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RWI Phonics at East Harptree School



At East Harptree 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 many different worlds! Reading will give your child the tools to become independent life-long learners. We can achieve this together through:

  • Read Write Inc, a programme to help your child read
  • 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 (RWI) in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 to give your child the best possible start with their literacy. We also use it for interventions for children further on in the school in KS2. 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 the school office, who can refer you to Mrs Haskins (Our Hedgehog class Teacher and EYFS Lead) or Mrs Banks (RWI lead teacher) to discuss. Please take the time to read this invaluable information as it will help you to support your child with their reading.

What is Read Write Inc?

Read Write Inc (RWI) is a phonics 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.  It also allows them to spell effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into composing what they write. The children are assessed by Mrs Haskins (EYFS Lead) and grouped according to their ability. Small group phonics lessons are taught daily by trained staff and there are consistent expectations across the range of abilities. At the end of each half term the children are assessed to check on their progress and regrouped if necessary.

Children learn sounds in school which help them to read and write. They then practise these skills through reading 'Book Bag Books' at home which are specifically pitched to both consolidate learning and provide challenge in an engaging and fun way! This is what they look like:



There are Five key principles that 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.



In Reception all children will learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. Those who are ready, will begin to read simple words within books and write some of these.

Year 1 and Year 2

Children follow the same format as Reception but will work on complex sounds and read books appropriate to their reading level. Daily sessions of RWI phonics last for one hour - this includes a guided reading session. 

The children are taught the sounds in 3 sets. 

 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.

We do not use letter names at this early stage. Watch the video below to find out how to pronounce the ‘pure’ sounds that are initially taught:

The children are then taught  Set 2 Sounds – the long vowels.

Set 2 Sounds

ay: may I play  

ee: what can you see 

igh: fly high  

ow: blow the snow  

oo: poo at the zoo  

oo: look at the book 

ar: start the car 

or: shut the door  

air: that’s not fair 

 ir: whirl and twirl  

ou: shout it out  

oy: toy for a boy 

When they are very confident with all Set 1 and 2, only then are they taught set 3 sounds. 

Set 3 Sounds

ea: cup of tea
oi: spoil the boy
a-e: make a cake
i-e: nice smile
o-e: phone home
u-e: huge brute
aw: yawn at dawn
are: share and care
ur: purse for a nurse
er: a better letter
ow: brown cow
ai: snail in the rain
oa: goat in a boat
ew: chew the stew
ire: fire fire!
ear: hear with your ear
ure: sure it’s pure?
tion: (celebration)
tious / cious: (scrumptious / delicious)
e: he me we she be 


These sounds will be used in the following areas:


Children will: 

  • learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts.
  • learn to read words using sound blending.
  • read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out.
  • after meaningful discussion led by an adult, children show that they comprehend the stories by answering questions. 


Children will: 

  • learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds.
  • learn to write words by saying the sounds and graphemes.
  • learn to build sentences orally using adventurous vocabulary.
  • start with simple sentences and develop towards more complex ones by the end of the programme. 


Children are assessed so they work alongside children at the same level. This allows them to fully participate in all lessons.  
They work in pairs so that they: 

  • answer every question.
  • practise every activity with their partner.
  • take turns in talking to each other.

How you can help your child at home:


Help your child learn to read words by sound-blending (Fred talk) eg. c-a-t = cat, sh-o-p = shop. Children learn to read words by blending the letter-sounds that are in the Speed Sounds set. Help your child to say the pure sounds ('m' not 'muh', 's' not 'suh' etc.) as quickly as they can, and then blend the sounds together to say the whole word.

Nonsense words (Alien words) 

Research has shown that incorporating nonsense words into teaching reading can be an effective way to establish blending and segmenting skills. However, it is important to ensure that children understand that they are reading nonsense words (and why) so that they are not confused by trying to read the words for meaning. By reading nonsense words children develop their ability to decode individual sounds and then blend them together to read. They are an indicator of early reading skills and work as a quick, reliable, and valid way of assessing children. However, reading nonsense words is only a small part of the Read, Write Inc. phonics teaching.

Spelling with your Fred Fingers

Children are taught to use their fingers to help them write words. The children say the word out loud and break it down into its individual sounds. If a word has 3 sounds children hold up 3 fingers, 4 sounds 4 fingers etc. Children use each finger as they say the sounds needed in the word then they write the letters that represent each sound. 

When using Fred Fingers each finger represents one sound. 


Daily reading with your child of their RWI sounds/words or book will support them to develop the skills discussed above. It will aid them to gain confidence in their fluency and pace as readers and become more confident with their sounds ensuring they can use them in all areas of their learning.