Phonics – Read, Write, Inc
Learning to read: Reception, Year 1 and Year 2
At Coleridge Primary School, we use a synthetic phonics programme called Read, Write, Inc. Read, Write, Inc. is a method of learning centred around letter sounds and phonics, blending them together to read and write words and using these learnt sounds in their reading and writing. Using Read, Write, Inc. the children learn to read effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into comprehending what they read. It also allows them to spell effortlessly so that they can focus on composing what they write.
The children are assessed and grouped according to their ability and they work with a teacher or teaching assistant in a small group. The children are continuously assessed by the Reading Leader, to ensure that they move through the programme at a good pace. At the end of each half term all children are assessed and then put into new groups according to their phonic knowledge and fluency when reading.
Children learn a simple alphabetic code followed later by a more complex code. All reading books progress cumulatively, matched to the sounds children know.
– We help children to enjoy stories and poems from the minute they come into school. We know and love the books we read aloud, so children will want to hear the same story again and again.
– We use similar emphases and intonation on each reading, so children can join in the retelling.
– Our picture books are for all children, whether they can read or not. For those who are still learning to read, we help them retell the story. For children who are able to read, we encourage them to enjoy reading and to retell the story events.
– We organise Read Write Inc. books and resources in a central area.
– All books read in RWI lessons progress according to the children’s phonic knowledge and skills.
– There are boxes of RWI book bag books for the children to take home.
– All home reading books are decodable, linked with each stage of the children’s phonic knowledge.
– Each RWI story book includes key comprehension questions.
– As a staff, we share stories to children with love, confidence and enjoyment, every day.
– We organise parent workshops to support parents and ensure that they understand how important story time is at home.
We aim for Read Write Inc. phonics to be redundant for the majority of our children, by the end of the Autumn Term in Year 2. However identified Year 2 and KS2 children who still require further support with phonics, also access RWI.
– know the importance of reading stories to their children every day
– know how to engage children in stories when reading aloud.
– know the importance of reading stories to their children at home
– know how to read stories to their children
– read with their children most evenings.
– are able to read books in line with their phonic knowledge and with increasing fluency.
– enjoy listening to stories and poems
– can join in with many stories and poems
– learn new vocabulary
Read, Write, Inc. Lessons
We begin by teaching the children set 1 sounds. Children can start blending sounds into words as soon as they know a small group of letters well. Once the children have been taught the first 5 sounds (m, a, s, d, t), they are then taught assisted blending using the sounds that they know. During lessons children are taught to hear sounds and blend them together in sequence to make a word. We start with blending oral sounds, then progress to reading the letters and blending them together to read the word.
Order of teaching sounds
In Read Write Inc phonics the individual sounds are called ‘speed sounds’ – because we want your child to read them effortlessly. Set 1 sounds are the single letter sounds and set 1 special friend sounds. They are taught in the following order;
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.
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. These are ‘special friend’ sounds.
When children are taught Set 2 sounds they will learn:
- a simple picture prompt linked to the sound
- a short phrase to say e.g. may I play
- the letters that represent a sound (special friends) e.g. ay
Each sound has a list of green words linked to it, so that the children have the opportunity to sound out and blend words containing the new sound they have been taught, for example, s-p-r-ay = spray.
When learning Set 3 speed sounds the children will be taught alternative sounds/graphemes, e.g. ee as in tree and ea as in tea.
The tables below show each sound, the associated phrase and example green words for set 1 special friend sounds, set 2 and 3 sounds and additional sounds that are taught.
