Helping your child with Phonics

Early Reading at All Saints Academy

Read Write Inc

What is Phonics?

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:

    • Recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
    • Identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make – such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’;
    • Blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.

Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.

Why Phonics?

Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment. Children who have been taught phonics also tend to read more accurately than those taught using other methods, such as ‘look and say’. This includes children who find learning to read difficult, for example those who have dyslexia.

About our chosen early reading program: Read, Write, Inc.

Read Write Inc. Phonics is a whole-school approach to teaching literacy that creates fluent readers, confident speakers and willing writers. It integrates phonics with comprehension, writing, grammar, spelling and handwriting using engaging partner work and drama.

At All Saints Academy we have chosen to follow the Read Write Inc strategy to support Early Reading we use the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme to get children off to a flying start with their literacy.

Using RWI, 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 put all their energy into composing what they write.

When using RWI to read the children will:

    • Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts
    • Learn to read words using Fred Talk
    • Read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out
    • Show that they comprehend the stories by answering questions.

When using RWI to write the children will:

    • Learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent 44 sounds.
    • Learn to write words by saying the sounds in Fred Talk
    • Write simple sentences
What Read Write Inc looks like 

RWI Resources

Early Reading



Watch a video showing how to pronounce the 44 phonemes using pure sounds…

Click here to watch a video showing how to play Fred games to support blending sounds to form words…


Please watch the following video link to see and hear Tami Reis-Frankfort, reading specialist and trainer, as she demonstrates how to pronounce the sounds of the English Phonic Code, when teaching children to read with Synthetic Phonics.

Phonics Screening check: What is it?

The Phonics Screening Check is a test for children in Year 1. Children take it during June in a one-to-one setting with a teacher. This is usually their class teacher, but it could also be the headteacher or another teacher who knows the child well.

Whilst children learn phonics to help them with both word reading and spelling, the Phonics Screening Check only tests their skills at word reading. This is sometimes called decoding.

During the Phonics Screening Check, children are asked to read (decode) 40 words. Most of these words are real words but some are pseudo-words. Pseudo-words are included to ensure that children are using their decoding skills and not just relying on their memory of words they’ve read before. Because some children may misread these pseudo-words based on their similarity to words in their existing vocabulary, each pseudo-word is clearly identified with an image of an alien. Most teachers and children, therefore, refer to pseudo-words as alien words.

The test itself is divided into two sections. Section 1 is the easier part. In this section, children are asked to recognise simple word structures and Grapheme Phoneme Correspondences (GPCs) from the earlier phases of the phonics curriculum. In 2019, real words included in Section 1 were words like ‘shop’, ‘peel’ and ‘yell’.

Section 2 is the trickier part of the test. Here, children need to recognise GPCs from the later stages of the phonics curriculum. They also encounter graphemes that correspond to more than one phoneme (e.g. the grapheme ‘ea’ represents different phonemes in the words bread and bead.)

There is no time limit for the Phonics Screening Check, but it usually takes less than 10 minutes. Many schools use practice tests so children are accustomed to working one-to-one and reading unfamiliar words. Equally, many schools do not, as the daily phonics lessons in Year 1 already include reading both words and pseudo-words. Whichever approach is taken, most children reach the expected standard. If a child doesn’t meet the expected standard, their school will work with them to ensure they receive the phonics teaching and support they need. The child will then retake the Phonics Screening Check the following year.

2016 Phonics Screening Check Sheet.169651621

2017 Phonics Screening Test Check Sheet.169651621

2017 Phonics Screening Test.169651621

2018 Phonics Screening Test Check Sheet.169651621

2018 Phonics Screening Test.169651621

Phonics check.2015

Phonics check.2016




      •  Let your child see you read and read to them
      • Tell your child about interesting things that you have read in newspapers, magazines and books.
      • Visit the local library.
      • Visit bookshops.
      • Sit with your child every night and engage with them in their reading. Please make comments in their reading record book to assist the teachers.
      • Discuss with them about what they have read in the book.
      • Ask them to retell the story.
      • Talk about interesting words and identify words or interesting phrases that they might use in their writing.
      • Occasionally ask them to write the sequence of the story and identify characters



What is reading?

