Phonics & Early Reading

Welcome to the Phonics and Early Reading Page.

At South Marston, we follow the Read, Write, Inc. systematic synthetic phonics teaching programme. Read, Write, Inc. is a method of learning based upon letter sounds and phonics, and we use it to teach children reading and writing.

During Early Years and Key Stage 1, children will attend a daily phonics session with a trained phonics teacher or Teaching Assistant. Each half term, children are assessed and grouped according to their ability. Dependent on the children’s needs, some children in Key Stage 2 may also attend phonics sessions. Those children who require additional support with their phonics are supported through a combination of: correct phonics grouping, daily/priority reading, phonics tutoring, catch-up programmes, and virtual classroom resources. At South Marston, we use the Read, Write, Inc. tutoring scheme with those who need extra support.

Phonics sessions are split into different sections. These sessions start with a ‘speed sounds’ part of the lesson. This is where children are exposed to and learn about new sounds, this includes reading and writing words containing the focus sounds (/ee/, /ay/ and /igh/ for example). Children will also learn to read a range of ‘green’ (words that can be segmented and blended e.g – shop, teeth, slide) and ‘red words’ (sometimes referred to as ‘tricky words’ – they follow irregular spelling rules and patterns e.g – said, was, the) at a quick and fluent pace. In this section they will also review previously taught sounds.

Read, Write, Inc. Complex Speed Sounds Chart

Set 1 Sounds

Set 2 and 3 Sounds

Red Words List

We use pure sounds (‘mmm’ not muh’,’sss’ not ‘suh’, etc.) so that your child will be able to blend the sounds into words more easily. 

At school, we use a puppet called Fred, who is an expert on sounding out words but can't blend so the children need to help him. We call it, ‘Fred Talk’. E.g. m-o-p, c-a-t, m-a-n, sh-o-p, b-l-a-ck. Sometimes, we use ‘Fred In Your Head’ – this is where children segment and blend words quickly in their heads. 

As your child becomes more confident and builds fluency in phonics, the need to segment and blend will decrease. 

After the initial ‘speed sounds’ and phonics-based part of the session, there is an emphasis on guided reading. As part of this, each week, children will read a focus text closely matched to their assessed level of phonics reading and participate in a discussion to aid comprehension skills.

Weekly, your child will bring home reading books. Please encourage your child to read though the speed sounds page first, then the green and red words page and then check your child understands the meaning of words on the vocabulary check page, before they start reading the book. At the back of the book are find it/prove it questions for you to do with your child. The Read, Write, Inc. books are matched to your child’s phonics group/ability.  

At South Marston, we use the electronic reading record called 'Boom Reader'. This is an app designed to support parents and a website for school staff to log reading. Each parent/child will receive log in details to this app. School staff will regularly monitor children's online accounts. Should you/your child require new log in details, please speak to a member of school staff.

Phonics Screening Check

At the end of Year 1, all children (unless exempt) will complete a Phonics Screening Check. This is a short assessment set by the government and is carried out by the Class Teacher in June. The child will be required to read 40 words (20 real words and 20 nonsense words). Within phonics sessions, children would have regularly practiced reading a range of real and nonsense words. To help monitor and track children’s progress, in addition to preparing the children for the test, each term, the Class Teacher will conduct a practice phonics screening check. Those children who do not reach the required standard will be required to complete the check again in Year 2. Results of the check will be shared with parents at the end of each academic year. Please note that the check words change yearly. 

Past and practice phonics screening check papers/tests can be viewed here:


Useful Documents

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  • Old Vicarage Lane
    South Marston, Swindon
    SN3 4SH

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