Shay Lane Primary School

Read, Write Inc -

Information for Parents/Carers, including answers to questions you may have.

Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.

We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.


What is Read Write Inc?

At Shay Lane Primary School we believe that reading is the most important skill that children learn at school. Reading is the key to future success.

Read Write Inc. (RWI) teaches synthetic phonics in a structured and exciting way. Children will start the scheme during the final term of Nursery and will work through the scheme until they can read confidently, fluently and with good comprehensive understanding. The scheme also supports children’s writing, giving them the tools to spell and compose (Please see our 'Writing' page for more information on writing through our school). Further information about RWI can be found at


RWI Videos







What is synthetic phonics?

When your child is learning to read there are two crucial aspects to learn:
– the sounds represented by written letters
– how to blend the sounds together to make words.

Synthetic Phonics is a way of teaching reading.

Children are taught to read letters or groups of letters by saying the sound(s) they represent; for example, they are taught that the letter 'l' sounds like llllll when we say it. Children can then start to read words by blending the sounds together to make a word. There are 26 letters of the alphabet but they make 44 sounds. Please take some time to watch the following video to ensure you have the correct pronunciation of each sound. 


Who is Fred?

Fred is a (toy) frog and Fred can’t read! He can only say words in pure sounds. We use ‘Fred talk’ to help blend the sounds together in words to help Fred to read. We then move onto ‘Fred in your head’ to increase our fluency.

The children can’t use the skill of ‘Fred Talk’ or ‘Fred in your head’ for all words, as some do not follow the phonics rule. For example, ‘the’ ‘are’ and ‘some’. Therefore, these are taught as Red words within Read, Write, Inc. We teach them as sight words and the more children are exposed to them, the more they are instilled in their long term memory.


The following video is an example of blending sounds with Fred.



How is RWI taught?

All children are assessed regularly by our RWI lead.  From these assessments, children are grouped into stages where they work alongside their peers on the same stage. 



The children are taught the sounds in 3 sets.


Step 1:

Set 1 Sounds are taught in the following order together with rhymes to help children form the letters correctly and instantly recognise sounds ready for blending.

Please see the attached file for Set 1 Sounds: 

* Set 1 *

At this stage we do not use the letter names

Use the link below to support your pronunciation of sounds correctly.


Step 2:

The children are then taught Set 2 Sounds - the long vowels. When they are very confident with all of set 1 and 2 they are taught Set 3 Sounds.

Please see the attached file for Set 2 and Set 3 Sounds: 

* Set 2 and Set 3 *

Nonsense words (Alien words)- What 'a load' or nonsense!       

As well as learning to read and blend real words, children will have many opportunities to apply their sound recognition skills on reading ‘Nonsense words’. 'These words provide endless opportunities for children to apply and practice their decoding skills, which will further aid their ability to read unfamiliar words they may come across in the future. 


Step 3:

In each RWI session/focus book, children will be exposed to red and green words. Red words are words that are not easily or not at all decodable, and will extend children’s vocabulary. Green words are linked to the sounds they have been learning and are easily decodable.

During the sequence of RWI sessions, children will read their storybook several times and at each new reading, they will have plenty of opportunities to practise using their developing comprehension skills.

Your child may put dashes underneath some words to represent certain sounds. 

At some point in your child's reading journey, you may have heard them repeating a familiar phrase: ‘hold, edit or build a sentence’. 'Hold a sentence' is a taught skill that encourages children to remember a whole sentence while focusing on key spelling and punctuation rules. The skill of holding a sentence acts as a preconditional skill to early writing. 

'Build a sentence' is the next step in learning to write and gives children the creativity to create their own sentence. This also allows children to consolidate the meaning of a word and put it into context. The children then complete a piece of independent writing at the end of a unit. Children are taught the importance of reading back their work to check for errors, along with the skill of editing their writing. 

Reading and writing work hand-in-hand in furthering your child's literacy skills. For more information about our whole school writing approach, please see the 'writing' curriculum page.


Common Questions 

How will my child be taught to read? 

We start by teaching phonics to the children in the Reception class. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters. Ask them to show you what these are.

The children also practise reading (and spelling) what we call ‘tricky words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’.

The children practise their reading with books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. They start thinking that they can read and this does wonders for their confidence.

