Read Write Inc (RWI) is a phonics based programme which helps children learn to read whilst also developing a wide range of vocabulary and encouraging a love of stories.  It was developed by Ruth Miskin a leading consultant on early reading.  More information can be found at

Who is Read Write Inc for?

The Read Write Inc programme is for primary school children learning to read and write.  Children will begin the programme in the foundation stage and will remain on the programme throughout year 1.  Children will continue on the programme until they are at the expected reading level for year 2.  Our aim is that the majority of children will come off the scheme early in year 2, however some children may remain on the scheme into years 3 and 4.

How does it work? Foundation Stage

Initially children taught Sound Set 1 in their own class. They will be assessed regularly.  When they have reached an appropriate level they are then grouped according to their reading level.

Year 1 onwards

All children are assessed regularly and are grouped according to their stage not their age so that teaching is closely matched to the children’s next steps in learning.  Phonics groups are mixed and are taught by teachers and teaching assistants.  A few children, who need extra support to maintain progress, work with a reading tutor for an extra 10 minutes a day.

What does the RWI teaching process look like? 

Children are first taught the pure ‘Set 1’ sounds so that they will be able to blend the sounds in words more easily.  In school we use ‘Fred Talk’.  We do not use letter names at this stage; we simply focus on the sounds that are used to sound out words.  To view the correct pronunciation of the sounds you can visit website where there are a number of videos demonstrating the correct pronunciation of sounds.

At this stage, the children are not only taught the sound the letter makes but also how to form the letter, using a rhyme and a picture prompt.

Set 1 Sounds

Children use these sounds to sound out words in ‘Fred Talk’.  A character called Fred is introduced.  He talks only in sounds.  Children are asked to interpret what Fred is saying like this:

 Fred says ‘m-a-t’, we would say ‘mat’  , Fred says ‘f-r-o-g’, we would say ‘frog’  

Speed sounds Set 1

Once your child knows all their ‘Set 1’ sounds and is able to read real words using ‘Fred Talk’ they will then move into a group where they will begin reading storybooks and completing writing activities to challenge them further.  It is important that children learn to decode new, unfamiliar words in this way. When your child  is secure with set 1 sounds they will then begin to learn ‘Set 2’ sounds.

Set 2 Sounds

Each Set 2 sound has a rhyme to accompany it when the sound is taught.  For example the word play cannot be sounded out as single letter sounds.  The word contains the ‘ay’ sounds where one sound is created by the two letters.  This is know as ‘special friends’ which is two letters- one sound. The word containing the ‘ay’ sound so will be sounded out as p-l-ay.

Other examples for this sounds include: tray= t-r-ay

Sunday= S-u-n-d-ay

Set 3 Sounds

What are Red Words?

These are words that are unable to be sounded out as they are irregular.  Children simply have to learn to recognise, read and spell these words as they cannot be sounded using any sort of phonics strategy.

Examples of red words:

How and what do the children learn?


  • Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using picture prompts.
  • Learn to read words by blending letter sounds
  • Read lively stories featuring words they have learnt to sound out.
  • After discussion about the story they demonstrate their understanding by answering questions


  • Learn the write the letter/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds
  • Learn to write words by saying the sound and the 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
  • Compose a range of texts using discussion prompts


During the programme there is lots of opportunity for children to work collaboratively where they take turns in practising activities and rehearsing responses.

How can I help my child at home?

  • Establish a routine to include regular reading throughout the week
  • Have fun with ‘Fred Talk’ at home eg Where is your c-oa-t? Time for b-e-d! ?     Encourage your child to ‘Fred Talk’ or ‘sound out’ any unfamiliar words.
  • Read as many stories to your child as you can.  Traditional tales, stories from other cultures, poetry, their favourite story– talk about stories with them.
  • Explain the meaning of new words.  
  • Fill in the parent comments in your child’s reading diary to keep us informed of how reading is going at home.

Further Information Read Write Inc Website:

Oxford Owl with free ebooks

What can you do to support your child at home?

The children are sent home with a ‘Book bag book’ aimed at their specific phonic level. They are also sent home with a decodable book to read for pleasure at home. If you are unsure on sounds or want to help your child at home see the videos and links below. If you have any questions then ask your children’s teacher. 

RWI Phonics ebooks