At Rowan Schools, we use the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme to support pupils to learn to read, write and spell.  Children who read regularly or are read to regularly have the opportunity to open the doors to so many different worlds! 

When using RWI to read the children will:

  • learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts
  • learn to read words using Fred Talk (blending sounds together)
  • read stories competently featuring words they have learned to sound out
  • show that they comprehend the stories by answering questions.

When using RWI to write the children will:

  • learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent 44 sounds, using a helpful handwriting phrase.
  • learn to write words by saying the sounds using ‘Fred Fingers’

What can you do at home? 
We believe that teaching your child to read relies on a good partnership between home and school. When you are teaching your child to read at home, it is important that the sounds you say are the ‘pure sounds.  Please see the pronunciation video guide below.   

We also have Virtual Classroom videos to watch with your child at home.  These are different depending on your child’s level.  Please watch these videos often.  

Letter Sounds
The children are taught 3 sets of letter 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.

 Set 1
 Sound  Handwriting Rhyme
   m Down Maisie then over the two mountains. Maisie, mountain, mountain.
   a Round the apple, down the leaf.
   s Slither down the snake
   d Round the dinosaur’s back, up his neck and down to his feet.
   t Down the tower, across the tower,
   i Down the insects body, dot for the head.
   n Down Nobby and over the net.
   p Down the plait, up and over the pirates face.
   g Round the girls face, down her hair and give her a curl
   o All around the orange
   c Curl around the caterpillar
   k Down the kangaroos body, tail and leg
   u Down and under the umbrella, up to the top and draw a puddle
   b Down the laces, to hell, round the toe
   f Down the stem and draw the leaves
   e Lift off the top and scoop out the egg
   l Down the long leg
   h Down the horse’s head to the hooves and over his back
   r Down the robot’s back, then curl over his arm
  j Down his body, curl and dot
   v Down a wing, up a wing
   y Down a horn, up a horn and under the yak’s head.
   w Down, up, down, up the worm.
   z Zig-zag-zig, down the zip.
   x Down the arm and leg, repeat the other side
   sh Slither down the snake, then down the horse’s head to the hooves and over his back
   th Down the tower, across the tower, then down the horse’s head to the hooves and over his back
   ch Curl around the caterpillar, , then down the horse’s head to the hooves and over his back
   qu Round the queen’s head, up past her earrings and down her hair
   ng Sound Rhyme: A thing on a string
  nk Sound Rhyme: I think I stink

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.

 Long vowel sound        Set 2 Speed Sound & Rhyme                   Set 3 Speed Sound & Rhyme
   ay ay: may I play    a-e: make a cake ai: snail in the rain
   ee ee: what can you see ea: cup of tea e: he me we she be
   igh igh: fly high i-e: nice smile
   ow ow: blow the snow o-e: phone home oa: goat in a boat
   oo oo: poo at the zoo u-e: huge brute ew: chew the stew
   oo oo: look at a book  
   ar ar: start the car   
   or or: shut the door aw: yawn at dawn 
   air air: that’s not fair are: share and care 
   ir ir: whirl and twirl ur: nurse for a purse er: a better letter
   ou ou: shout it out ow: brown cow 
   oy oy: toy for a boy oi: spoil the boy 
   ire  ire: fire fire! 
   ear ear: hear with your ear  
   ure ure: sure it’s pure? 

Nonsense words (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’.


When pupils are confidently blending they will be introduced to Sound Blending Books. We will then move pupils onto Ditty Sheets to practise reading simple short sentences.  Once the pupil’s know all Set 1 sounds, including special friends ‘sh’ ‘ch’ ‘th’ ‘ng’ ‘nk’ and ‘qu’, they will be introduced to ‘Red Ditty books’.  Pupil’s will then be assessed regularly to ensure they are moved on to further books as and when appropriate.  

Within all the books children will have 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.

Reading at Home

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. Fred is our Read, Write Inc. friend. He can only speak in sounds, so we help him learn to say words instead of sounds. For example, Fred says ’m-a-t’ instead of mat. We also teach him not to add ‘uh’ to our sounds to keep them pure. For example, we say ’c’ and not ‘cuh’.

Please do not use letter names at this early stage. Watch the video below to find out how to pronounce the ‘pure’ sounds. 


Children will: 

  • learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts 
  • learn to read words using sound blending 
  • read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out 
  • after meaningful discussion led by an adult, children show that they comprehend the stories by answering questions 


Children will: 

  • learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds 
  • learn to write words by saying the sounds and graphemes 
  • learn to build sentences orally using adventurous vocabulary 
  • start with simple sentences and develop towards more complex ones by the end of the programme 


Children are assessed so they work alongside children at the same level. This allows them to fully participate in all lessons.  
They work in pairs so that they: 

  • answer every question 
  • practise every activity with their partner 
  • take turns in talking to each other 


Help your child learn to read words by sound-blending (Fred talk) eg. c-a-t = cat, sh-o-p = shop. Children learn to read words by blending the letter-sounds that are in the Speed Sounds set. Help your child to say the pure sounds (‘m’ not ‘muh’, ‘s’ not ‘suh’ etc.) as quickly as they can, and then blend the sounds together to say the whole word.

Spelling with your Fred Fingers

Children are taught to use their fingers to help them write words. The children say the word out loud and break it down into its individual sounds. If a word has 3 sounds children hold up 3 fingers, 4 sounds 4 fingers etc. Children pinch each finger as they say the sounds needed in the word then they write the letters that represent each sound. 

When using Fred Fingers each finger represents one sound. When children reach yellow Read Write Inc. storybooks, they will learn to trace the letters onto each finger and say the letter names.

Nonsense words (Alien words) 

Research has shown that incorporating nonsense words into teaching reading can be an effective way to establish blending and segmenting skills. However, it is important to ensure that children understand that they are reading nonsense words (and why) so that they are not confused by trying to read the words for meaning. By reading nonsense words children develop their ability to decode individual sounds and then blend them together to read. They are an indicator of early reading skills and work as a quick, reliable, and valid way of assessing children. However, reading nonsense words is only a small part of the Read, Write Inc. phonics teaching.

 Any further information, the Ruth Miskin Website and Oxford Owl has a plethora of useful videos and information.

Read Write Inc. resources are simple and limit distraction. Our teachers adapt for our pupils who:

  • have fine motor difficulties that affect their ability to hold a pencil
  • are non-verbal and will usepictures to select responses and augmentative communication strategies
  • have both of the above, using alternative communication systems, such as iPads and eye gaze technology
  • have limited hearing, using sign language, if appropriate
  • have limited vision, using enlarged texts, if needed.

Pupils learn the routines and behaviours necessary for each activity, and practice these until they use them automatically. This allows them to focus on learning to read and write.

Scroll to Top