throughout the year). Responsive movement takes place when group leaders identify if a child needs to move. Analysis of the data by the English lead ensures groups are reviewed regularly and intervention is provided. Groups are led by trained members of staff who also receive weekly practice sessions, coaching and monitoring. The Read Write Inc. programme have detailed lesson plans and each group has specific plans which cater for their developing needs. Children working below the expected level have Fast Track Tutoring, which is completed 1:1, 1:2 or in small groups, to ensure all children 'keep up' and do not have to 'catch up'.  



    The school follows a systematic phonics programme which is Read Write Inc. All phonics planning and teaching has been adapted to meet the requirements of Statutory Framework of EYFS (2021) and the National Curriculum in order to provide a robust, consistent and high-quality level of provision. 


    What is Read Write Inc?
    When teaching your child to read, we never use letter names at this early stage.  Many schools use different phonics schemes to teach children to read; however, at Prince Rock, we believe Read Write Inc Phonics is the best scheme to support your child with their early reading. 



    Discrete phonics lessons take place daily across EYFS, Year 1 and Year 2. RWI continues for children in KS2 if they require it.



    Children are taught in small groups of children. They are grouped according to their phonic knowledge which is assessed using RWI assessments every six weeks. Formative assessment is on-going to take into account the rate at which children progress - this allows us to be responsive to their progress. 



    All groups have a range of resources to use which are appropriate for the level at which the children are working. All classes have a simple or complex speed sound chart to support the use of phonics throughout the school.


    Speed Sounds
    When teaching your child phonics, we will use the term 'speed sounds',  these are individual or groups of sounds which your child will learn how to read quickly and effortlessly as they progress through Reception, Year 1, Year 2 and beyond. Your child will be regularly assessed to ensure they are reaching their full potential and will receive additional support if required. 


    Your child will learn a new sound every day accompanied by a handwriting rhyme which helps them to remember how to form the letter shape when writing it. A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in speech, this may be one letter, or a group of two or three letters which make one sound. For example, if your child was learning the phoneme (sound) ‘a’, they would also learn the rhyme ’round the apple and down the leaf’ when they start to write their letter.  In set 1, your child will learn 44 phonemes.

    Parent Video: How to say the sounds


    As your child learns each sound (phoneme), they are taught how to blend the sounds together to make two and three letters words (CVC words - consonant, vowel, consonant - such as the word 'dog').  Your child will learn how to read real and nonsense words.


    Green Words
    Alongside this, your child will start to read 'green' words.  'Green' words are words which can be sounded out and blended like ‘dog’, ‘cat’.  


    Red Words
    Having gained confidence sounding out green words, your child will be taught about ‘red' words.  


    Red Ditties
    As your child gains confidence reading individual words, they will move onto reading sentences, then onto 'ditties'. The Red Ditty books provide a bridge between your child reading simple words/sentences and reading short stories.  Watch the video below on how to support your child with their reading book.


    Parent Video: Red Ditty Books



    Digraphs and Trigraphs
    When the children have learnt the single sounds they begin to move on to two and three letter sounds these are called digraphs (2 letters making 1 sound like ‘ea’  in the word tea) and trigraphs (3 letters making 1 sound like ‘igh’ in the word light). Set 1 sounds include the digraphs 'ch', 'sh', 'th', 'ng, 'nk, and 'qu'. They know these as 'special friends'.


    Parent Video: Reading the digraphs with your child



    Parent Video: Reading the Set 3 sounds and words with your child



    Fred Talk
    At school we use a puppet called Fred who can only speak in sounds, not whole words. We call this Fred Talk. For example, Fred would say d-o-g, we would say dog. Your child is taught to hear sounds and blend them together in sequence to make a word.


