Reading opens the door to learning. A child who reads a lot will become a good reader. A good reader will be able to read more challenging material. A child who reads challenging material is a child who will learn. The more a child learns, the more he or she will want to find out.

At North Ealing Primary School we use the Read Write Inc (RWI) Phonics programme to get children off to a flying start with their literacy. RWI is a method of learning centred around learning letter sounds (phonics) and then blending them together to read words. Children also learn to break down words into individual sounds in order to write them. Words which cannot be phonetically taught are known as ‘red words’ and are learnt through sight recognition. Teachers also provide children with a variety of weekly reading books that match their phonic knowledge.

Using RWI Phonics, children learn to read effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into comprehending what they read. It also allows them to spell effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into composing what they write.

This phonics programme is used throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. The programme also benefits older children in the school who require it.

When using RWI to read the children will:

  • Learn to read effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into understanding what they read.
  • Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts.
  • Learn to read words using Fred Talk (sounding out).
  • Learn to read words by blending the sounds together.
  • Read lively stories featuring words they have learnt to sound out.
  • Show that they understand the stories by answering ‘Find It’ and ‘Prove it’ discussion questions.

When using RWI to write the children will:

  • Spell effortlessly so that they can put their energy into working out what they want to write.
  • Learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds (graphemes).
  • Learn to write words by saying the sounds in Fred Talk: sounding out the word.
  • Learn to write simple and then increasingly complex sentences.


Children learn to read words by blending the letter sounds that are in the Speed Sound sets. Your child’s teacher will inform you which sounds your child is learning so that you can practise them at home. Help your child to say the sounds correctly and help them learn to read words by sound-blending e.g. c-a-t = cat.

Use the link below for further information about the RWI phonics programme. This website also provides lots of resources to support phonics at home and will help you with the correct pronunciation of letter sounds.

Oxford Owl – Click here

Phonics lessons begin during the spring term in Nursery and following baseline assessments in Reception for those who join from other settings.

Phonics lessons continue throughout Reception and Year 1 when children are exposed to more complex phonemes, RWI Set 2 and 3 sounds such as ‘ay’ in ‘stay’ and ‘ee’ in ‘see’. Pupils are taught that these sounds are called ‘Special Friends’ such as /air/ in ‘fair’ as two or three work together to make one sound. In order to help children decode each word, dots (for single sounds) and dashes (for digraphs and trigraphs) are marked under words.

The ‘Phonics Screening Check’ is taken individually by all children in Year 1 and is designed to give feedback to teachers and parents on how each child is progressing in Phonics. Pupils are asked to read 20 real words and 20 pseudo words, known to the children as ‘alien words’, in order to ensure children are decoding the words instead of memorising or guessing. ‘Alien words’ are introduced to children in Reception.

The Simple View of Reading theory underpins our approach to early reading according to which confident readers have the ability to:

  • decode a word
  • comprehend the meaning of each word they read

The absence of any of the above skills will result in a child having week reading skills.

North Ealing ensures all children have explicit phonics lessons throughout their first three years at school, starting from Nursery in order to ensure they have enough time to become secure with their decoding skills.

Phonics teaching is accompanied by Read Write Inc ‘Grapheme, Phoneme, Correspondence’ ditty books which are read in buddy-reading pairs and during Guided Reading with the teacher.

These books correspond to the sound that is currently being learned. ‘Read Write Inc Home books’ are sent home to further consolidate the learned sound and increase pupils’ success with reading.

Gradually, pupils are exposed to a variety of texts which build their comprehension skills and their vocabulary throughout the curriculum. As a result of this, children become confident readers early on and shift from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn.’