The teachers read to the children, too, so the children get to know all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. They learn many more words this way and it also helps their writing.


How will I know how well my child is doing? 

We will always let you know how well your child is doing.

We use various ways to find out how the children are getting on in reading. We use the information to decide what reading group they should be in. Your child will work with children who are at the same reading level as him or her. Children will move to a different group if they are making faster progress than the others. Your child will have one-to-one support if we think he or she needs some extra help to keep up.

We also use a reading test so that we can make sure that all our children are at the level that they should be for their age compared to all the children across the country.

In the summer term, the government asks us to do a phonics check of all the Year 1 children. That gives us extra information about their progress. We will talk to you about how well your child has done, and especially if we have any worries at all.


How long will it take to learn to read well?

By the end of Year 2, your child should be able to read aloud books that are at the right level for his or her age. In Year 3 we concentrate more on helping children to understand what they are reading, although this work begins very early on. This happens when the teacher reads to the children and also when the children read their own story book.


How do I know the teaching will be good? 

All the staff have been trained to teach reading in the way we do it in this school. We believe that it is very important that all the teachers and teaching assistants work in the same way. Senior teachers watch other teachers teaching to make sure that the children are learning in the way we want them to learn.

If you are worried about the teaching or you have any questions, please come to school and talk to us.


What can I do to help? Is there anything that I shouldn't do? 

You will be invited to a meeting so that we can explain how we teach reading. Please come and support your child. We would very much like you to know how to help.

Your child will bring different sorts of books home from school. It helps if you know whether this is a book that your child can read on their own or whether this is a book that you should read to them. The teacher will have explained which is which. Please trust your child’s teacher to choose the book(s) that will help your child the most.

Help your child to sound out the letters in words and then to ‘push’ the sounds together to make a whole word. Try not to refer to the letters by their names. Help your child to focus on the sounds. You can hear how to say the sounds correctly at this link:

Sometimes your child might bring home a picture book that they know well. Please don’t say, ‘This is too easy.’ Instead, encourage your child to tell you the story out loud; ask them questions about things that happen or what they think about some of the characters in the story.

We know parents and carers are very busy people. But if you can find time to read to your child as much as possible, it helps him or her to learn about books and stories. They also learn new words and what they mean. Show that you are interested in reading yourself and talk about reading as a family. You can find out about good stories to read to your child here: 


Does it matter if my child misses a lesson or two?

It matters a lot if your child misses school. The way we teach children to read is very well organised, so even one missed lesson means that your child has not learnt something that they need to know to be a good reader.


What if he or she finds it difficult to learn to read? 

We want children to learn to read, however long it takes us to teach them. We will find out very quickly if your child is finding reading difficult. First, we move children to a different group, so that we can make sure that they have learnt what they need to know. If they still struggle, we give them extra time with an adult, on their own. These adults are specially trained to support these children. Your child will still be in the same group with the other children and won’t miss out on any of the class lessons.

If we have any serious worries about your child’s reading, we will talk to you about this. 

Some children take a bit longer to learn to put sounds together to read a word, e.g. c-a-t to make the word ‘cat’. At our meeting, we will explain how you can help your child to do this.


What if my child turns out to be dyslexic?

The way we teach reading is especially helpful for children who might be dyslexic. This is because we use a very well-organised programme that has a strong focus on phonics. This is very important for children who find learning to read difficult. If you are worried about your child, please come and talk to us.


My child has difficulty pronouncing some sounds. Will this stop him learning to read through phonics?

This isn’t a problem for learning to read as long as we know what sound the child is trying to say. This is not something to worry about. Many children have a few sounds that they can hear clearly but find it difficult to say, particularly the l-sound, r-sound, w-sound, th-sound, s-sound, sh-sound and j-sound. Often they say a t-sound for the c-sound; "tttssh" for the s-sound; "w" for the r-sound and "r" for the l-sound. You can help your child by encouraging him or her to look at your mouth when you say the sound. Whatever you do, do not make your child feel a failure. They can easily learn to read, even if they find one or two sounds difficult to say.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns. We are here to help.

Home Reading

Please watch the videos below to help you know how to listen to your child read their Read, Write Inc book.


Parent/Carer Website Links