Early Reading


Learning to read: Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2

At Newlands Primary School, we use a synthetic phonics programme called Read, Write, IncRead, Write, Inc. is a method of learning centred around letter sounds and phonics, blending them together to read and write words and using these learnt sounds in their reading and writing. Using Read, Write, Inc. the 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 focus on composing what they write.

The children in Reception to Year 2 are assessed and grouped according to their ability and they work with a teacher or teaching assistant in a small group.  The children are continuously assessed by the Reading Leader, to ensure that they move through the programme at a good pace.  At the end of each half term all children are assessed and then put into new groups according to their phonic knowledge and fluency when reading.

Children in Nursery take part in a bespoke Early Phonics programme which includes 10 minutes daily activities that include all games and focusing on listening and hearing sounds. It's all pre-skills children need to be able to start to learn Fred Talking and hearing initial sounds.




Word reading

Children learn a simple alphabetic code followed later by a more complex code. All reading books progress cumulatively, matched to the sounds children know.


Language comprehension

–           We help children to enjoy stories and poems from the minute they come into school. We know and love the books we read aloud, so children will want to hear the same story again and again.

–           We use similar emphases and intonation on each reading, so children can join in the retelling.

–    Our picture books are for all children, whether they can read or not. For those who are still learning to read, we help them retell the story. For children who are able to read, we encourage them to enjoy reading and to retell the story events.


Word Reading

–    We organise Read Write Inc. books and resources in a central area.

–    All books read in RWI lessons progress according to the children’s phonic knowledge and skills.

–    There are boxes of RWI book bag books for the children to take home.

–    All home reading books are decodable, linked with each stage of the children’s phonic knowledge.


Language Comprehension

–    Each RWI story book includes key comprehension questions.

–    As a staff, we share stories to children with love, confidence and enjoyment, every day.

–    We organise parent workshops to support parents and ensure that they understand how important story time is at home.



Word reading

We aim for Read Write Inc. phonics to be redundant for the majority of our children, by the end of the Autumn Term in Year 2.  However identified Year 2 and KS2 children who still require further support with phonics, also access RWI.


Language comprehension


–    know the importance of reading stories to their children every day

–    know how to engage children in stories when reading aloud.


–    know the importance of reading stories to their children at home

–    know how to read stories to their children

–    read with their children most evenings.


–    are able to read books in line with their phonic knowledge and with increasing fluency.

–    enjoy listening to stories and poems

–    can join in with many stories and poems

–    learn new vocabulary


Read, Write, Inc. Lessons


We begin by teaching the children set 1 sounds.  Children can start blending sounds into words as soon as they know a small group of letters well. Once the children have been taught the first 5 sounds (m, a, s, d, t), they are then taught assisted blending using the sounds that they know.  During lessons children are taught to hear sounds and blend them together in sequence to make a word.  We start with blending oral sounds, then progress to reading the letters and blending them together to read the word.

Order of teaching sounds

In Read Write Inc phonics the individual sounds are called ‘speed sounds’ –  because we want your child to read them effortlessly.  Set 1 sounds are the single letter sounds and set 1 special friend sounds. They are taught in the following order;

m, a, s, d, t, i, n, p, g, o, c, k, u, b, f, e, l, h, sh, r, j, v, y, w, th, z, ch, qu, x, ng, nk.

There are 12 Set 2 ‘speed sounds’ that are made up of two or three letters which represent just one sound, e.g.  ay as in play, ee as in tree and igh as in high.  These are ‘special friend’ sounds.

When children are taught Set 2 sounds they will learn:

  • a simple picture prompt linked to the sound
  • a short phrase to say e.g. may I play
  • the letters that represent a sound (special friends) e.g. ay

Each sound has a list of green words linked to it, so that the children have the opportunity to sound out and blend words containing the new sound they have been taught, for example, s-p-r-ay = spray.

When learning Set 3 speed sounds the children will be taught alternative sounds/graphemes, e.g. ee as in tree and ea as in tea.

The tables below show each sound, the associated phrase and example green words for set 1 special friend sounds, set 2 and 3 sounds and additional sounds that are taught.

Set 1 ‘Special Friend’ Sounds



Green words


Ship, shop,


Thing, thin,


Chip, chop, champ,


Queen, quack, quest


Thing on a string

Thing, string, ring, king


I think I stink

Stink, think, link, sink

Set 2 Sounds



Green words


May I play?

Day, say, play, tray, today


What can you see?

See, feel, need, sleep, three


Fly high

Night, fight, flight, high


Blow the snow

Show, blow, flow, snow


Poo at the zoo

Zoom, moon, food, cool


Look at a book

Look, book, good, hood


Start the car

Star, bar, car, start, cart


Shut the door

Sort, short, worn, horse


That’s not fair

Fair, hair, chair, stair


Whirl and twirl

Whirl, twirl, shirt, skirt


Shout it out

Mouth, found, shout, loud


Toy for a boy

Toy, boy, employ, joy

Set 3 Sounds



Green words


Make a cake

Make, cake, flake, bake


Cup of tea

Neat, real, clean, please


Nice smile

Hide, shine, white, nice


Phone home

Phone, bone, home, spoke


Huge brute

Tune, rude, June, perfume


Yawn at dawn

Saw, law, raw, straw


Share and care

Bare, spare, scare, flare


Nurse with a purse

Burn, turn, hurl, burp, lurk


Brown cow

Howl, down, brown, frown


Spoil the boy

Join, coin, voice, choice


Snail in the rain

Paint, train, rain, pain


e: he, she, me, be, we

He, she, we, be, me


Goat in a boat

Coat, throat, boat, float


Chew the stew

Flew, blew, crew, new


A better letter

Over, weather, never


Fire, fire!

Spire, conspire, hire, fire


Hear with your ear

Fear, dear, gear, spear


Sure it’s pure

Picture, mixture, adventure

Additional sounds



Green words


Come to the rescue!

Rescue, blue, glue, clue


Terrible tie!

Ties, tried, pie, lie


Paul the astronaut

Paul, August, author, pause


Go Steve and Pete!

Even, Steve, Pete, theme


Knock knock, who’s there?

Knight, knee, knock, knit, knot


Tick tock clock

Clock, pick, black, snack


Nonsense words (Alien words) 

As children build up their knowledge of sounds they are able to apply their decoding skills to any unfamiliar word, whether it be real or nonsense.  During lessons each day children will practice their decoding skills by sounding out nonsense words.  Children are unable to rely on existing knowledge of real words, and instead have to use their letter-sound knowledge. This is an important part of the Phonics Screening Check that the children complete at the end of year 1.

Learning to blend and Ditty Books

As soon as children have been taught a few initial letter sounds they begin to learn to blend the sounds together to read real words in a Word Time session.  Each word time session involves oral blending of known sounds before they are shown the words written down on green cards.  Children practice Fred talking the words until they become able to read them on sight.  Ditty lessons follow on from this where children who are becoming excellent at reading single words are introduced to reading short sentences.  Once children are confident reading the short sentences they are challenged to use their developing phonic knowledge to write a sentence.

Storybook Lessons 

After ditty books, the next stage is storybooks. These books are closely matched to their developing phonic knowledge.  The storybooks consist of green words linked to the sounds that they have been learning, red words and challenge words to extend the children’s vocabulary.  After children have practiced these words individually they are prepared to see them in context in the story.


After Read, Write, Inc.

After children have successfully completed the Read, Write, Inc Programme, they move to a bespoke programme called Power Reading where they put into practice their decoding of words, fluency and begin developing their reading comprehension more deeply that supports learning across the curriculum.