Read, Write, Inc

Learning to read: Reception, Year 1 and Year 2

At East Dene 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.

Intent Implementation Impact
Word 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.


Language comprehension

–           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.


Word Reading

–    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.


Language Comprehension

–    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.



Word reading

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.


Language comprehension


–    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:

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

Sound Phrase Green words
Sh Ship, shop,
Th Thing, thin,
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

Sound Phrase Green words
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

Sound Phrase Green words
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


Additional sounds

Sound Phrase Green words
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.

Storybook Lessons

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;

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.