St Alban's Catholic Primary School

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Read Write Inc Phonics

Pupils start Read Write Inc. Phonics when they enter Reception, we group children by their reading progress during RWI sessions. The sessions last up to one hour per day (20 to 45 minutes). We re-assess children every half term so we can place them in a group where they will make the most progress. One to one or small group sessions may be provided for some children. Staff shall also use ‘Pinny Time’ to revisit key sounds/words at incidental points throughout their school day.


RWI Phonics is presented in a simple but exciting format so that pupils can learn how to read and write sounds effortlessly. First we teach pupils the different pictures that relate to the sounds in the programme. This is introduced in Reception so that pupils are familiar with the images in preparation for further learning.  This is followed by learning one way to read and write the first 40+ sounds in English, using the pictures to help identify the different sounds.


We use a Frog called Fred to play ‘Fred Talk’ games to help with oral blending and to assist pupils when reading words by sound-blending. Fred says the sound and children help him blend the sounds to read each word. Then we teach the children different spellings of the same sounds and use phrases to help them remember each sound, for example, ‘may I play?’ accompanies the ay sound. We refer to speed sounds charts so that pupils can begin to make connections between the different graphemes they are learning to represent the sounds.


We want pupils to work together so teamwork is a key part of the RWI sessions. Partner work is very important; the teacher observes and checks what they know and only moves on when pupils are ready.


Pupils are introduced to new characters and words along with the tricky ‘red words’ prior to reading a RWI text. We want them to get excited about the story. They then read the book at least three times before taking a book (matched to their reading ability) home; where they should then be able to share the story confidently with some expression or a ‘storyteller’ voice. Within each colour block of RWI phonics, storybooks and two additional non-fiction books are provided with plans to use in sessions. Other linked story books or additional texts may be shared with the pupils in school and at home but we would not expect pupils to read these independently.


Some pupils may require some additional revision of the sounds or blending these together to read words and will take part in additional support sessions following the RWI programme. 


This programme has writing activities which are linked to the storybooks at every level, as well as handwriting activities. They include many structured activities such as ‘Build a sentence’ to help children become better writers. Every day, children develop and share ideas through partner work. They think out loud before they write to help them hold more complex ideas and sentences. The ten-minutes-a-day approach to teaching spelling covers the entire spelling requirements of the current Grammar, punctuation and spelling test.


How do we develop the home school reading partnership?


There is a set of progressive books for each colour band on the RWI phonics programme. Relating to each focus book is a ‘book bag’ book. In RWI groups, pupils will be issued with their focus books or a book bag book to take home. The pupils will have just finished reading this/similar book in their group and they will be able to read it confidently having read it two or three times already in class. We want children to look forward to sharing these books with someone at home.