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Phonics Curriculum Statement

What is Phonics?

Phonics is the method of teaching reading through the identification of sounds and graphemes.

All words are made up of individual sounds. These sounds are merged together to form words.

e.g. in ‘mat’ we have the sounds ‘m’, ‘a’, ‘t’, ship – ‘sh’, ‘i’, ‘p’.

A grapheme is another name for the letters we use to write the sound. The spelling of that sound on the page.

The new National Curriculum ensures that all children are taught Phonics systematically.

This gives your children the tools to read any word.


What is Read Write Inc?

At Captain Webb, we use Read, Write, Inc. an inclusive synthetic phonic programme to teach our children to read, to write and to spell. We have adopted this as our whole school approach as the programme facilitates a graduated and tailored approach to learning basic sounds and letter formation before advancing to more complex sounds and reading for comprehension.  The programme moves with integrity from learning to read to reading to learn.


This video, taken from the Ruth Miskin website, explains the scheme in more detail:


Teaching Phonics at Captain Webb

We start teaching the programme in your child’s Reception year and then continue until they have worked their way through the whole reading scheme. Our aim is for all children to complete the programme by the end of the first half term of Year 2. Those children who have not reached the expected level by the time they leave KS1 will continue to access the RWI programme and receive additional targeted intervention to ensure they catch up with their peers.

RWI is taught through daily phonic lessons where we teach sounds, children practise reading and spelling words containing these sounds, then we give children decodable books containing sounds and words they can read. They read each Storybook four times at school and again with you at home

We assess all children on the scheme every 4 weeks, to ensure that they are placed in the appropriate group for their reading ability. This also allows us to quickly identify any children who need some support to access the learning at the level of the group. If this arises, we provide one-to-one tutoring for the child in accordance with the Read, Write, Inc scheme, to help them make rapid progress and once again be at the level of their group. Groups are taught by either teachers or teaching assistants who have had Read, Write, Inc phonics training; in utilising so many staff, we can ensure that groups are kept as small as possible and that the teaching the children receive is tailored to their needs.

To find out more information on the half termly progress expectations for Phonics, please click on the link below.I

In Reception, children begin by learning the Set 1 sounds. 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.

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For the set 1 handwriting rhymes please click on this link.

They also begin learning to blend sounds together to make words after learning the first 5 sounds, firstly through practising oral blending, also known as Fred Talk. Then, when they can blend independently, they progress on to reading green words.

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As soon as children can read green words, they begin to read stories in their Read, Write, Inc sessions. Each storybook is matched to the sounds they can already read, which sets them up for success and helps to build their confidence with reading. Each colour set also contains 5 non-fiction texts

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It is through these storybooks that we teach children red words, which are irregular words that are not phonetically plausible and cannot be sounded out (Fred Talked). Each storybook is taught in the same way, with children practising reading the green words in the story and also the red words, before they begin to read the book. Children will then read the book several times to help build their fluency and comprehension skills.

Order of Story books: Children will hopefully follow the order listed below. The expectation is that all children will leave Year One as confident speedy readers, ready to take on the challenges of Year Two. However, some children may need extra support and your teacher will talk to you about this.

Books                                    Green Words in Books

Red Ditty 1-10

Green 1-10

Purple 1-10

Pink 1-10

Orange 1-12

Yellow 1-10

Blue 1-10

Grey 1-13

When the children move on to Green story books, they will begin to learn Set 2 Sounds – the long vowels. When they are very confident with all of set 1 and 2 they are taught Set 3 Sounds.

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Speed Sounds Set 3

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Nonsense Words also known as alien Words

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 also known as alien words’. These words will also feature heavily in the Year One Phonics Screening check in the summer term.

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To find out more about the Year 1 Phonics Screening check please click on this link.



Spelling will only start in Reception when children are ready to write and form their letters.  Children will use first use ‘Fred fingers’ to first sound out a word before they write it down.  Children learn how to spell rather than just get tested. Furthermore, this way of teaching spellings allows children to use Fred fingers whenever they get stuck with spelling a word. Children pinch each sound on fingers before writing the word.

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What can you do to help?


1. Use pure sounds, not letter names

We teach using pure sounds. We pronounce the sounds clearly, using pure sounds (‘m’ not’ muh’, ’s’ not ‘suh’, etc.) so that your child will be able to blend the sounds together to make words more easily. To hear how to pronounce sounds correctly, watch the following video.


2. Use Fred Talk to read and spell words (see above)

3. Listen to your child read their Storybook every day.

4. Read aloud a variety of stories to your child every day.

Our school library has a wonderful selection of picture books, speak to our admin team about loaning out books to read at home.

You can access online resources (see below) where there are tips and videos to give you more information  to help you to understand more about Phonics, Read Write Inc. and how to practise reading and writing with your child at home.


Online resources available


Ruth Miskin Parents’ Page:   

Ruth Miskin Facebook:         

Free e-books for home reading:

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