Read Write Inc Phonics Scheme


Read, Write, Inc is the phonics scheme we use to teach reading and spelling in Early Years and Key Stage One at Holywell School. We have chosen Read, Write, Inc because we want our children to learn to read as quickly as possible, and then read widely and become lifelong readers. 

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Teaching phonics at Holywell School

We start teaching the programme as soon as your child joins Reception and then continue until they have worked their way through the whole reading scheme, usually this is during Years One or Two. We assess all children on the scheme every 6-8 weeks, to ensure that they are placed in the correct group for their reading ability. This also allows us to quickly identify any children who need some support to access the learning at the level of the group. If this arises, we provide one-to-one tutoring for the child in accordance with the Read, Write, Inc scheme, to help them make rapid progress and once again be at the level of their group. Groups are taught by either teachers or teaching assistants who have had Read, Write, Inc phonics training; in utilising so many staff, we can ensure that groups are kept as small as possible and that the teaching the children receive is tailored to their needs. 


Children begin by learning the Set 1 sounds in a specific order. They also begin learning to blend sounds together to make words after learning the first 5 sounds, firstly through practising oral blending. Then, when they can blend independently, they progress on to reading green words.


As soon as children can read green words, they begin to read stories in their Read, Write, Inc sessions. Each storybook is matched to the sounds they can already read, which sets them up for success and helps to build their confidence with reading. It is through these storybooks that we teach children red words, which are irregular words that are not phonetically plausible and cannot be sounded out (Fred talked). Each storybook is taught in the same way, with children practising reading the green words in the story and also the red words, before they begin to read the book. Children will then read the book several times to help build their fluency and comprehension skills. 

How to help at home

Read to your child

Even if your child is not yet reading words, it is so important to read stories to them. The film below explains the benefits of reading to your child:

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There are also some things to think about when reading to your child:
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Fred Talk

To expose your child to the idea of blending sounds together to make words, break down the words of the simple vocabulary you often use at home. For example, “please pass me that c - u - p”, “let’s sit on the r - u - g”. This will help your child to practise their oral blending as they can repeat the sounds back to you and then say the word. 


Building vocabulary

Children need a rich vocabulary in order to develop high levels of comprehension. The more words your child has in their vocabulary, the more they will understand when they read. You could try using alternative words for things at home, rather than saying you are pleased that they have tidied their toys, you could say that you are delighted, ecstatic, overjoyed. Reading a variety of rich stories to your child will also increase their vocabulary. 


Reading with your child

Your child will bring home reading books to share with you:

  • a Book Bag Book which corresponds to the colour band they are on in Read, Write, Inc session.

  • a black and white version of the book they are reading in their Read, Write, Inc session (Green and upwards). 

  • a library book - a story for you to read to your child to help them develop a love of reading.

When helping your child to decode words at home, it’s really important to pronounce the sounds correctly. Here is a helpful guide to show you how we are teaching your child to pronounce the sounds:

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RWI Glossary:





Fred is a frog puppet we use in sessions. He can only speak in sounds. 

Fred Talk 

Sounding out a word, saying each of the sounds before blending.

Fred Fingers

‘Pinching’ each sound from a word on your fingers to help spell a word

Green words

Decodable words

Red words

Irregular words that cannot be sounded out

Story Green


 Decodable words that will be included in the storybook 

Speedy Green words

 Decodable words in the storybook that children should be able to read at speed rather than     Fred talking first.  

Fred in your Head

 Still sounding out a word but doing so in your head rather than out loud, helps build fluency. 

Special Friends

 Two or three letters working together to make one sound e.g. sh, ch, igh, air, a-e.