Early Reading/ Phonics


The Government strongly recommends the use of synthetic phonics when teaching early reading skills to children. Synthetic phonics is simply the ability to convert a letter or letter group into sounds that are then blended together into a word.

At Woodfield Primary School, we are using the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme to get children off to a flying start with their literacy. RWI is a method of learning based upon letter sounds and phonics, and we use it to aid children in their reading and writing.

Reading opens the door to learning. A child who reads a lot will become a good reader. A good reader will be able to read more challenging material. A child who can read more challenging material is a child who will learn.

Using RWI, the children learn to read effortlessly so they can put all their energy into comprehending what they read. It also allows them to spell effortlessly so they can put all their energy into composing what they write.

The children are assessed regularly and grouped according to their ability. They will work with a RWI trained group leader. In addition to their RWInc sessions, children will also be working on writing skills in their classes with their own teacher.

The Read Write Inc Leaders at Woodfield Primary School is Mrs Watson. If you have any questions or need any guidance on the programme, please pop in to the school office or give us a call and to an appointment for you.


Communication and Language is a vital component of future success in reading and writing. In Nursery, children are supported to develop their speaking and listening skills at an age appropriate level through their play and explorations. Children are given the opportunity to explore environmental sounds, initial sounds, patterns and body percussion through daily Together Time sessions. The emphasis in Nursery is getting children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills. Nursery children also receive daily Oracy sessions which allow them to explore their language further. Children are promoted to develop their confidence in speech and extend their vocabulary through play and repeated, familiar activities encouraging talk and giving meaning to new words. 



When using RWI to read the children will:

  • Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple 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'.


When using RWI to write the children will:

  • learn to write the letter/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds
  • learn to write words by saying the sounds and graphemes (fred fingers)
  • learn to write simple then more complex sentences
  • compose stories based on story strips
  • compose a range of texts using discussion prompts


When using RWI the children will also work in pairs:

  • to answer questions
  • to practise every activity
  • to take turns talking and listening to each other
  • to give positive praise to each other


Help your child learn to read words by sounding-blending (Fred talk) eg. c-a-t = cat, sh-o-p = shop. Children learn to read words by blending the letter-sounds that are in the Speed Sounds set (shown further down the page).

Help your child to say the pure sounds ('m' not 'muh', 's' not 'suh' etc.) as quickly as they can, and then blend the sounds together to say the whole word.

Support your child at home using the following guide:

Reading Books Sent Home

Children in Reception who are learning the first 44 letter sounds and are not blending fluently will bring home sound sheets for you to practise with them.

Once children can blend fluently and know the first 44 sounds they will bring home a RWI Sound Blending book.

Once children have progressed onto reading through story books in school they will begin to bring home a level appropriate RWI book bag book. These will be changed every 3/4 days. Children should return their book bag daily to support reading in school and changing of books.

RWI Book Bag Books

This is your child's main reading book. Your child should be able to read most of this book however they might need a little support, especially with the first read. Please do not be concerned if your child can read this book with ease. This book is to ensure your child has the opportunity to practice reading words that contain the letter sounds they have learnt in their RWInc groups.  

Library Books

Library books are chosen by your child from the school library. These are for you and your child to enjoy together. If your child is able to read a few familiar words, great, but if not, please enjoy reading them to your child. Your child can also include in their reading diaries, books they have read from home or books they have taken out of the library and read.

Visit the Oxford Owl website (external link) which has over 100 free ebooks for to enjoy with your child.


What Else?

What else can I do to help my child learn to read?

Reading a variety of books (fiction, non-fiction, rhymes etc.) Discuss the different features of the books. Talk about the books and other reading materials that you have shared. Explain the meaning of new words. See if your child could change a part of the story to make a new version. You could use puppets or soft toys to retell the story. Most importantly though, show that fun can be gained by listening to stories and reading a range of texts, eg. cereal packets, shopping lists, road signs, web pages, magazines, comics, newspapers etc.

Finally, don't worry if your child is struggling at first with their sounds and words, they will get there in their own time. If you have time (we know it is very precious!), we would urge you to try and read stories to your child before they go to bed. This will help develop a wider vocabulary which makes a vast difference to their quality of writing but it will also encourage them to enjoy a good story.

Useful Websites

  • Read Write Inc- for more information and ideas for supporting your child visit the RWI website
  • Oxford Owl- visit the Oxford Owl website which has over 100 free ebooks for to enjoy with your child
  • YouTube: Phonemes Pronunciation Guide- a video clip, demonstrating how we produce our pure sounds to help during our Read Write Inc lessons



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