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Pilsley C of E School

Phonics and early reading

Read, Write Inc phonics


The children start their phonics journey with us by learning the letter and sound relationships in Nursery or Reception. When they are ready, the children start learning the set 1 sounds from this scheme in Nursery and build on this learning throughout their Reception year. 

Through daily Read Write Inc sessions, the children learn to connect letters and sounds. There are 26 letters of the alphabet but they make 44 sounds. During their phonic sessions the children learn to connect the individual letters and letter combinations that make the 44 sounds. 


As they become familiar with the letter sound combinations, the children are taught to apply these in their reading and writing experiences. 


'Fred Talk' 

Once the children have learnt some letter sound combinations, they can then start to begin to blend sounds to read simple words. Initially, they will need support with this and to help them we use a frog puppet called 'Fred'. Fred says the sounds in simple words e.g. c-a-t, p-i-g with a common letter sound relationships. The children hear Fred saying the sounds out loud and are encouraged to blend the sounds together to hear the word. The children need lots of practise at this 'oral blending' as they begin to learn to read. For more information about 'Fred talk' please see the video below. 


Set One Sounds: 


First, your child will learn to read:

  • Set 1 Speed Sounds: these are sounds written with one letter:                                                    
  • Set 1 sounds written with two letters (‘special friends’).                                                         
  • Simple words containing these sounds, by sound-blending
  • Read words in carefully levelled Red, Green and Purple Storybooks.


Set Two Sounds: 


Now that your child knows all their single sounds, some simple 'special friends' and has learnt to blend simple words, they will now learn: 

  • To read and recognise Set 2 Speed Sounds:  ay ee igh ow oo oo ar or air ir ou oy
  • To read words containing these sounds
  • Read a wider range of  'red words'. (Words that cannot be read using phonic skills
  • To read Pink, Orange and Yellow Storybooks, building speed and fluency.


Set Three Sounds: 


Your child is now growing in reading ability and confidence. In Set 3, they will learn to:

  • Read Set 3 Speed Sounds    ea oi a-e i-e o-e u-e aw are ur er ow ai oa ew ire ear ure
  • Read words containing these new sounds
  • Read further 'Red words' that cannot be read using phonic skills.
  • Read Blue and Grey Storybooks with increasing speed.


Once children reach the end of Set 1, they know enough sounds to read simple sentences. 

Each day following their phonics session, children are then taught their Read Write Inc reading and writing session. 

Children progress through a range of colour levels. Each level is carefully matched to your child's current phonic ability. This means children are able to read and access texts by themselves and quickly grow in speed and confidence. 


The children continue to learn through the Read Write Inc phonics scheme into Year One and follow the scheme until they have completed it. For some children, this will be in Year One, others will continue the scheme into Year Two. However, we expect most children to have completed the programme by this point. Alongside their Read, Write Inc. sessions the children will also be learning to apply their phonics, reading and writing skills by responding to other quality fiction and non-fiction texts linked to their topic learning. As they develop their literacy skills the focus of literacy sessions will shift towards exploring and responding to topic linked texts. 


For more information about the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme, free ebooks and downloadable letter formation sheets to match the sounds please visit:


For further information please also visit the website links below. 



RWI handwriting phrases for parents

Parent video: What is Read Write Inc Phonics

Parent video: Understanding Phonics

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