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Here at St Nicolas and St Mary’s CE school we use Read Write Inc Phonics (RWI) to help get all our children reading quickly. Children in Reception, Year 1 and 2 take part in daily phonics sessions at the level appropriate for them. We will continue teaching RWI phonics to children beyond the age of 7 if they still need support in their reading.

For further information on Early Years phonics please click on the link which will take you to the EYFS curriculum page: EYFS curriculum

The powerpoint presentation for parents and carers is attached to the bottom of this page.

What is Read, Write Inc Phonics?

Ruth Miskin and her team have carefully designed the phonics resources, to enable children to learn new sounds and apply them speedily to reading books so that they can focus on comprehending what they read. It also allows them to spell effortlessly so that they can put their energy into composing what they write.

This website gives more information in videos.

When using Read Write Inc 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.
  • learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds.
  • learn to write words by saying the sounds and graphemes (Fred fingers).

Children will be taught how to read as follows:

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 sounding out words! We call it, ‘Fred Talk’. E.g. m-o-p, c-a-t, m-a-n, sh-o-p, b-l-a-ck.

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

The children are taught the sounds in 3 sets.

All sounds can be found here

Step 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.

Set 1




Down Maisie then over the two mountains. Maisie, mountain, mountain.


Round the apple, down the leaf.


Slide around the snake


Round the dinosaur's back, up his neck and down to his feet.


Down the tower, across the tower,


Down the insects body, dot for the head.


Down Nobby and over the net.


Down the plait, up and over the pirates face.


Round the girls face, down her hair and give her a curl


All around the orange


Curl around the caterpillar


Down the kangaroos body, tail and leg


Down and under the umbrella, up to the top and down to the puddle


Down the laces, over the toe and touch the heel


Down the stem and draw the leaves


Slice into the egg, go over the top, then under the egg


Down the long leg


Down the horse's head to the hooves and over his back


Slither down the snake, then down the horse's head to the hooves and over his back


Down the robot's back, then up and curl


Down his body, curl and dot


Down a wing, up a wing


Down a horn, up a horn and under the yak's head.


Down, up, down, up the worm.


Down the tower, across the tower, then down the horse’s head to the hooves and over his back


Zig-zag-zig, down the zip.


Curl around the caterpillar, , then down the horse's head to the hooves and over his back


Round the queen’s head, up to her crown, down her hair and curl


Cross down the arm and leg and cross the other way


A thing on a string


I think I stink

Children will also use pictures for each sound to help recognise the sound and then form the shape of the sound.

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.

Long  vowel sound

Set 2 Speed Sound cards

Teach these first

Set 3 Speed Sound cards


ay: may I play

a-e: make a cake

ai: snail in the rain


ee: what can you see

ea: cup of tea

e: he me we she be


igh: fly high

i-e: nice smile


ow: blow the snow

o-e: phone home

ao: goat in a boat


oo: poo at the zoo

u-e: huge brute

ew: chew the stew


oo: look at a book




ar: start the car




or: shut the door

aw: yawn at dawn



air: that’s not fair

are: share and care



ir: whirl and twirl

ur: nurse for a purse

er: a better letter


ou: shout it out

ow: brown cow



oy: toy for a boy

oi: spoil the boy




ire: fire fire!




ear: hear with your ear




ure: sure it’s pure?


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.

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 easily decodable.

Dots and dashes represent the sound each letter makes.

During the RWI session children will read the book three times and at each new reading they will have plenty of opportunities to practise using their developing comprehension skills.


Children will use ‘Fred fingers’ to first sound out a word before they write it down.  Children put the number of sounds on their fingers and then pinch the sounds. This way of teaching spellings allows children to use Fred fingers whenever they are finding spelling a word tricky. Follow this link for more information.


How to help at home

In RWI, children will read books that focus on the sound they are learning in their sessions. They will be able to decode the books phonetically. Children might bring a RWI book home. They may have already seen and read this book up to three times before. Bringing the book home is a chance to enjoy and consolidate what they have learnt. Please listen to your child read this book as much as possible.

In addition to this, children will be bringing either a RWI Book Bag Book or a colour banded book home from the reading pathway. These books will vary in a number of different ways, including layout, size, vocabulary and length.

Giving the children a chance to read two types of books will give them a rich diet of literature, which they can enjoy. For more information, please see our reading page.

These websites can also consolidate children’s learning. - many games to play  - fun games for the children to play.

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