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The school prioritises the teaching of early reading. As soon as pupils start, the school
checks what phonic knowledge pupils already have. From Reception through to Year 2, pupils receive daily phonics lessons based on an ambitious programme. These lessons are delivered by well-trained staff. 

OFSTED November 2023


Read, Write Inc

At St John's Church of England Primary School we use Read Write Inc to teach children phonics. Once children have completed the programme they move on to Phonics Readers which allows books to be matched the assessed reading level. For further information on reading after RWI please see our reading section.

This video, taken from the Ruth Miskin website, explains the scheme in more detail:


When using RWI to read the children will:

  • Learn sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple prompts

  • Learn to read words using sound blending (Fred talk)

  • Read lively stories featuring words they have learnt to sound out

  • Show that they comprehend the stories by answering 'Find It' and 'Prove It'



When using RWI to write the children will:

  • Learn to write the letter/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds

  • Learn to write words by saying the sounds and graphemes (Fred fingers)


Help your child learn to read words by sounding-blending (Fred talk) eg. c-a-t = cat, sh-o-p = shop. Children learn to read words by blending the letter-sounds that are in the Speed Sounds set (shown further down the page).

Help your child to say the pure sounds ('m' not 'muh', 's' not 'suh' etc.) as quickly as they can, and then blend the sounds together to say the whole word.


Reading Books Sent Home

Children in Reception who are learning the first letter sounds and are not blending fluently will bring home sound sheets  and a library book for you to read with them.

Once children can blend fluently and recognise set 1 sounds they will bring home Ditty sheets or a red Ditty book. 


Read Write Inc Books

Please encourage your child to read though the speed sounds page first, then the green and red words page and then check your child understands the meaning of words on the vocabulary check page, before they start reading the book. Your child will have read this book at least three times before they bring it home. They should be able to read this book with fluency and expression by the time they bring it home and they should have a good comprehension of what the book is about. At the back of the book are find it/prove it questions for you to do with your child. 

Finally, don't worry if your child is struggling at first with their sounds and words, they will get there in their own time. If you have time (we know it is very precious!), we would urge you to try and read stories to your child before they go to bed. This will help develop a wider vocabulary which makes a vast difference to their quality of writing but it will also encourage them to enjoy a good story.

Glossary of Terms:


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 words 

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, i-e. 

Common Exception Words

By the end of KS1 and KS2 the children are expected to be able to spell almost all of the common exception words accurately within their independent writing.

Common exception words are words in which the English Spelling code works in an unusual or uncommon way.

They are not words for which phonics 'doesn't work', but they may be exceptions to spelling rules, or words which use a particular combination of letters to represent sound patterns in a rare or unique way.


Common exception words are words that do not follow the common phonetic spelling rules children learn. Many of these exception words are used frequently, hence the use of 'common' in the name.

Children are normally introduced to common exception words in their first year of school.  e.g. because, hour, grass

You can download Common Exception Words for your child in the folder below. 


There are lots of websites available to help your child with their phonics:

Phonics play 

ICT games

Family learning 

Read daily

New books can be found here They are free once you register.


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