At Owston Park Primary 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, 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.




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

If you have questions about RWI, please contact school and you will be referred to a member of staff who can help you. 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 Phonics?

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:

  • Recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;

  • Identify the sounds that different combinations of letters (Special friends) make – such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’; and

  • Blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.

Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ (Fred Talk) new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.


Why Phonics?

Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way - starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex - it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged five to seven.

Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment. Children will also become confident phonetic spellers. This will then lead into teaching the children different spelling rules to help develop more accurate spelling.


What is Read Write Inc?

Read Write Inc (RWI) 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. However, at Owston we begin the programme in Nursery and will continue teaching RWI to children beyond the age of 7 if they still require support in their reading.

RWI was developed by Ruth Miskin and more information on this can be found below: 

Parents FAQs.


How will RWI be taught?

All children are assessed every half term by our reading leaders and are then taught in homogeneous 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:

Image result for fred talk rwi

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 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 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.

RWI Sound Mat

Nonsense words (Alien words)          

Related image

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 Phonics Screening Check in the Summer term of Year 1. 

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.

The children will then move through the RWI books, which are matched to the reading books the children bring home to read with you. These books are matched closely with the half termly RWI assessments.  

They will also have access to the books read and discussed in class RWI lessons. These will be sent home as paper copies or can be accessed on Oxford Owl digitally. Class teachers will send home the login details for your child.

Children will then be challenged to use their developing phonic knowledge to write increasing complex 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. Green words are linked to the sounds they have been learning and are easily decodable.


       Set 1.jpg   Set 3.png

Dots and dashes represent the individual sounds in the word.

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 in the form of sound sheets.

During the RWI 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.   





In nursery, children work on 'Pre-Phonics Skills'. These activities support the development of speaking and listening and awareness of sounds. Children in Nursery will;

  • Enjoy daily storytime
  • Explore and experiment with a variety of sounds including percussion instruments, voice and body sounds
  • Distinguish between sounds in the environment and phonemes
  • Use the outdoors as much as possible to explore different sounds
  • Show awareness of rhyme and alliteration.

 Adult led activities involve modelling speaking and listening, ‘Fred talk’ to model how to blend (Can you get your c-oa-t?), high quality interactions and regular back & forth talk with the children is critical when supporting the development of children’s speaking and listening skills. 

In the Summer term, Nursery children begin 'RWI for Nursery Children' where they are taught the set 1 sounds.  All sessions are short, focused and of course fun! 



In Reception children have a daily phonics session with their class teacher or TA using the Read, Write Inc. programme. Children are grouped according to their reading stage. Again these sessions are fast paced, fun and focused. Parents are invited into workshops to watch phonics being taught and get involved with some games.

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' discussion 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 write words by using Fred Talk

  • learn to build sentences by practising sentences out loud before they write.


Daily handwriting practice

Children practise correct letter formation as part of their daily Speed Sounds Lesson. We use the mnemonics to help children visualise the letter before they write it down. In the ‘Write the letters’ activity in the lesson, children practise saying the handwriting phrase and the sound as they form the letter in the air and then write the sound on paper. Children need to practise handwriting under the guidance of a teacher so they do not develop habits that will be difficult to undo later. When writing at home, please encourage your child to use the letter formation they have been practising at school.


The children 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.


Read Write Inc. Phonics through the day: Fred Talk and Pinny time

The teaching of sounds is kept to the phonics lessons to let children enjoy the integrity of each experience. However, there are two important things to do throughout the day to help teach all children to read sounds and learn to blend quickly:

1. Use Fred Talk and play Fred Talk games

2. Pinny time.

Fred Talk + Speedy Sounds = reading


Fred Talk and Fred Talk games

Speaking like Fred helps children to understand that words are made up of sounds. Teachers and teaching assistants will use Fred Talk throughout the day to help children practise blending sounds together. Fred Talk follows a consistent routine:

1. Say the word in sounds as Fred, e.g. c-a-t. Ask children to repeat. Pause to allow children to ‘jump-in’ with the whole word.

2. Say the word in sounds followed by the whole word, e.g. c-a-t, cat. Ask children to repeat.

3. Use Fred Talk for single-syllable words at the end of sentences throughout the day e.g. it is time for l-u-n-ch…lunch, come and sit on the f-l-oor…floor.

4. Fred Talk words at the end of the sentence and keep the words short and simple.

Pinny time

Pinny time helps children to practise reading the sounds taught so far speedily and to make sure children ‘keep up, not catch up’.

• Each teacher/TA has their own apron or ‘pinny’ with pockets containing a set of Speed Sounds Cards.

• 5-minute pinny time sessions are timetabled throughout the day. Children who need to increase their speed are targetted.

• ‘Speed minute’ sessions throughout the day when a bell rings. How many sounds the group of children can read in one minute?

• Pinny time can take place before break, while waiting for the midday supervisors, waiting to go into assembly or as children go home. 


Year One

Children continue with the Read, Write Inc. programme but will work on complex sounds and read books appropriate to their reading level. Daily sessions of RWI phonics last for 45 minutes and is supported by an additional English session. We understand that children move at a different pace so we have carefully planned intervention groups with our excellent TAs. They are assessed regularly and regrouped according to their reading stage. A meeting is held to explain the Phonics Screening Check to parents in Summer term. The Phonics Screening Check is in June of year 1.


Year 2 

Children who still require Read, Write Inc. will stay on the programme. The children who did not pass the Phonics Screening Check will get the chance to take it again in June.


After Year 2

Some children may still need support with their reading, writing and confidence in this area. Teachers communicate the children’s needs and parents are informed on progress. Children are supported differently in class depending on their needs.



Progression through the scheme

Reception Minimum Expectations for Expected progress







Know most set 1 sounds and begin to blend

Know set 1 sounds and blending

Reading Photocopy Ditties

Reading Red Ditties

Reading Green Storybooks

Reading Purple Storybooks


Year 1 Minimum Expectations for Expected progress







Reading Green/Purple Storybooks

Reading Pink Storybooks

Reading Orange Storybooks

Reading Yellow Storybooks

Reading Yellow Storybooks

Reading Blue Storybooks


Phonics Screening Check

At the end of Year 1 children are assessed using the National Phonics Screening Check and this is repeated for those who did not achieve the appropriate level at the end of Year 2. This assessment gathers information on the children’s ability to segment and blend decodable words to read.

The children sit with an adult on a one to one basis in a relaxed environment and read 40 decodable words. If a child reads a word incorrectly, the adult will just move onto the next word. Some words are real words and some are nonsense or ‘alien’ words and the words get progressively trickier, containing more complex sounds. Below is a sample of 2 test pages. The test is very child friendly and is a great assessment tool for teachers.


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