Reading feeds the imagination, it expands horizons and offers new and exciting ways of seeing and making sense of our lives and of the world around us. – Michael Morpurgo

Phonics Teaching at Water Hall Primary School

At Water Hall we use Read, Write Inc Phonics by Ruth Miskin from Nursery to Year 4.

The Read Write Inc. phonics programme is for:

  • Pupils in Nursery, Year R to Year 2 who are learning to read and write
  • Any pupils in Years 2, 3 and 4 who need to catch up rapidly

In Read Write Inc. Phonics pupils:

Decode letter-sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly, using their phonic knowledge and skills and Read common exception words on sight – add ‘and’, change to lower case

  • Understand what they read
  • Read aloud with fluency and expression
  • Write confidently, with a strong focus on vocabulary and grammar
  • Spell quickly and easily by segmenting the sounds in words
  • Acquire good handwriting.
  • In addition, we teach pupils to work effectively with a partner to explain and consolidate what they are learning.

This provides the teacher with opportunities to assess learning and to pick up on difficulties, such as pupils’ poor articulation, or problems with blending or alphabetic code knowledge.

Pupils are assessed every half term and groupings are adjusted accordingly.

We group pupils homogeneously, according to their progress in reading rather than their writing. This is because it is known that pupils’ progress in writing will lag behind progress in reading, especially for those whose motor skills are less well developed.

In Year R we emphasise the alphabetic code. The pupils rapidly learn sounds and the letter or groups of letters they need to represent them. Simple mnemonics help them to grasp this quickly. This is especially useful for pupils at risk of making slower progress. This learning is consolidated daily. Pupils have frequent practice in reading high frequency words with irregular spellings – common exception words.

We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and the common exception words. This is so that, early on, they experience success and gain confidence that they are readers. Re-reading and discussing these books with the teacher supports their increasingly fluent decoding.

Alongside this, the teachers read a wide range of stories, poetry and non-fiction to pupils; they are soon able to read these texts for themselves. Embedding the alphabetic code early on means that pupils quickly learn to write simple words and sentences. We encourage them to compose each sentence aloud until they are confident to write independently. We make sure they write every day. Pupils write at the level of their spelling knowledge. The quality of the vocabulary they use in their writing reflects the language they have heard in the books the teacher has read to them; they have also discussed what the words mean.

Our aim is for pupils to complete the phonics programme as quickly as possible. The sooner they complete it, the sooner they will be able to choose books to read at their own interest and comprehension level.

In order to ensure that all of our pupils make the necessary progress to learn to read. give these pupils the same carefully targeted teaching as all the other groups, some of these pupils have daily one-to-one tutoring for 10 to 20 minutes, in addition to their group session in the morning. This tutoring helps us to meet their individual needs. Once these pupils have learnt to read they will receive additional support when learning to spell.

  1. The Read Write Inc. ‘cycle of instruction’ is embedded across our curriculum – MTYT, TTYP. Pupils do not raise their hands to answer questions.
  2. Close grouping in Phonics is maintained – pupils are moved on quickly.
  3. The purpose of each activity is clear to both teachers and pupils.
  4. Planning and marking is thorough.
  5. In Phonics, pupils read books at home that closely match their word reading ability.
  6. Teaching is monitored thoroughly

Further information about Read, Write Inc can be found using the following links:

Ruth Miskin Facebook:

Free e-books for home reading: