Phonics and Early Reading

At Sprites Primary Academy we use Read Write Inc Phonics (RWI) to give children the best possible start with their English (spellings, phonics, reading and writing). Children in the Foundation Stage (Nursery and Reception) and Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2) have a daily RWI lesson.
Read Write Inc (RWI) is a phonics programme which helps 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. However, at Sprites Primary Academy we begin the programme in Nursery and will continue teaching RWI to children beyond the age of 7 if they still need support in their reading.


The children:

  • 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 matched to their phonic knowledge
  • work well with partners,
  • develop comprehension skills in stories by answering ‘Find It’ and ‘Prove It’ discussion questions.


The children:

  • 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’ (sounding words out),
  • learn to build sentences by practising sentences out loud before they write.


The children 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.

Five Key Principles

Five key principles underpin the teaching in all Read Write Inc. sessions:

Purpose – know the purpose of every activity and share it with the children, so they know the one thing they should be thinking about.

Participation – ensure every child participates throughout the lesson. Partnership work is fundamental to learning.

Praise – ensure children are praised for effort and learning, not ability.

Pace – teach at an effective pace and devote every moment to teaching and learning.

Passion – be passionate about teaching so children can be engaged emotionally.

The children are taught the sounds in 3 sets.

Set 1:The children are taught the first set of sounds. Children will also use pictures for each sound to help recognise the sound and then form the shape of the sound.

Set 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.

Set 3:The children are then taught alternative ways of writing these 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.

To help at home:

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

Phonics Screening Check Year One

What is the Year 1 phonics screening check?
The Year 1 phonics screening check is a short, light-touch assessment to confirm whether individual pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard.
It will identify the children who need extra help, so they are given support to improve their reading skills. They will then be able to retake the check in Year 2, so that schools can track pupils until they are able to decode.

Further Information

Further information can be found in the box below.