The ability to read and write is a key life skill that paves the way to success at school and in the world beyond. Read Write Inc. is the programme we use to teach children to read and write. Children learn phonemes (segments of sound) and the corresponding grapheme (the letter/s that represents the sound). Sounds are divided into 3 sets. In Reception children will learn Set 1 sounds and some Set 2 sounds; in Years 1 and 2 (Key Stage 1), children will secure Set 2 sounds and learn new Set 3 sounds.
Here is a list of Set 1, Set 2 and Set 3 sounds, in the order that they are taught:
To begin children are taught individual sounds daily during 'Speed Sounds' sessions. After these have been learnt, children begin to learn how to blend these sounds into words during regular 'Word Time' sessions. Word Time sessions are repeated while new sounds are learned and these are then incorporated into further Word Time sessions.
How can you help?
Please ask your child about their learning in phonics each day. This consolidates what they have learnt that day. It also helps them recognise that reading and writing are important in every part of their life, not just phonics.
You can also read more about our Phonics programme by visiting the Ruth Miskin website https://www.ruthmiskin.com/en/
How you can help your child at home
Teachers read aloud to children every day which develops their listening and comprehension skills. Our aim is to develop a passion and a love for reading high quality texts in our children. You can help with this by reading with your child each day at home. Read books with them so they develop their reading and comprehension skills and read to them so they hear what fluent reading sounds like.
'Green' words are phonetically decodable words that the children learn to read. They allow children to become fluent readers. Regular reading of these words ensures children are able to recognise/read them quickly. They can then use their knowledge of these words to read similar words more quickly.
Children learn the green words in accordance with the Set 1 sounds they are learning at that time.
Please find links to documents containing all the green words for each set below.
These are words that children will need to learn to sight-read because they contain parts that are not decodable. For example the word 'me' could be decoded as 'meh', but children must learn the correct pronunciation and spelling. They might only be red words until a specific sound is learnt or because people pronounce them differently in different parts of the country.
Nonsense words (also known as Alien words) are made-up words using a combination of sounds the children have learnt. Research has shown that incorporating nonsense words into teaching reading can be an effective way to establish blending and segmenting skills. However it is important to ensure that children understand that they are reading nonsense words (and why) so that they are not confused by trying to read the words for meaning. By reading nonsense words children develop their ability to decode individual sounds and then blend them together to read. They are an indicator of early reading skills and work as a quick, reliable and valid way of assessing children. However reading nonsense words is only a small part of the Read, Write Inc. phonics teaching.
Below you can find some examples of nonsense words for each stage of Read, Write Inc. Of course, any number of nonsense words exist and the following lists are only to give an idea of the kinds of words that might be used.
Fred is our Read, Write Inc. mascot/friend. He can only speak in sounds though, so we have to help him learn to say words, instead of sounds. For example Fred says 'c-a-t' instead of cat. We also teach him not to add 'uh' to our sounds in order to keep them pure. For example we say 'c' and not 'cuh'.
We use 'Fred Fingers' to help make the transition between oral sounding out and spelling with magnetic letters or on paper.
Firstly we count how many sounds we can hear:
"cat, c-a-t, 3 sounds".
Then we hold up that many fingers.
For each sound we use our other hand to squeeze a Fred Finger and say the sound
Watch out - words such as fish needs 3 Fred Fingers - "f-i-sh". Words such as flight need 4 Fred Fingers - "f-l-igh-t".
As children become more confident with their sounds and spelling words they will move away from using their Fred Fingers and instead rely on sounding out in their head.
Read, Write Inc. books
After children have learned enough sounds they will begin to read 'Ditty' books in their Read, Write Inc. lessons, as well as continuing Speedy Sounds and Word Time sessions. Ditty books contain 3 short stories that the children read and these stories are made up from green and red words.
Following Ditty books children continue to read groups of books that have been specially written to support progress through the scheme. These books follow their own colour scheme and do not tie in with the home/school reading book bands.
Each colour band contains 10 main books, with extra books to support non-fiction reading as well. Children are taught to read the 'green' and 'red' words at the beginning of each book, before checking understanding using the 'vocab check' page. The children also talk about the upcoming story to make links to their own experiences before reading the book, usually 3 times. The first time is to practise decoding the words, the second time is to practise expression and the third time is to read for comprehension. Each book focusses on a particular sound or set of sounds, allowing the children to practise the sounds that they have been learning most recently.
Writing in Read, Write Inc. sessions
A typical Read, Write Inc. session contains a mix of learning and practising sounds, reading and writing. Each of the coloured storybook bands have a matching 'Get Writing' book that contains activities that the adults can use to build on the reading activities the children will have completed. The activities are designed to support the learning of sentence structure and grammar but also developing vocabulary and generating ideas for writing. Activities often include:
Hold a sentence - listening to, orally repeating and then writing a sentence linked to the book they were reading.
Edit a sentence - correcting errors in a sentence, for example missing capital letters, punctuation and spelling mistakes.
Build a sentence - writing about a stimulus, often a picture from the storybook they were reading, for example filling in a speech bubble, completing a 'Wanted' poster or writing a simple recipe.
If you would like any further information regarding phonics at HPAPL, our Literacy Lead Miss Durrant and Read Write Inc. Lead Mr Kelman would be happy to help you.