At Gawthorpe, we teach phonics using the Read.Write.Inc phonics programme. Read. Write. Inc. is a rigorous, research-informed approach to phonics that gives children the best chance of learning the essential knowledge and skills that form the foundation of reading. Read. Write.Inc is carefully sequenced, ensuring that children are clearly taught all of the most important aspects of the code required for fluent reading. Where required, systematic interventions based on the Read.Write.Inc approach are used to ensure that all children have the best chance of success in learning to read.

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 are assessed and grouped according to their ability and they work with a teacher or teaching assistant in a small group. The Reading Leader ensures that children move through the programme at a good pace and continuously assesses the children. 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.

Phonically controlled books (sometimes called decodables) that are precisely matched to the Read.Write.Inc phonics programme are employed throughout Reception and Year 1 as part of children’s daily reading diet. Children take home phonically controlled books each week to practise their decoding alongside a book of their choice from the reading corner of their classroom to be shared with their parents/carers.

How Read.Write.Inc Works

The children:

  • learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts – see below
  • learn to read words using Fred talk and sound blending
  • read from a range of storybooks and non-fictions books matched to their phonic knowledge
  • work well with partners
  • develop comprehension skills in stories by answering ‘Find It’ and ‘Prove It’ discussion questions


The children:

  • learn to write and form the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds with the help of fun phrases
  • learn to write words by using Fred Talk
  • learn to build sentences by practising sentences out loud before they write


The children

  • They work in pairs so that they:
  • answer every question
  • practise every activity with their partner
  • take turns in talking and reading to each other
  • develop ambitious vocabulary


Five key principles underpin the teaching in all Read Write Inc. sessions:   

Purpose – know the purpose of every activity and share it with the children, so they know the one thing they should be thinking about

Participation – ensure every child participates throughout the lesson. Partnership work is fundamental to learning

Praise – ensure children are praised for effort and learning, not ability

Pace – teach at an effective pace and devote every moment to teaching and learning

Passion – be passionate about teaching so children can be engaged emotionally.


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
Sound Phrase Green Words
sh ship, shop
th thing, thin
ch chip, chop, champ
qu queen, quack, quest
ng Thing on a string thing, string, ring, king
nk I think I stink stink, think, link, sink
Set 2 Sounds
Sound Phrase Green Words
ay May I play? day, say, play, tray, today,
ee What can you see? see, feel, need, sleep, three
igh Fly high night, fight, flight, high
ow Blow the snow show, blow, flow, snow
oo Poo at the zoo zoom, moon, food, cool
oo Look at a book look, book, good, hood
ar Start the car star, bar, car, start, cart
or Shut the door sort, short, worn, horse
air That’s not fair fair, hair, chair, stair
ir Whirl and twirl whirl, twirl, shirt, skirt
ou Shout it out mouth, found, shout, loud
oy Toy for a boy toy, boy, employ, joy
Set 3 Sounds
Sound Phrase Green Words
a-e Make a cake make, cake, flake, bake
ea Cup of tea neat, real, clean, please
i-e Nice smile hide, shine, white, nice
o-e Phone home phone, bone, home, spoke
u-e Huge brute tune, rude, June, perfume
aw Yawn at dawn saw, law, raw, straw
are Share and care bare, spare, scare, flare
ur Nurse with a purse burn, turn, hurl, burp, lurk
ow Brown cow howl, down, brown, frown
oi Spoil the boy join, coin, voice, choice
ai Snail in the rain paint, train, rain, pain
e He, she, me, be, we he, she, we, be, me
oa Goat in a boat foat, throat, boat, float
ew Chew the stew Flew, blew, crew, new
er A better letter over, weather, never
ire Fire, fire spire, conspire, hire, fire
ear Hear with your ear fear, dear, gear, spear
ure Sure it’s pure picture, mixture, adventure
Additional Sounds
Sound Phrase Green Words
ue Come to the rescue rescue, blue, glue, clue
ie Terrible tie ties, tried, pie, lie
au Paul the astronaut Paul, August, author, pause
e-e Go Steve and Pete even, Steve, Pete, theme
kn Knock knock, who’s there? knight, knee, knock, knit, knot
ck Tick tock clock clock, pick, black, snack