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Read, Write, Inc Phonics

Read Write Inc. developed by Ruth Miskin, provides a structured and systematic approach to teaching literacy. It is used by more than a quarter of the UK's primary schools and is designed to create fluent readers, confident speakers and willing writers.


Each Read Write Inc. programme meets the higher expectations of the new curriculum and uses effective assessment to accelerate every child's progress.

At Combs Infants, we begin introducing phonics in Nursery by following the First Class Phonics Scheme, the children then progress on to Read Write Inc. in Reception.

Developing reading skills through Read Write Inc.


At Combs Infants School we aim for all our children to become fluent, confident readers who are passionate about reading.
Children who read regularly or are read to regularly have the opportunity to open the doors to so many different worlds! More importantly, reading will give your child the tools to become independent life-long learners.

We can achieve this together through:

  • Read Write Inc. is a program to help your child read at school
  • Encouraging children to develop a love of books by reading to them daily, at home and at school
  • Giving children access to a wide range of books at school and at home

We use Read Write Inc. Phonics (RWInc) to give your child the best possible start with their literacy. We have put together a guide to how the RWInc programme works together with some useful links.

Miss Sweatmore is our Read Write Inc lead teacher, so if you have questions about RWInc, contact school who can refer you to her. Please take the time to read the information as it will provide invaluable information as to how you can help and support your child in reading.


What is Read Write Inc. Phonics?


Read Write Inc (RWInc) is a phonics complete literacy programme which helps all 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.

How will RWInc be taught?

All children are assessed regularly by our RWInc lead teacher so they work with children at the same level. This allows complete participation in lessons.



When appropriate, children will be introduced to the initial sounds in short five minutes sessions.



In Reception all children will learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down.



The children:
-learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts – see below
-learn to read words using Fred talk and sound blending
-read from a range of storybooks and non-fictions books matched to their phonic knowledge
-work well with partners
-develop comprehension skills in stories by answering ‘Find It’ and ‘Prove It’ discussing 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 spell and write words by using Fred Talk
-learn to build sentences by practising sentences out loud before they write



The children:
They 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


Year One & Year Two

Children follow the same format as Reception but will work on complex sounds and read books appropriate to their reading level. Daily sessions of RWInc phonics last for forty minutes. Once children become fluent speedy readers they will move on to guided reading and No Nonsenses spelling whilst the other children continue in their RWInc groups.


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.

Children will be taught how to read as follows:
Before you start to teach your child, practise saying the sounds below. These are the sounds we use to speak in English.

Children will be taught how to read as follows:
Before you start to teach your child, practise saying the sounds below. These are the sounds we use to speak in English.


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.


Fred in your head


‚ÄčThe children then read using 'Fred in your head'. That is where the children read the sounds in their head, not aloud, to help them to build more confidence in reading. 
The teacher holds up the words to give the children time to mime the sounds, and then pushes the word forward as a signal to say the word together, until they can say the word straight away. We show them how to do this by: Whispering the sounds and then saying the whole word.


Fred fingers


Fred Fingers are used for spelling. Children hold up the hand that they do not write with. They sound out the word they are spelling and put up the correct number of fingers (pinch each sound on their fingers) for the word. For example: m-ee-t = 3 sounds = 3 fingers. 
FRED teaches the children to use their fingers to break down words into their individual sounds to assist spelling.  When children look at their own fingers, it allows them to visualise each sound of the word on a single finger.

The children are taught the sounds in 3 sets.


Step 1:

Set 1 Sounds are taught in the following order, together with rhymes, to help children form the letters correctly and to instantly recognise sounds ready for blending.



Please do not use letter names at this early stage



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.

To hear how to pronounce sounds correctly, watch the following video:

Nonsense words (Alien words)

What are nonsense in phonics?

These are “alien” words.

The children have to use their phonic knowledge to sound out the words and then blend the sounds together to read. It is important that the children say the word they hear, rather than try to turn it into a real word. 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.

We use alien words (nonsense words) to allow us to assess children's phonic capability. Read Write Inc. is the lively and vigorous teaching of synthetic phonics. Children learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and how to sound-blend (decode) words for reading at the same time as developing handwriting skills and spelling.

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. They will bring home a Book Bag Book, which we hope you will share with your child across the week. Children will then be challenged to use their developing phonic knowledge to write short sentences.
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.

Once your child has been introduced and taught these words in school, we will send them home for you to continue practising with your child.

During the RWInc 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. You may have heard your child talking about ‘hold, edit or build a sentence’.


Hold a sentence is an activity that encourages children to remember a whole sentence while focusing on spelling and punctuation.


Build a sentence is to give children the opportunity to create their own sentence to that shows the meaning of a word and edit a sentence allows the children to critique a sentence using their knowledge of spelling punctuation and grammar. Children 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.



Spelling is part of the RWInc programme. Children will use ‘Fred fingers’ to first sound out a word before they write it down.  Children learn how to spell rather than just get tested. Furthermore, this way of teaching spellings allows children to use Fred fingers whenever they get stuck with spelling a word. Children pinch each sound on fingers before writing the word.


Order of Story books: Children will follow the order listed below. The expectation is that all children will leave Year One as confident speedy readers, ready to take on the challenges of Year Two. However, some children may need extra support and your teacher will talk to you about this.

To help at home:


Your child will start to bring books home when they are confident readers. Each week they will bring home a Book Bag Book linked to the RWInc book they have shared in school. Please share the book, talk about the pictures and encourage your child to read. Please revisit this book so your child becomes really familiar with the words and in doing so, their fluency will develop. If they need to sound out a word, that is fine. Please give lots of praise!

They also will bring home a library book, which they can change every week after they have shared and read the book with you at home. Once again please give lots of praise!


If you have any other questions about RWInc, please see your class teacher or Miss Sweatmore.