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Phonics at South Bank Primary

Children who read regularly or are read to regularly have the opportunity to open the doors to so many different worlds!  More importantly, reading will give your child the tools to become independent life-long learners.


We can achieve this together through:

• Read Write Inc, a program to help to your child read at school.

• Encouraging children to develop a love of books by reading to them daily, at home and at school.

• Giving children access to a wide range of books at school and at home.


At South Bank Primary we use Read Write Inc Phonics (RWI) to give your child the best possible start with their literacy.


What is Read Write Inc?

Read Write Inc (RWI) is a phonics complete literacy programme which helps all children learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling. The programme is designed for children aged 4-7. However, at South Bank Primary we will continue teaching RWI to children beyond the age of 7 if they still need support in their reading.


How will RWI be taught?

All children are assessed regularly by our Reading Lead to ensure children work at the appropriate level. This allows complete participation in lessons. Reception In Reception all children will learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down.



The children:

  • learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts
  • 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
  • develop comprehension skills in stories by answering 'Find It' and 'Prove It' discussion questions



We use pure sounds (‘m’ not’ muh’,’s’ not ‘suh’, etc.) so that your child will be able to blend the sounds into words more easily. At school we use a puppet called Fred who is an expert on sounding out words! we call it, ‘Fred Talk’. E.g. m-o-p, c-a-t, m-a-n, sh-o-p, b-l-a-ck.



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 


Year One & Year Two

Children follow the same format as Reception but will work on complex sounds and read books appropriate to their reading level. Daily sessions of RWI phonics last for 45 minutes. The RWI strategies are then applied in daily English lessons in class.


As well as learning to read and blend real words children will have plenty of opportunities to apply their sound recognition skills on reading ‘Nonsense words’. These words will also feature heavily in the Year One Phonics Screening check in the summer term.


Phonics Screening Check

The phonic screening check is a statutory assessment for all children in Year 1

  • It will take place in June
  • It comprises of a list of 40 words ( 20 real and 20 nonsense)
  • In previous years expectations from the government are that children should achieve 32 out of 40 to reach the expected level.
  • The check will take up to 10 minutes per pupil
  • Children who do not achieve the expected level at the end of Y1 must be reconsidered for a retake in Y2
  • Support has been put in place to assist all our pupils to achieve their best outcomes.
  • The school will report the result of your child’s score out of 40 by the end of the summer term.


Phonics works best when children are given plenty of encouragement and learn to enjoy reading and books.

Parents play a very important part in helping with this. Some simple steps to help your child learn to read through phonics:

Step 1 – identify ‘special friends’ (children are allowed to underline the sounds)

Step 2 – Fred talk the sounds (say each sound separately)

Step 3 – read the word (blend sounds together) ➢ Use the speed sounds chart. Point to a sound and ask your child to say the sound.

  • Choose different sounds to display at home that your child is unfamiliar with. Use the sound phrases first to identify the sound and then move onto just saying the correct sound.
  • You can then highlight these sounds when you read with your child.
  • Practise a mixture of real and nonsense words for your child to practice. See example phonics screening check above.
  • Make up nonsense words and ask your child to read. Then ask your child to make up a nonsense word for you to read.
  • With all books, encourage your child to ‘sound out’/’Fred talk’ unfamiliar words and then blend the sounds together from left to right rather than looking at the pictures to guess. Once your child has read an unfamiliar word you can talk about what it means and help him or her to follow the story.
  • Try to make time to read with your child every day. Grandparents and older brother or sisters can help, too. Encourage your child to blend the sounds all the way through a word.
  • Word games like ‘I-spy’ can also be an enjoyable way of teaching children about sounds and letters. You can also encourage your child to read words from your shopping list or road signs to practise phonics.
  • Lots of Fred talk at home!!

What is phonics?