At Jennett’s Park, we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. We believe that phonics provides the foundations of learning to make the development into fluent reading and writing easier. Through daily, systematic and consistent high quality phonics teaching, children learn to segment words to support their spelling ability and blend sounds to read words. To allow our children to develop a strong phonic awareness and effective blending and decoding skills, we have chosen to 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. We passionately believe that teaching children to read and write independently is one of the core purposes of a primary school enabling them to access a broad and exciting curriculum and ensuring they flourish as learners throughout their time at our school. These fundamental skills not only hold the keys to the rest of the curriculum but also have a huge impact on children’s self-esteem and future life chances.
We begin, in Reception, 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. In Read Write Inc phonics the individual sounds are called ‘speed sounds’ – because we want children 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. Green words are decodable words that children can use their ‘Fred Talk’ to sound out and blend. They feature the sound that the children have been learning that day. In a phonics lesson, children cover up to 5 or 6 new green words to support their reading of a new sound. 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|
A number of key staff within EYFS and KS1 have been on the official 2 day Read Write Inc training to allow consistent and effective teaching of the scheme. We are in the process of training more staff as the join EYFS and KS1 teams as well as the phonics lead providing regular training and support to staff.
Throughout Early Years and Key Stage One, children are taught in small and focussed groups to target their specific needs for phonics, alongside children of the same ability. These groupings are based on Read Write Inc assessments that are carried out at the start of each school year and then continue half termly. The phonics lead then collates this information and regroups children based on their current skill level allowing progression for most children but repetition and support for those that need more time on a specific set of sounds. This approach allows lessons to be focused and specific to the needs of the children. Lessons are taught by both teachers and LSA’s who are supported by the phonics lead in their delivery.
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.
We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ability to read ‘tricky words’; so they experience early reading success and gain confidence that they are readers, as well as consolidating the learning that takes place in school. In EYFS and Year 1, children bring home a Read Write Inc scheme reading book that is matched the their stage of the phonics group.
Through the consistent, systematic and daily teaching of the Read Write Inc Phonics programme, our aim is for children to become fluent, confident readers by the end of Key Stage One. 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 support in Year 2. The children are assessed one to one by the reading leader, who is a familiar adult to them. Those who do not pass the screening will continue their phonics lessons in Year 2 by being streamed into the correct group within the Year 1 cohort. This allows for them to consolidate and develop their confidence, within a group aimed at their specific ability, ready to retake the screening at the end of Year 2.
Through the Read Write Inc programme, children will be equipped with the skills to decode unfamiliar words using strategies that they have been taught in their daily lessons. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. Hopefully, this leads to a love of reading and children taking pleasure in exploring the rich literary world around them with a firm phonic basis to support them.