Read Write Inc. Phonics

Read Write Inc Phonics at Whitgreave

We are a RWI Phonics school! We operate the ‘Read Write Inc’ Phonics programme designed by Ruth Miskin. We are dedicated to ensuring that each and every one of our children learns to read with accuracy and confidence. We believe that the Read Write Inc programme allows us to do this, as well as allowing us to support you in fostering a love of reading in your child that will last a lifetime.

At the core of the programme is the lively and vigorous teaching of synthetic phonics. Children learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and how to sound-blend words for reading (decoding) at the same time as developing handwriting skills and spelling (encoding).

The children have the pleasure of reading exciting storybooks perfectly matched to their level – so that they have early success in reading. The children follow a structured programme of reading and writing activities in small groups. All staff at Whitgreave have been trained in the delivery of this programme.

Children are assessed and placed in colour groups depending on ability and are then assessed regularly through lessons and formally at the end of each half term. This ensures that the children are making progress and are in a group suited to their ability. Tight tracking by a reading lead is in place to ensure that progress is being made.

We will be able to set books electronically for you and your child to share at home. Each child will have their own, individual log in. The platform will look this:

Each book has a quiz for you to complete at the end, to check your child’s understanding of the text.


In Whitgreave’s Little Wonders and Nursery, we work hard to ensure that the children can:

  • Differentiate between environmental sounds i.e. naming the sound they can hear without seeing the object that made it
  • Effectively explore body percussion i.e. clapping, stamping etc.
  • Find rhyming words i.e. cat, mat, sat, bat
  • Hear the initial sound sin words when they are spoken i.e. ‘t’ in ‘tin’ or ‘c’ in ‘can’
  • Verbally blend and segment i.e. If I say ‘c-a-t’ they can say ‘cat’ or if I say ‘bin’ they can say ‘b-i-n’

This ensures that they have all of the basic skills in place in order to help them to become effective readers.

As they move in to Reception, children will begin to be provided with books relevant to the sounds they are learning in school. The progression of RWI colour bands is as follows:

  • Red
  • Green
  • Purple
  • Pink
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Blue
  • Grey

Fred Talk

This is Fred the frog.

He helps us to hear the ‘sounds’ in a word. Fred can only say the sounds in a word, which he whispers to the adult, and needs the children’s help to say the word! For example, Fred will say the sounds p-o-t, and children will say the word pot. This is Fred talk: sounding out the word. The children then blend the sounds to say the actual word. Whilst doing this, children will be encouraged to show how many sounds they can hear on their fingers. Staff will then model what this looks like as a written word, using sound buttons to help

Parental Support

In the Autumn term, Whitgreave Staff will hold parent workshops to support you in helping you with your child’s Phonics at home. It’s of paramount importance that we;

  • Pronounce all sounds correctly
  • Share a story every day together

There’s a wealth of sessions available online. We would urge you to watch these as often as possible to keep them fresh in your mind. They are available at:

Click here for the handwriting rhymes that we will use in school, when supporting children in writing the sounds.

Click here for Parent Support booklet 1.

Click here for Parent Support booklet 2.

Phonics Glossary

As parents, it’s important to make sure that we understand the key terms in phonics so that we can carry on the good work our child has done at school at home!

Blend: this is when you say the individual sounds that make up a word and then merge or blend them together to say the word as used when reading.

Consonant: most letters of the alphabet are consonants, except for the vowels: a,e,i,o,u.

CVC Words: this is an abbreviation used for consonant-vowel-consonant words. It describes the order of sounds. Some examples of CVC words are: cat, pen, top, chat (because ch makes one sound).

Other similar abbreviations include:

  • VC (Vowel Consonant) words e.g. on, is, it.
  • CCVC (Consonant, Consonant, Vowel, Consonant) words e.g. trap and black.
  • CVCC (Consonant, Vowel, Consonant, Consonant) words e.g. milk and fast.

Digraph: this describes two letters which together make one sound e.g. ee, oa, ea, ch, ay. There are different types of digraph:

  • Vowel digraph: a digraph in which at least one of the letters is a vowel: boat or day.
  • Consonant digraph: two consonants which can go together: shop or thin.
  • Split digraph (previously called magic e): two letters, which work as a pair to make one sound, but are separated within the word e.g. a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, u-e. For example cake or pine.

Grapheme: it’s a written letter or a group of letters which represent one single sound (phoneme) e.g. a, l, sh, air, ck.

Phoneme: it’s a single sound that can be made by one or more letters – e.g. s, k, z, oo, ph, igh.

Pure Sound: it’s the skill of pronouncing each letter sound clearly and distinctly without adding additional sounds to the end e.g. ‘f’ not ‘fuh.’

Segment: it’s the opposite of blending as it means splitting a word up into individual sounds when spelling and writing.

Tricky Words: they’re the words that are difficult to sound out e.g. said, the, because which don’t follow phonics rules.

High Frequency Words: high frequency words are those which appear most often in the language – many are also common exception words (e.g. ‘I’, ‘the’, ‘you’). Children are taught to learn these words by sight in order to increase the Fluency of their reading.

Common Exception Words: common exception words are words in which the English Spelling code works in an unusual or uncommon way. They are not words for which phonics ‘doesn’t work’, but they may be exceptions to spelling rules, or words which use a particular combination of letters to represent sound patterns in a rare or unique way.

Trigraph: this is when three letters go together to make one sound e.g. ear, air, igh, dge, tch.

Vowel: the letters a, e, i, o, u.

How does Read Write Inc. meet the National Curriculum?