Phonics Leader - Ms Pattenden


Read Write Inc - High View Primary Learning Centre

At St Michael’s we aspire for all our children to become fluent, confident readers. Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible. We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves.


Reading regularly to children opens up so many doors to many magical 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
  • ·        Fostering a love of reading by reading to children daily, at home and at school
  • ·        Introducing children to a range of books including stories, non-fiction, books with repeating patterns, and poems.

We use Read Write Inc Phonics (RWI) to give your child the best possible start with their literacy.


Our Read Write Inc 'Reading Leader' is Ms Emma Pattenden


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.




When using Read Write Inc to read the children will:

  • ·        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-fiction books matched to their phonic knowledge.
  • ·        work well with partners.
  • ·        develop comprehension skills in stories by answering ‘Find It’ and ‘Prove It’ discussion questions.




When using Read Write Inc to write the children will:

  • ·        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 practise sentences out loud before they write.




The children work in pairs so that they:

  • ·        answer questions.
  • ·        practise every activity with their partner.
  • ·        take turns in talking and reading to each other.
  • ·        develop ambitious vocabulary.


How will my child be taught to read?

We start teaching phonics to the children in the Early Years. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters. We start by teaching them just one way of reading and writing every sound. To help your child remember their sounds, we say that some make a stretchy sound, and some make a bouncy sound. Stretchy sounds are said in one continuous sound, e.g., mmmmmmmmm as in mountain. Bouncy sounds are said with a short sharp gap in between, e.g., d-d-d as in d-d-d dinosaur. The Simple Speed Sounds chart below shows which sounds are stretchy sounds and which sounds are bouncy sounds.


The children are taught the set 1 sounds. We give children a hook to learn the sounds by using pictures in the same shape as the letter. Whilst the children are learning the Set 1 sounds, they learn a new one each day.


We teach the sounds in a way to make them easy to blend into a word. It is important to teach pure sounds and we want to eliminate the ‘uh’ at the end of the sound e.g m, not muh, l, not luh. If you follow this link, the video will explain in more detail. 

Parent video: How to say the sounds ( Special Friends - These are the sounds written with two or three letters (your child will call these ‘special friends’): sh, ch, ay, igh.


Set 1 Sounds are taught in the following order. Alongside learning to read each sound, children use a handwriting phrase linked to the picture mnemonic to learn to form each letter correctly. The rhymes help children to write the letters correctly and instantly recognise sounds ready for blending. Use these handwriting phrases when practising writing at home with your child.


Fred Talk

In school, we have a special frog called Fred. Fred can only say the sounds in a word and needs your child to help him read the word. Fred will say the sounds and children will work out the word. For example, Fred will say the sounds c–a–t, and children will say the word cat. This is Fred Talk: sounding out the word. This is how we quickly teach our children to blend orally. We practise blending orally so children will find word-reading easier. We play lots of Fred games and we will send a QR code to help practice this.

Click  to find out more.



Set 2 Sounds

The children are then taught Set 2 Sounds - the long vowels. Each sound has a picture and phrase to help your child remember the sound. For example: The sound ‘ay’ has the phrase ‘May I play?’ with a picture of children playing together.

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 from a boy


Once children are confident with all set 1 and set 2 sounds they will learn the 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 


Alien Words

Alien words are ‘nonsense words’ that the children must carefully FRED talk and blend to read the word. Research has shown that incorporating nonsense words into teaching reading can be an effective way to develop blending and segmenting skills. ‘Nonsense words’ are an important part of the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check taken at the end of Year 1.

Green Words

'Green' words are phonetically decodable words that the children learn to read. They allow children to become fluent readers because regular reading of these words mean that they become familiar and are able to recognise/read them on sight. They can then use their knowledge of these words to read similar words more quickly.

Red Words

Red words are sometimes known as ‘common exception words’ or ‘tricky’ words. These are words that children will need to learn on sight because they contain parts that are not decodable.


Spelling with 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 individual sounds. If a word has 3 sounds children hold up 3 fingers, 4 sounds 4 fingers etc. Children pinch 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. When children reach yellow Read Write Inc. storybooks, they will learn to trace the letters onto each finger and say the letter names.


How can I help at home?

Children should be reading a minimum of 5 times per week with a parent/family member at home. Parents should also be reading aloud favourite stories to children. 

Other online resources available:

Ruth Miskin Parents’ Page:

Parents guide to Read Write Inc: Parent guide to Read Write Inc. Phonics - Oxford Owl

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns. We are here to help.