Our phonics programme ensures that we:
How we teach your children to read and write.
Every child deserves success right from the start. We know that the sooner children learn to read, the greater their success at school. This is why we put reading at the heart of what we do.
We use a teaching programme called Read Write Inc. to teach our children to read and write.
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. We begin the programme in the summer term in Nursery and will continue teaching RWI to children until they can read fluently.
RWI was developed by Ruth Miskin and more information on this can be found at
How do we make phonics easy for children to learn?
Read Write Inc. Phonics depends upon children learning to read and write sounds effortlessly, so we make it simple and fun.
Children learn to read words by sound-blending using a frog called Fred. Fred says the sounds and children help him blend the sounds to read each word. Children learn to do this orally first.
We teach them one way to read and write the 40+ sounds in English. We use pictures to help, for example we make ‘a’ into the shape of an apple, ‘f’ into the shape of a flower. These pictures help all children, especially slower-starters, to read the sounds easily.
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. 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.
Set 2 & 3
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. Set 3 teaches children the different spellings of the same sounds, for example, they learn that the sound ‘ay’ is written ay, a-e and ai; the sound ‘ee’ is written ee, e and ea. We use phrases to help them remember each sound for example, ay, may I play, a-e – make a cake?
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 One Phonics Screening check in the summer term.
How do we ensure children can read every book?
The first thing we do is to give children books we know they can read – without any guessing. (We read lots of other stories to them, but do not expect them to read these yet.)
Before they read the story, they sound out the names of characters and new words, practise reading any of the ‘tricky red’ words, and tell them a thought-provoking introduction to get them excited about the story.
Then, over three days, children read the story three times: first to focus on reading the words carefully; the second to help them read the story fluently; and on the third, we talk about the story together for example, how characters might be feeling and why. By the time your child reads the story to you at home, they will be able to read it confidently with expression. Our aim is for children also takes another book home to read, this books is matched phonetically to the book they have read in school. They will also take a 3rd book home which is a book that they have chosen from a well stocked library. This book is to share with an adult and is picked for reading for pleasure.
How do we teach children to spell confidently?
We use just two simple activities: Fred Fingers to spell regular words and Red Rhythms for tricky words.
We teach children to spell using ‘Fred Fingers’: we say a word and then children pinch the sounds onto their fingers and write the word, sound by sound.
We teach tricky words with Red Rhythms. We say the tricky letters in a puzzled or annoyed voice and build the letter names up into a rhythm, for example, s-ai-d.
Story and poetry time
Storytime is the highlight of every day. We have a bank of stories that children get to know really well, and others we read just for fun. Children learn to retell the story, learn the refrains by heart and act out the stories in the role-play area. Children learn poetry too.
Phase 1 Activities to do at home
Aspect 1: Environmental sounds
Listening walk: Children put their ears and stop at different places discussing what they can hear.
Socks and shakers: Partially fill either opaque plastic bottles or the toes of socks with noisy materials (e.g. rice, peas, pebbles, marbles, shells, coins). Ask the children to shake the bottles or socks and identify what is inside from the sound the items make. From the feel and the sound of the noisy materials encourage the children to talk about them.
Drum outdoors: with small sticks of dowel– can they make different sounds– tapping, stroking, banging, scratching etc
Aspect 2: Instrumental sounds
Matching sound makers: Show children some musical instruments (2 of each) and place one set in a feely bag. Adult selects one instrument from the bag, makes the sound and matches it to the other instrument not in the bag. Repeat.
New words to old songs: Take a song or rhyme the children know well and invent new words to suit the purpose and the children’s interests. Use percussion instruments to accompany the new lyrics.
Aspect 3: Body percussion
Action songs: Singing songs and action rhymes is a vital part of Phase One activities and should be an everyday event. Children need to develop a wide repertoire of songs and rhymes. Be sure to include multi-sensory experiences such as action songs in which the children have to add claps, knee pats and foot stamps or move in a particular way. Add body percussion sounds to nursery rhymes, performing the sounds in time to the beat. Change the body sound with each musical phrase or sentence. Encourage the children to be attentive and to know when to add sounds, when to move, and when to be still.
Roly poly: Ro..ly Po..ly ever so slowly, Ro..ly poly faster, faster, faster Ask the children to think of different sounds and movements- stamp your feet ever so slowly clap your hand ever so fast.
Aspect 4: Rhythm and rhymeRhyming pairs: In a pairs game, use pictures of objects with names that rhyme. The children take it in turns to turn two cards over and keep them if the pictures are a rhyming pair. If they are not a rhyming pair, the cards are turned face down again and the other person has a turn. Start with a small core set of words that can then be extended. The children need to be
familiar with the rhyming word families before they can use the in a game – spend time looking at the pictures and talking about the pairs.
Rhyming soup: Using a bowl and spoon say the rhyming soup song and introduce objects/picture cards that rhyme. Place objects/pictures in the bowl, stir the soup and sing the rhyme.
Aspect 5: Alliteration
I spy names: Sit in a circle and play ‘I spy names’. “I spy someone’s name beginning with ‘s’. Who can it be” The child with the name beginning with ‘s’ stands up and all the children say his name.
Mirror play: Show the children how to hold a mirror sensibly and explain that we are going to look at our mouths when we make sounds. Model saying initial sounds and use Jolly Phonics DVD if necessary.
Aspect 6: Voice sounds
Trumpets: Make amplifiers (trumpet shapes) from simple cones of paper or lightweight card and experiment by making different noises through the cones. Model sounds for the children: the up and down wail of a siren, the honk of a fog horn, a peep, peep, peep of a bird. Contrast loud and soft sounds.
Animal noises: Encourage the children to identify animals in books and to dramatise animal movements and sounds.
Aspect 7: Oral blending and segmenting
Clapping sounds: Think of the words that use the sounds s,a,t,p,i,n and sound them out. Sat Tap Pin Sin Tin Pit Clap each phoneme for the word and then blend them to make the word.
Cross the river: give each child an object– they can cross the river if the hear the sound at the beginning of their word
Good things to buy:
RWI Flashcards (can be found on amazon)
Read Write Inc.: My Reading and Writing Kit: Early sounds and blending
White boards and dry wipe pens