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Phonics - Read Write Inc 

Read, Write, Inc is the phonics scheme we use to teach reading and spelling in Early Years and Key Stage One. We have chosen Read, Write, Inc because we want our children to learn to read as quickly as possible, and then read widely and become lifelong readers. 

​​​​​​Our phonics programme ensures that we:


  • Foster a love of reading and sharing stories, poems and rhymes to develop vocabulary and comprehension.
  • Pupils have a secure, systematic, synthetic phonics programme taught from the summer term ins nursery/beginning of reception.
  • Creates opportunities for children to read and reread books that match the phonics stage taught.
  • Use effective use of assessment to quickly pick up children falling behind and giving targeted support. 


RWI overview


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 

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. 


Fred Fingers
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.

Red Rhythms
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.


RWI Glossary:




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 that cannot be sounded out

Story Green words

decodable words that will be included in the storybook 

Speedy green words

decodable words in the storybook that 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, helps build fluency. 

Special friends

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

Reading in EYFS and KS1 at Millbrook

Activities to do at home 


Fred Games


Speaking like Fred helps children to understand that words are made up of sounds. Use Fred Talk throughout the day to help children practise blending sounds together.


Fred says…


  1. Say: Fred says put your hands on your h-e-d. Ask children to repeat. Pause to allow children to jump in with the whole word and do the action.
  2. Say: h-e-d, hed. Ask children to repeat.


Repeat with: b-a-k, t-u-m, l-e-g, h-a-n-d, f-u-t, n-ee, r-u-n, s-k-i-p, h-o-p, s-t-o-p



Fred I spy


  1. Say: Fred says ‘I spy something r-e-d’ Ask children to repeat. Pause to allow children to ‘jump-in’ with the whole word and point to something red.
  2. Say: r-e-d, red. Ask children to repeat.


Repeat with: b-l-oo, g-r-ee-n, b-l-a-k, b-r-ow-n



Fred’s fridge


Milk m-i-l-k, juice -j-oo-s; cream c-r-ee-m; eggs e-g-s; corn c-or-n; grape g-r-ay-p; pear p-air; peas p-ee-z; leek l-ee-k



Fred’s wardrobe


Scarf s-c-ar-f; hat h-a-t; coat c-ow-t; socks s-o-c-s; shorts sh-or-t-s; dress d-r-e-ss; skirt s-k-ir-t


Use Fred Talk for single syllabic words at the end of sentences throughout the day.

E.g. It is time for l-u-n-ch...lunch, come and sit on the f-l-oor...floor.



Useful websites





Read Write Inc. Phonics - Ruth Miskin Phonics Training


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