    Fred Fingers
    Fred Fingers are used for spelling. Your child is taught to sound out the word they are spelling and put up the correct number of fingers for the sounds they can hear in that word. For example: m-ee-t = 3 sounds = 3 fingers. When your child starts to write words, they will be taught to use their 'Fred Fingers':


    Sound Buttons and Dashes
    Sound buttons are circles or spots that can be written underneath a sound to support reading.  Your child will be taught to say the sound aloud as they touch the sound button. If reading a diagraph (two letters making one sound) or trigraph (three letters making one sound), your child will know that this sound is represented by a dash underneath the letters which make the sound. See above in the word play, 'ay' is a diagraph, so has the dash underneath.


    Fred in your head
    Your child's teacher will hold up a green word (close to their chest), giving your child time to mime the sounds, and will then push the word forward as a signal  for your child to say the whole word (as opposed to blending individual sounds).  This will be repeated over a period of time, until your child can say the word straight away. Your child will start off initially mouthing the sounds silently and then saying the whole word to saying the whole word straight away.


    Phonics Screening Check
    In Year 1, your child will have a Government Led, phonics screening check and this is normally held in June.  The purpose of the check is to confirm whether individual children have learnt decoding and blending skills to meet an age-appropriate standard.  The phonics screening contains 40 words and your child will work one-to-one with the teacher, reading words out aloud. There will be a combination of real words and nonsense words. 
    By the end of Year 1, it is expected that children are able to recognise the grapheme-phoneme correspondences, segment and blend them confidently in words. 


    Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check will complete the assessment again in Year 2.


    Parent Video: The Phonics Screening Check



    Listening to your child read is important. However, your child hearing you read or tell a story is just as important. This will support them to develop new vocabulary, learn how to use expression in their voice. Encourage your child to decode the sounds e.g. segmenting or drawing on sound buttons. When you are out and about read signs around you. Practise speed reading the sounds your child has been learning in school.  


    My child won’t read, no matter what I do. How can I help? 

    • Read to your child as much as possible
    • Talk to your child’s class teacher - working together will help
    • Encourage them to use their phonics strategies. 
    • Complete reading little and often. 


    Impact of Phonics 

    Children across the school have positive attitudes towards their learning in phonics and make excellent progress; they enjoy phonics lessons and become confident, successful learners who achieve regardless of their starting points. The teachers and teaching assistants will assess the pupils’ achievements against the the expectations shared from the RWI programme. Throughout the sessions, teachers and teaching assistants will review learning to ensure subsequent lessons are responsive. 


    The children will practice complete 6 half termly RWI assessments and at the end of Y1, and Y2 if they did not meet the threshold, will complete the statutory Phonics Screening Check. 


    Useful websites:

    Oxford Owl Press

    Read Write Inc

    Read Write Inc Videos: Parents - Ruth Miskin Literacy



    Useful terminology:

    blend –  to draw individual sounds together to pronounce a word, e.g. s-n-a-p, blended together, reads snap.

    digraph – A digraph is a single sound, or phoneme, which is represented by two letters like ‘ow’ as in  ‘s-n-ow’ reading ‘snow’.

    grapheme – A grapheme is a letter or a number of letters which represent a sound (phoneme) in a word.

    grapheme-phoneme correspondence (GPC) – the relationship between sounds and the letters which represent those sounds; also known as ‘letter-sound correspondences’.  This means that your child will be able to recognise and/or identify the written form of a letter when listening to the sound.

    phoneme – A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in speech, this may be one letter, or a group of two or three letters which make one sound. 

    segment – to split up a word into its individual phonemes (sounds) in order to spell it, e.g. the word ‘cat’ has three phonemes: c – a – t, 

    sound buttons – the number of phonemes (sounds) in a word, your child will be encouraged to draw a dot under a single letter to denote the number of sounds, if it is a digraph they will underline both sounds instead of drawing a dot. For example ai in snail.

     split digraph – two letters (consonants), split by another letter (vowel), but which make one sound, e.g. a-e as in make or i-e in site. 

    trigraph –  A trigraph is a phoneme which consists of three letters like ‘air’ a

    Phonics Screening Presentation 2024