Read Write Inc (RWI) phonics

Read Write Inc (RWI) Phonics

Phonics at Oaklands School 

At Oaklands School we use Read Write Inc Phonics (RWI) to give all students the best possible learning opportunity to learn, develop and apply phonics knowledge.  Mrs Williams is our Read Write Inc lead teacher, so if you have questions about RWI, contact school who can refer you to her.

Understanding Phonics

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.  Students at Oaklands will have learnt from various phonics programmes depending on which Primary school they attended. However, at Oaklands, we assess the students on arrival then group them accordingly. We continue teaching RWI to students up to Year 12 and even if they are confident with all 3 sets of sounds  then they are challenged even further to develop SPAG (Spelling, punctuation and grammar) skills.

RWI was developed by Ruth Miskin and more information on this can be found at

Parent video: What is Read Write Inc Phonics

Reading at Oaklands School

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

Writing at Oaklands School

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

Talking at Oaklands School

The children:

  • 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

Read Write Inc Progression of skills


Progressing through the stages

Children in Early Years are introduced to initial sounds. Children then begin to learn how to 'read' the sound in words and how those sounds be can be written down. As children progress, they follow the same format as Early Years but will work on complex sounds and read books appropriate to their reading level. Daily sessions of RWI phonics last 30 minutes. Once children become fluent speedy readers they will move on to the RWI Spelling programme.


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.

 Fred Talk

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. E.g. m-o-p, c-a-t, m-a-n, sh-o-p, b-l-a-ck.

RWI Set 1, 2 and 3

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.

At this stage we do not use the letter names

Use the link below to support your pronunciation 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.


Set 2 Speed Sounds

Sound Phrase Words to practice reading and spelling
ay ay:   may I play play, day, may, way, say, spray
ee ee:  what can you see see, three, been, green, seen, sleep
igh igh: fly high high, night, light, fright, bright, might
ow ow: blow the snow blow, snow, low, show, know, slow
oo oo: poo at the zoo too, zoo, food, pool, moon, spoon
oo oo: look at a book took, look, book, shook, cook, foot
ar ar: start the car car, start, part, star, hard, sharp
or or: shut the door sort, short, horse, sport, fork, snort
air air: that's not fair fair, stair, hair, air, chair, lair
ir ir: whirl and twirl girl, bird, third, whirl, twirl, dirt
ou ou: shout it out out, shout, loud, mouth round, found
oy oy: toy for a boy  toy, boy, enjoy


Set 3 Speed Sounds

ea Cup of tea clean, dream, seat, scream, real
oi Spoil the boy join, voice, coin
a-e Make a cake make, cake, name, same, late, date
i-e Nice smile  smile, white, nice, like, time, hide
o-e Phone home home, hope, spoke, note, broke, phone
u-e Huge brute tune, rude, huge, brute, use, June
aw Yawn at dawn saw, las, dawn, crawl, paw, yawn
are Care and share share, dare, scare, square, bare
ur Nurse with a purse burn, turn, spurt, nurse, purse, hurt
er A better letter never, better, weather, after, proper, corner
ow Brown cow how, down, brown, cow, town, now
ai Snail in the rain snail, paid, tail, train, paint, rain
oa Goat in a boat goat, boat, road, throat, toast, coat
ew Chew the stew chew, new, blew, flew, drew, grew
ire Fire! Fire! Fire, hire, wire, bon/fire, in/spire,con/spire
ear Hear with your ear hear, dear, fear, near, year, ear
ure Sure it's pure pure, sure, cure, pic/ture, mix/ture, ad/ven/ture

How to say the sounds

Step 3:

Within all the RWI sessions/books children will be exposed to red and green words to learn to help them to become speedy readers. Red words are words that are not easily decodable and challenge words to extend children’s vocabulary. Green words are linked to the sounds they have been learning and are easily decodable.

Dots and dashes represent the sound each letter makes.

During the RWI session children will read the book three times and at each new reading they will have plenty of opportunities to practise using their developing comprehension skills. You may have heard your child talking about ‘hold, edit or build a sentence’.

Hold a sentence is an activity that encourages children to remember a whole sentence while focusing on spelling and punctuation.

Build a sentence is to give children the opportunity to create their own sentence to that shows the meaning of a word and edit a sentence allows the children to critique a sentence using their knowledge of spelling punctuation and grammar. Children complete a longer piece of independent writing, which gives them the opportunity to show off their creativity and to practice their spelling, grammar and punctuation.

To help at home:

Your child will start to bring books home when they are confident readers, relating to their reading stage. You will find they will bring home a phonics based book, this will aid application, speed and fluency- developing speedy reading!  Following on from this, they will bring a comprehension based book which will begin to enrich their reading, which will require decoding skills.  Only then, children will bring home enriched reading books which will enhance their understanding via inspirational language promoting depth to their understanding.

Parent video: Sound blending

Parent video: Reading the digraphs with your child

Parent video: Reading the bouncy sounds with your child


Useful websites for Parents

Please find a list of websites that you may find useful in helping you and your child learn about phonics. Games and fun activity websites are also included. - Information and resources to support phonics learning at home - fun games for the children to play  - fun games for the children to play  - fun games for the children to play

BBC Bitesize - many games to play covering all areas of the curriculum

Read Write Inc guide for parents 

The following links provides lots of free Read Write Inc. Phonics resources to help your child, including eBooks, practice sheets and parent films.