Althorpe & Keadby Primary School

  1. Our Curriculum - A School of Adventures
  2. English
  3. Phonics



What is Phonics? 
Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. Children are taught how to recognise the sounds each individual letter makes and to identify the sounds that different contributions of letters make such as ‘sh’ and ‘oo’.   Children are taught to read by breaking down words into separate sounds or ‘phonemes’. They are then taught how to blend these sounds together to read the whole word. We use Read, Write Inc. to teach phonics at our school.


The phonics screening check 
The National phonics screening check is a statutory assessment that was introduced in 2012 to all Year 1 pupils and is a quick and easy check of your child’s phonics knowledge.  All year 1 pupils will take the phonics screening check in summer term.

It comprises of a list of 40 words and nonsense words (words that are phonetically decodable but not actual words with an associated meaning e.g. brip, snorb). It will assess phonics skills and knowledge learnt through reception and year 1 where each child is asked to read on a 1:1 basis to an adult familiar to them. They will be asked to ‘sound out’ a word and blend the sounds together. 

The screening check will identify children who have phonic decoding skills below the level expected for the end of year 1 and who therefore need help. 


Read Write Inc.

At Althorpe and Keadby we follow the Read, Write Inc phonics programme. 

What is Read Write Inc?

Read Write Inc (RWI) is a phonics based programme which helps children learn to read whilst also developing a wide range of vocabulary. It was developed by Ruth Miskin a leading consultant on early reading.  More information can be found at 
Who is Read Write Inc for?

The Read Write Inc programme is for primary school children learning to read and write.  Children will begin the programme in the foundation stage and will remain on the programme throughout year 1.  Children will continue on the programme until they are at the expected reading level for year 2. 
How does it work?

In foundation stage the children are initially taught sound set 1 in their own class. They will be assessed regularly.  During the Summer term they will make the transition to join groups across Key Stage 1.

In Years One and Two  all children are assessed regularly and are grouped according to their stage, not their age, so that teaching is closely matched to the children’s next steps in learning.  Phonics groups are mixed and are taught by teachers and teaching assistants.  A few children, who need extra support to maintain progress, work with a teacher or teaching assistant for extra sessions each week. 

The Children will bring home a reading book that is the same colour as the group they are currently in. These books contain sounds they have previously been taught and so they should be able to read them with fluency.

What does the RWI teaching programme look like?  

Children are taught the pure ‘Set 1’ sounds so that they will be able to blend the sounds in words more easily. In school we use ‘Fred Talk’ to blend.  We do not use letter names at this stage; we simply focus on the sounds that are used to sound out words.  To view the correct pronunciation of the sounds you can click on the link at the bottom of this page.

At this stage, the children are not only taught the sound the letter makes but also how to form the letter, using a rhyme and a picture prompt.

Children use these sounds to sound out words in ‘Fred Talk’.  A character called Fred is introduced.  He talks only in sounds.  Children are asked to interpret what Fred is saying like this:  Fred says ‘m-a-t’, we would say ‘mat’  , Fred says ‘f-r-o-g’, we would say ‘frog’   

Speed sounds Set 1

Once your child knows all their ‘Set 1’ sounds and is able to read real words using ‘Fred Talk’ they will then move into the next  group.  

Set Two sounds

Each Set 2 sound has a rhyme to accompany it when the sound is taught.  For example the word ‘play’ cannot be sounded out as single letter sounds.  The word contains the ‘ay’ sounds where one sound is created by the two letters.  This is known as ‘special friends’ which is two letters- one sound. So play will be sounded out as


Other examples of special friends are: tray= t-r-ay Sunday= S-u-n-d-ay 

Children will be taught the rhyme ‘ay may I play’.

Set three Sounds:

Your child will then move onto the set 3 sounds above.  Many of these sounds (phonemes)  sound the same as those previously taught but are written using a different letter pattern (grapheme).  For example ‘ay’ (play)  and ‘ai’  (snail) and ‘a_e (cake).

What are Red Words?

These are words that are unable to be sounded out as they are irregular.  Children simply have to learn to recognise, read and spell these words as they cannot be sounded using any sort of phonics strategy. These may also be referred to as tricky words.
Examples of red words


In summary how and what do children learn?


Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using picture prompts

Learn to read words by blending letter sounds


Learn the write the letter/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds 

Learn to write words by saying the sound and the graphemes


How can I help my child at home? 

Establish a routine to include regular reading throughout the week

Have fun with ‘Fred Talk’ at home eg Where is your c-oa-t? Time for b-e-d!

Encourage your child to ‘Fred Talk’ or ‘sound out’ any unfamiliar words.

Read as many stories to your child as you can -Traditional tales, stories from other cultures, poetry, their favourite story– talk about stories with them

Explain the meaning of new words


Further Information

Read Write Inc Website: 
Below are links to useful videos to help you to support your child with reading. 

What is RWI phonics?

How to say the sounds

Daily lessons         

What is sound blending?

If you have any questions please contact your child's class teacher or our Phonics lead, Mrs Noble for further advice.


Phonics Parent Support Documents

 fred_games (1).pdfDownload
 rwi-parent-booklet-1-002.docx (1).pdfDownload
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