Reading is making meaning from print. It requires that we:

  • Identify the words in print – a process called word recognition
  • Construct an understanding from them – a process called comprehension
  • Coordinate identifying words and making meaning so that reading is automatic and accurate – an achievement called fluency.

As children move through EYFS and KS1, they develop their skills in decoding. By the time they reach KS2 most children have mastered their phonic skills and the balance moves towards making meaning from the text and developing fluency.

Our approach to teaching Reading at All Saints Primary School is through two main strands: ‘word reading and fluency’ and ‘comprehension’. We use a rigorous and consistent approach to the teaching of reading throughout school which builds upon prior learning as well as developing appropriate new skills.

Developing ‘Word reading’ and ‘Fluency.’

Within school we follow the Read Write Inc early reading program. Read Write Inc. Phonics teaches children to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension. They learn to form each letter, spell correctly, and compose their ideas step-by-step.

Children learn the English alphabetic code: first they learn one way to read the 40+ sounds and blend these sounds into words, then learn to read the same sounds with alternative graphemes.

They experience success from the very beginning. Lively phonic books are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words and, as children re-read the stories, their fluency increases.

Along with a thought-provoking introduction, prompts for thinking out loud and discussion, children are helped to read with a storyteller’s voice.

To find out more; here is a helpful insight into what Read Write Inc looks like in practise (Link to PowerPoint)

Developing comprehension skills.

Comprehension skills are split into eight separate types which link to the end of key stage content domains and national curriculum objectives. The eight comprehension skills are:

  1. Vocabulary
  2. Inference
  3. Prediction
  4. Explanation
  5. Retrieval
  6. Summarising
  7. Sequencing
  8. Comparing

What reading program do we follow in school?

As a school we teach guided reading through a whole class approach. This gives the children the opportunity to read independently, as a whole class, in pairs or in small groups. Children are able to listen to adult’s model reading correctly; using expression and intonation. Not only that, but children are able to discuss the text in detail; unpicking the finer details and having the opportunity to express and share their own opinions and thoughts about the text.

Benefits of whole class reading.

  • Children have the opportunity to encounter new words and enriching vocabulary – you experience words that would almost never come up in conversation.
  •  Helps children appreciate the beauty and rhythm of language
  • Children can enjoy and understand texts beyond their own reading ability.
  • Enhances imagination and observation skills
  • Improves critical and creative thinking skills
  • Expands a child’s general knowledge and understanding of the world
  • Empathy is developed as they make connections with the experiences of the characters in the text and with each other
  • Fluent, expressive reading is modelled
  • Enables them to make meaning from more complex texts
  • Conditions the brain to associate reading with pleasure
  • Plants a desire to read


“The whole class read, whether it’s a longer novel or a picture book, is an essential part of the Primary school classroom. It is one very important way that we can model our enthusiasm for reading and for books and create magic and excitement around the special joy of reading a good book. Adults enthusiasm for reading is one of the most important things as research shows that it has more of a positive effect on reading achievement and the life-long love of reading than any other reading intervention.” (Rupert Knight 2019).

Reading spines.

Each class has a defined set of core texts. This reading spine is intended to offer our children a core bank of texts that ensures they experience a range of high quality texts and authors during their time at school. Teachers use these in a range of ways, as whole class texts to share, during VIPERS sessions, as part of their literacy schemes and in connection with our topics.

Did you know?

If you can’t read 5% of words in a text the meaning becomes lost. This is why it is so important to read with your child to help them overcome unfamiliar or tricky words, so that they understand what they are reading.


Helpful documents:

How to support you child at home with reading.

Curriculum content.




Recommended Reads