Set 1 ‘Special Friend’ Sounds
|ch||Chip, chop, champ,|
|qu||Queen, quack, quest|
|ng||Thing on a string||Thing, string, ring, king|
|nk||I think I stink||Stink, think, link, sink|
Set 2 Sounds
|ay||May I play?||Day, say, play, tray, today|
|ee||What can you see?||See, feel, need, sleep, three|
|igh||Fly high||Night, fight, flight, high|
|ow||Blow the snow||Show, blow, flow, snow|
|oo||Poo at the zoo||Zoom, moon, food, cool|
|oo||Look at a book||Look, book, good, hood|
|ar||Start the car||Star, bar, car, start, cart|
|or||Shut the door||Sort, short, worn, horse|
|air||That’s not fair||Fair, hair, chair, stair|
|ir||Whirl and twirl||Whirl, twirl, shirt, skirt|
|ou||Shout it out||Mouth, found, shout, loud|
|oy||Toy for a boy||Toy, boy, employ, joy|
Set 3 Sounds
|a_e||Make a cake||Make, cake, flake, bake|
|ea||Cup of tea||Neat, real, clean, please|
|i_e||Nice smile||Hide, shine, white, nice|
|o_e||Phone home||Phone, bone, home, spoke|
|u_e||Huge brute||Tune, rude, June, perfume|
|aw||Yawn at dawn||Saw, law, raw, straw|
|are||Share and care||Bare, spare, scare, flare|
|ur||Nurse with a purse||Burn, turn, hurl, burp, lurk|
|ow||Brown cow||Howl, down, brown, frown|
|oi||Spoil the boy||Join, coin, voice, choice|
|ai||Snail in the rain||Paint, train, rain, pain|
|e||e: he, she, me, be, we||He, she, we, be, me|
|oa||Goat in a boat||Coat, throat, boat, float|
|ew||Chew the stew||Flew, blew, crew, new|
|er||A better letter||Over, weather, never|
|ire||Fire, fire!||Spire, conspire, hire, fire|
|ear||Hear with your ear||Fear, dear, gear, spear|
|ure||Sure it’s pure||Picture, mixture, adventure|
|ue||Come to the rescue!||Rescue, blue, glue, clue|
|ie||Terrible tie!||Ties, tried, pie, lie|
|au||Paul the astronaut||Paul, August, author, pause|
|e_e||Go Steve and Pete!||Even, Steve, Pete, theme|
|kn||Knock knock, who’s there?||Knight, knee, knock, knit, knot|
|ck||Tick tock clock||Clock, pick, black, snack|
Nonsense words (Alien words)
As children build up their knowledge of sounds they are able to apply their decoding skills to any unfamiliar word, whether it be real or nonsense. During lessons each day children will practice their decoding skills by sounding out nonsense words. Children are unable to rely on existing knowledge of real words, and instead have to use their letter-sound knowledge. This is an important part of the Phonics Screening Check that the children complete at the end of year 1.
Learning to blend and Ditty Books
As soon as children have been taught a few initial letter sounds they begin to learn to blend the sounds together to read real words in a Word Time session. Each word time session involves oral blending of known sounds before they are shown the words written down on green cards. Children practice Fred talking the words until they become able to read them on sight. Ditty lessons follow on from this where children who are becoming excellent at reading single words are introduced to reading short sentences. Once children are confident reading the short sentences they are challenged to use their developing phonic knowledge to write a sentence.
After ditty books, the next stage is storybooks. These books are closely matched to their developing phonic knowledge. The storybooks consist of green words linked to the sounds that they have been learning, red words and challenge words to extend the children’s vocabulary. After children have practiced these words individually they are prepared to see them in context in the story.
Comprehension activities, partner discussion and writing activities based on
the book, follow on from reading.
Reading into writing
Each story book follows a three or five day plan.
Writing activities include;
- ‘Hold a sentence’ which encourages the children to remember a whole sentence while focusing on spelling and punctuation
- ‘Build a sentence’ which gives the children the opportunity to create their own sentence to that shows the meaning of a word
- ‘Edit a sentence’ which allows the children to critique a sentence using their knowledge of spelling, punctuation and grammar.
Children then complete a longer piece of independent writing, which gives them the opportunity to show off their creativity and to practice their spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Read, Write, Inc. Parent Information
At Coleridge Primary School, we use a synthetic phonics programme called Read, Write, Inc. produced by Ruth Miskin. Read, Write, Inc. is a method of learning centred around letter sounds and phonics, blending sounds together to read and spell words and applying these skills across the curriculum. Using Read, Write, Inc. the children learn to read fluently so that they can put all their energy into comprehending what they read. It also allows them to spell effortlessly so that they can focus on composing what they write.
The children are assessed and grouped according to their ability and they work with a teacher or teaching assistant on the Read Write Inc programme. The children are continuously assessed by the Read, Write, Inc. Leader, to ensure that they move through the programme at a good pace. Every 6-8 weeks, all children are assessed and are regrouped according to their phonic knowledge and fluency when reading.
