Read Write Inc. Phonics at Saltford School

Read Write Inc

At Saltford Primary School we now use Read Write Inc Phonics (RWI) to give your child the best possible start to reading.

What is Read Write Inc?

We teach sounds, children practise reading and spelling words containing these sounds, then, we give children decodable books containing sounds and words they can read. Specific Read Write Inc Books will be allocated from Term 5.

They read each Storybook three times at school and again with you at home with books being changed weekly.

On each reading, children’s fluency increases and the more they can focus on what the story is about. Children also learn to spell the words they have been reading and develop their ideas into sentences so that they can write about the storybooks they read.

We want to make sure every child learns to read in our school. Some children need extra practice when learning to read so we teach these children one-to-one every day – on top of their group lesson. We make sure they ‘keep up’ from the beginning and don’t need ‘catch up’ later on.

Five key principles of phonics

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.

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

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 toy called Fred who is an expert on sounding out words! We call it, ‘Fred Talk’, for example: m-o-p, c-a-t, m-a-n, sh-o-p, b-l-a-ck.

This video shows how to blend sounds with Fred.


The children are taught the sounds in the following three steps.

Step 1: Sounds

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

Watch this video to hear how to pronounce sounds correctly.

Children will also use pictures for each sound to help recognise the sound and then form the shape of the sound.

Step 2: Sounds - the long vowels

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.


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 1 phonics screening check in the summer term.

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. 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.

Order of story books

The expectation is that all children will leave Year 1 as confident speedy readers, ready to take on the challenges of Year 2. However, some children may need extra support. The order of the storybooks is as follows:

  • Sound Blending
  • Ditties
  • Red
  • Green
  • Purple
  • Pink
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Blue
  • Grey

This is the expected progress made by your child as they work through the scheme

  Reception  Year 1  Year 2 
Autumn half term  1B Purple  Blue 
End of autumn 1C  Pink  Grey 
Spring half term  Ditties Orange  Grey 
End of spring term  Red  Yellow  VIPERS 
Summer half term  Green  Yellow   
End of summer term  Green/Purple  Blue   

Then children move to Vipers Reading Comprehension

Your child will start to bring books home when they are confident readers. Please help them to read and give lots of praise! This is no different to what you currently do to support your child. Please continue to:

  • Read the Speed Sounds
  • Blend sounds into words
  • Read the Blending or Storybooks.

Which books will my child bring home?

Each week your child will bring home:

  • The Storybook they have read in class to practise reading what they can already read.
  • A Book Bag Book. They have guidance inside just for you as parents. They are matched to the books children read in school so provide practice of the same sounds – extra practice at the right level for your child. They include many of the same reading activities that we use in class.
  • A reading for pleasure book to share with you. You can read the story to them or they can retell the story by looking at the pictures. They are not expected to read the story themselves.
  • If your child is in the Vipers Reading Comprehension Group, they will continue with books from our existing scheme.