The Teaching of Early Reading at Acre Heads

At Acre Heads, we strive to teach children to read effectively and quickly using the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme (RWI) which includes teaching synthetic phonics, sight vocabulary, decoding and encoding words as well as spelling and accurate letter formation.

We passionately believe that teaching children to read and write independently, as quickly as possible, is one of the core purposes of a primary school. Our intention is to have 100% of children passing the phonics screening and 90% of children at Age Related Expectations in reading by the end of Y2. These fundamental skills not only hold the keys to the rest of the curriculum but also have a huge impact on children’s self-esteem and future life chances. Using the RWI phonics program we teach children to:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences

In practice, children learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and are taught how to blend these sounds to decode (read) words. We start by teaching children to read and blend the first thirty Set 1 sounds. Once they have conquered this skill, they start reading stories and texts that have words made up of the sounds they know. This means that they can embed and apply their phonic knowledge and start to build their reading fluency.

Once secure, children learn Set 2 and Set 3 sounds and then read texts with increasingly more complex sounds and graphemes. Throughout this process there is a focus on comprehension, reading with expression and reading for enjoyment.

Children are taught in small groups which reflect their phonic knowledge and reading fluency. We regularly assess children so that they are taught in a RWI group which matches their phonic knowledge. We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ability to read ‘tricky words’; so they experience early reading success and gain confidence that they are readers.

How can we help at home!

You can help your child by following these key points:

  • Make sure that your child brings their RWI Storybook into school every day!
  • Practice the sounds they know at home. These are the sounds in the Speed Sound Chart at the start of the storybooks.
  • Listen to your child read, both their RWI storybook and Book Bag Book, every day.
  • Read to them and always discuss the story you are reading to try to build your child’s comprehension skills, inference and understanding.
  • Talk to them! The most important thing you can do is to talk to your child and listen to them when they are talking to you. Try to extend their vocabulary range and their skill at talking in increasingly more complex sentences. For example, try to teach them alternative words for ideas, or nouns they already know. Can they think of adjectives to describe things (nouns).

Look out for our RWI Workshops, where you can find out about how we teach phonics at Acre Heads, so that you are best placed to support your child’s reading journey.

If you need further advice or help with how best to help, please contact the RWI Leaders (Mrs Mallinson or Mrs Fox) who will be happy to meet with you.

Read Write Inc. Resources for Parents

Example Set 1, Set 2 and Set 3 Speed Sound Sessions

For more information, tips and helpful hints visit:

Parents section of the RWI website: RWI – Parents’ Portal
Oxford Owl Reading at home pages: Oxford Owl Reading at home

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