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Early Reading - Phonics

At Balliol Primary, we teach early reading through the Read Write Inc Phonics Programme. 


What is Read Write Inc?

Read Write Inc (RWI) is a literacy programme which helps all children learn to read and write. The programme is carefully structured to teach and build vocabulary, reading and writing skills. By developing fluent readers who read accurately and with automaticity, pupils will be able to focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling.  



In Nursery, our children begin working on:

  • Sound discrimination – environmental and instrumental sounds
  • Body percussion – to develop awareness of sounds and rhythms
  • Rhythm and rhyme
  • Alliteration – focusing on initial sounds of words
  • Voice sounds – distinguishing between different vocal sounds
  • Oral blending and segmenting


In addition, we use the Over and Over Programme to reinforce Phase 1 phonics by developing the children's speaking and listening skills.  This ensures that our children are attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills.  This ensures that our children experience regular, planned opportunities to listen carefully and talk extensively about what they hear, see and do. These aspects continue to run alongside Read Write Inc in Reception and Key Stage 1.



In Reception and Key Stage 1, we use Read Write Inc to ensure through systematic teaching of synthetic phonics, children quickly learn how to blend sounds together and apply this to reading phonics books at an appropriate level for them individually.


Reading with Read Write Inc

Our children learn the English alphabetic code.

First, they learn one way to read the 40+ sounds and blend these sounds into words.  Then they learn to read the same sounds with alternative graphemes. We systematically teach our children the relationship between these sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them.

We teach the skills of decoding new words by sounding words out (Fred talking) and combining or ‘blending’ the sound-spelling patterns. This ensures that our children have a solid phonics knowledge  to build on in their journey to becoming fluent readers.

Every child is encouraged to read text for meaning, with three readings of each story to ensure that each story is understood and read with fluency and expression.

Their Phonic books are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words and, as children re-read the stories, their fluency increases.

The children are grouped by ‘stage not age’.  However, these groups are fluid, as the children are regularly  assessed.  


Writing with Read Write Inc

The children write every day, rehearsing out loud what they want to say, before spelling the words using the graphemes and ‘tricky’ words they know.

They practise handwriting every day by sitting at a table comfortably and learning the correct letter formation.  In Year 2, they begin to learn how to join letters speedily and legibly.

Children’s composition (ideas, vocabulary and grammar) is developed by drawing on their own experiences and talking about the stories they read.


For those children who are below age-related expectations:

Through quality first teaching, we ensure that pupils ‘keep up not catch up’. However, any pupils who are falling behind the phonic programme’s pace receive immediate targeted support. We identify gaps by using a sounds analysis tracker and support is provided to enable children to keep up, through 1:1 fast track tutoring or by independently watching virtual classroom RWI videos. 






Staff Subject knowledge:

Every member of staff has had Read Write Inc training from an external Read Write Inc provider (Spring 2023). Also, training from the Local Authority, support from the English Hub, coaching and mentoring cycles, practise sessions and phonics learning walks ensure that all staff have a clear understanding of how pupils learn to read and the expertise in the teaching of phonics and reading. All teachers and teaching assistants ensure that their own speaking, listening, writing and reading of English supports pupils in developing their language and vocabulary well. This ensures consistency in teaching and learning from one year to the next.