School Logo

What is Read Write Inc. Phonics?

What to expect and when in RWI


What is Read Write Inc?


The RWI programme is a ‘learn to read' 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.  The programme is designed for children aged 4-7. However, at St Mary’s Primary School we begin the programme in Nursery and will continue teaching RWI to children beyond the age of 7 if they still need support in their reading.


All children are assessed regularly by Miss King who is our RWI Reading Leader.  Regular assessments ensure children are working at the correct level which allows complete participation in lessons.


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


Children will be taught how to read as follows:


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.


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.  Set 1 sounds are taught in Reception.


Set 1




Down Maisie then over the two mountains. Maisie, mountain, mountain.


Round the apple, down the leaf.


Slide around the snake


Round the dinosaur's back, up his neck and down to his feet.


Down the tower, across the tower,


Down the insects body, dot for the head.


Down Nobby and over the net.


Down the plait, up and over the pirates face.


Round the girls face, down her hair and give her a curl


All around the orange


Curl around the caterpillar


Down the kangaroos body, tail and leg


Down and under the umbrella, up to the top and down to the puddle


Down the laces, over the toe and touch the heel


Down the stem and draw the leaves


Slice into the egg, go over the top, then under the egg


Down the long leg


Down the horse's head to the hooves and over his back


Slither down the snake, then down the horse's head to the hooves and over his back


Down the robot's back, then up and curl


Down his body, curl and dot


Down a wing, up a wing


Down a horn, up a horn and under the yak's head.


Down, up, down, up the worm.


Down the tower, across the tower, then down the horse’s head to the hooves and over his back


Zig-zag-zig, down the zip.


Curl around the caterpillar, , then down the horse's head to thehooves and over his back


Round the queen’s head, up to her crown, down her hair and curl


Cross down the arm and leg and cross the other way


A thing on a string


I think I stink


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.


We use magnetic white boards with magnetic sounds on to teach children how to make words from the letters they have been taught.  We teach children how to sound out a word and then blend it for reading.  Once your child is confident making and reading simple CVC words such as ‘pin’, ‘mat’ ‘pot’ etc. they are then ready to read books.


Once your child is reading…


Children will be introduced to ‘Ditty books’ when they successfully begin to read single words. 


Children use sound-blending (Fred Talk) to read short ditties which is a short sentence. 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.


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 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. You may have heard your child talking about ‘hold or proof read a sentence’.


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


Proof read a sentence is an activity that encourages children to spot mistakes in a sentence and work with a partner to correct the errors.


To further support and encourage reading at home, we will send home an appropriate level book for your child to read to you.


By the end of Reception, your child will have been taught these skills



The children:

  • learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts 
  • 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 'Fastest Finger' and 'Have a Think' 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 



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



End of Reception/beginning of Year 1


The children are then taught Set 2 Sounds - the long vowels. Set 2 sounds are taught towards the end of Reception and the beginning of Year One.


Each half term the children are assessed by Miss King and are placed in an appropriate group for their reading ability.


The book groupings/order of story books can be seen in the table below.


When they are very confident with all of set 1 and 2 they are taught Set 3 Sounds.  


Set 3 sounds are taught in Year 1 and are continued to be consolidated in year 2.


Long  vowel sound


Set 2 Speed Sound cards


Set 3 Speed Sound cards


ay: may I play

a-e: make a cake

ai: snail in the rain


ee: what can you see

ea: cup of tea

e: he me we she be


igh: fly high

i-e: nice smile


ow: blow the snow

o-e: phone home

ao: goat in a boat


oo: poo at the zoo

u-e: huge brute

ew: chew the stew


oo: look at a book




ar: start the car




or: shut the door

aw: yawn at dawn



air: that’s not fair

are: share and care



ir: whirl and twirl

ur: nurse for a purse

er: a better letter


ou: shout it out

ow: brown cow



oy: toy for a boy

oi: spoil the boy




ire: fire fire!




ear: hear with your ear




ure: sure it’s pure?



Nonsense words (Alien words)          


As well as learning to read and blend real words children in all year groups 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. 



Each day the children are supported to develop their spelling skills (This will only start in Reception when children are ready to write and form their letters). 


Children will use first 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.


By the end of Year One and Year Two…


Children follow the same format as Reception but will work on complex sounds and read books appropriate to their reading level. Each RWI phonic session lasts for 1 hour.


Order of Story books: 


Children will hopefully 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. The Read Write Inc. reading programme works on a ‘stage not age’ approach to reading.



Year Group Expectations

Magnetic white boards


Pre-Ditty Sheets and

Red Ditty 1-10


Green 1-10


Purple 1-10

Reception/Year One

Pink 1-10

Year One

Orange 1-12

Year One

Yellow 1-10

Year One

Blue 1-10

Year One

Grey 1-13

Year One and Year Two


Home reading books


Each week children will bring home book linked closely to the sounds that they have been learning at school.