Read, Write, Inc. lessons include reading and writing activities, allowing the children to apply their phonic skills to both.
The children will:
- Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts.
- Learn to read words using sound blending (Fred talk).
- Read lively stories featuring words they have learnt to sound out.
- Show that they comprehend the stories by answering ‘Find It’ and ‘Prove It’ discussion questions.
The children will:
- Learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds.
- Learn to write words by saying the sounds and graphemes (Fred fingers).
- Learn to say and write simple then more complex sentences.
- Compose stories based on picture strips.
- Compose a range of texts using discussion prompts.
Speaking and Listening- Partner work
Children are assessed so they work with children at the same level, in small groups. This ensures that all children are given the opportunity to participate in lessons.
The children work in pairs to:
- Answer every question.
- Practise reading with a partner.
- Take turns in talking to each other.
- Give positive praise.
Phonics Screening Check
In Key Stage 1, the children are assessed at the end of Year 1 using a Government Statutory Assessment Tool known as the Phonics Screening Check. This screening check confirms whether the child has learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard and will identify sounds needing further consolidation in Year 2. The children are assessed one to one by the reading leader, who is a familiar adult to the children.
Phonics Screening Check 2023: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/phonics-screening-check-2023-materials
Throughout the school year, we hold meetings and workshops to support parents/carers with phonics and reading at home. These sessions will be both informative and practical, with some creative sessions including the children, making resources that can be used at home.
We had some great feedback from our most recent phonics and reading workshop for the parents/carers of our Year 1 and 2 children. Thank you to all parents/carers that attended, we hope you found it really useful in supporting your children at home. The feedback was really positive;
‘I found the session extremely useful. Thank you very much.’
‘Thank you for the flashcards, everything was really helpful.’
‘It helped me to know how to help my child read at home.’
Useful links for parents – RWI
- Information for parents – https://www.ruthmiskin.com/en/find-out-more/parents
- Oxford Owl- FREE EBOOKS! – https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/reading-owl/library-page
- Sentence work – www.sentenceplay.co.uk
- Phonics activities www.phonicsplay.co.uk
Phonics Screening Check
In Key Stage 1, the children are assessed at the end of Year 1 using a Government Statutory Assessment Tool known as the Phonics Screening Check. This screening check confirms whether the child has learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard and will identify sounds needing further consolidation in Year 2. The children are assessed one to one by the reading leader, who is a familiar adult to the children. The children are asked to read a mixture of real and alien nonsense words
How will the children know which words are ‘alien’ (nonsense) words?
The ‘alien’ words are always presented with a picture of an alien, so that the children know that they are not real words that they might recognise. They are very familiar with this concept and practise it every day during our Read, Write, Inc. phonics sessions. See picture below for an example of how the check is presented.
How will the phonics screening be administered?
Each child is taken through the screening check by a familiar teacher on a one to one basis. This will be in a quiet area and there is not a time limit.
Will we be told about our child’s results?
The results of the check will be issued before the end of the school year.
What is the pass mark?
The standard threshold pass mark for previous phonics screening checks has been 32/40. The threshold is always released shortly after the phonics screening check has taken place.
What happens if my child doesn’t pass the phonics screening check?
Any child that does not reach the standard threshold will sit the 2020 screening check when they are in year 2, with the following year’s cohort of year 1s.
When will the phonics screening take place?
The government requires that the check must be taken during a specific week in June. This academic year it will take place the week beginning Monday 8th June 2020. A pupil may only take the check the following week if they were absent during check week. If a pupil doesn’t take the check during this period and returns to school after the two week window, they must be recorded as absent.
How can we support our child out of school?
Please read our parent information for ideas of how to support your child at home. We also have a fantastic selection of Read, Write, Inc book bag books for reading with your children at home. It is important to read as much as possible to and with your child.
Which sounds will the phonics screening check focus on?
The check includes graphemes from all sets of sounds taught to the children since they started school. These are Read, Write, Inc set 1, 2 and 3 sounds.
Phonics Screening Check 2019 Link- https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/phonics-screening-check-2019-materials
At school we model and promote the use of pure sounds and it is important that you use these sounds at home when supporting your child with their phonics or reading. Watch the video to support you with what pure sounds are.