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Understanding Phonics


Welcome to our Phonics information section for parents.


We use the highly successful Read Write Inc. phonics programme to teach our children to read, write and spell. Read Write Inc. Phonics, Spelling and Reading are highly successful literacy programmes created by Ruth Miskin and published by Oxford University Press. We suggest you start by watching this short film for parents.

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.  The programme is designed for children aged 4-7 years.  However at Lovers' Lane we begin the programme in Nursery and will continue teaching RWI to children beyond that age if they still need support in reading.  We use RWI to give your child the best possible start with their literacy.  We have put togeher a guide to how the RWI programme works together with some useful links.  Miss Harding is our Read Write Inc Lead teacher, so if you have any questions about RWI, contact school who can refer you to her.  Please take the time to read the information as it will provide invaluable information as to how you can help and support your child in reading and phonics.


How will RWI be taught?

RWI is taught daily in classes or in smaller groups by aTeacher or Teaching Assistant.  All children are assessed regularly to ensure progress is being made and sounds are revisited that are not yet understood.


Nursery (F1)

Children are introduced to the initial sounds in short phonics sessions, the children also learn a song that corresponds with the sound they are learning.


Reception (F2)

In F2 all children will learn how to read the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down.



The children will:

  • learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts
  • learn to read words using Fred talk and sound blending
  • read from a range of storybooks and non-fiction books matched to their phonic knowledge
  • work well with partners



The children will:

  • learn to write and form the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds with the help of fun phrases
  • learn to write words by using Fred Talk
  • learn to build sentences by practising sentences out loud before they write



The children will:

  • they work in pairs so that they:
  • answer every question
  • practise every activity with their partner
  • take turns in talking and reading to each other
  • develop ambitious vocabulary



Year 1 & Year 2

Children follow the same format as Reception but will work on complex sounds and read books appropriate to their reading level.  RWI is taught daily in class.  


Children will be taught to read as follows:

Before you start to teach your child, practise saying the sounds below.  These are the sounds we use to speak in English.


Fred Talk


We use pure sounds ('m' not 'muh', 's' not 'suh' etc.) so that your child will be able to blend the sounds into words more easily.

At school we use a puppet called Fred who is an expert on sounds out words.  We call it 'Fred Talk'.  For example m-o-p, c-a-t, m-a-n, sh-o-p and b-l-a-ck.


The following video is an example of blending sounds with Fred.




Step 1

Below are the sounds and their corresponding rhymes.  The rhyme is taught (from Nursery upwards).  Children will also use pictures for each sound to help recognise the sound and then form the shape of the sound.  Please do not use letter names at this early stage. 

Set 1 sounds and rhymes



Step 2

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.

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. 


Step 3:

Children will be introduced to 'Ditty Books' when they successfully begin to read single words.  The short vowels should be kept short and sharp:

Children use sound-blending (Fred Talk) to read short ditties.  They will bring these home once they have read and discussed the book in class.  Children will then be challenged to use their developing phonic knowledge to write short sentences.

Within all the books children will have red and green words to learn to help them to become speedy readers.  Red words are words that are not easily decodable and challenge words to extend children's vocabulary.  Green words are linked to the sounds they have been learning and are easilly decodable.




Dots and dashes represent the sound each letter makes.

Once your child has been introduced and taught these words in school we will send them home for you to continue practising with your child.  


Order of Story books:

Children will hopefully follow the order listed below.  The expectation is that all children will leave Year One as confident speedy readers, read to take on the challenges of Year Two.  However, some children may need extra support and your teacher will talk to you about this.


Books Year Group Expectations Green Words in Books
Red Ditty 1-10 Reception Click here for Green words
Green 1-10 Reception  
Purple 1-10 Reception  
Pink 1-10 Reception/Year One  
Orange 1-10 Year One  
Yellow 1-10 Year One  
Blue 1-10 Year One  
Grey 1-13 Year One  


To help at home:

Your child will start to bring books home when they are confident readers.  Please help them to read and give lots of praise!

Please read at least 4 times a week at home with your child and write it in their reading diary.

If you have any questions please ask your class teacher or ask Miss Harding or Mrs Graham.


Useful websites for parents

Please find a list of websites that you may find useful in helping you and your child learn about phonics.  Games and fun activity websites are also included. - Log ins are your children's Home Fun books and Home Learning books (Foundation only) - Phonics games to play - fun games for the children to play - fun games for the children to play - useful information - fun games for the children to play and information for parents - fun games for the children to play - lots of resources to print off and help you support your child at home