Home Page
Trust Link

Early Reading and Phonics

Read, Write, Inc, Phonics


At Northdown, we use the Ruth Miskin scheme: Read, Write, Inc  to teach Early reading.


Children in Reception through to year 2, (and any identified pupils in Year 3) will engage in a daily 45 minute phonic lesson with a designated reading leader.  In each lesson the children will be introduced to a new sound and they will apply this knowledge in both reading and writing activities.  An additional 10 minute phonics lesson is taught in Year 1 and 2 and 'Pinny Time' practice is embedded throughout the day in Year R.


Children are assessed each term by a designated reading leader and then grouped according to their phonic knowledge.  Our rigorous assessment practice quickly identifies children who are not making sufficient progress through the scheme and a program of 1:1 intervention will be quickly established for these children.


In Nursery, there is an emphasis on children being able to hear individual sounds and distinguish between them.  In term 6, as part of our transition to school, children will be taught the names of the object in the Set 1 sound cards.  Children are also encouraged to become aware of print within the environment.


In Reception, upon entry to school, children will be introduced to a new sound a day.  Once they have acquired the first five sounds of the Set 1 sounds they will be taught the skills of blending.  Children will be taught how to orally blend words through playing 'Fred Talk' games and then they will learn how to read simple cvc words.  The teacher will model building simple words using the Set 1 sound flash cards and the children will use magnetic boards with letters to build the same words.  At this stage the children will be introduced to the 'Sound Blending Books'.  All children in Year R receive a gift of the Set 1 sound cards to help consolidate what is being taught in school and parents are supported in how to use these at home. 


Children will then be taught the Set 1 digraphs and begin to read and write words containing those sounds.  At this stage the children will progress on to reading 'Ditty pages' before progressing to 'Red Ditty Books'.


Once their knowledge of the Set 1 digraphs is secure and they can apply this in the reading and writing of words the children will be taught the Set 2 'Special Friends'.  At this stage the children will progress on to green, purple, pink and then orange books


Once their knowledge of the Set 2 'Special Friends' is secure and they can read words fluently within the colour bands the children will be taught the Set 3 'Special Friends' and they will progress on to yellow, blue then grey books.


When children are reading at blue level and have a secure knowledge of sounds our focus will increase on developing children's fluency, expression and understanding when reading.  Once the children are confidently reading 80+ words a minute they will transition from our RWI reading program to Destination Reader and Accelerated Reader.


By the end of the Reception year children should be confidently reading within the green and purple band.  By the end of Year 1 children should be reading within Blue band and the expectation is that children in Year 2 should complete the RWI program by the end of the Spring term. (Term 4)  


The teaching of Phonics is monitored daily by the school's Reading Lead and time is taken to live coach all reading leaders to ensure quality first RWI practice is observed at all times.  This way we can ensure that the standard of Phonics teaching from group to group is strong and that our approach to the teaching of reading remains consistent across all groups.   As a team of 'reading leaders' we meet weekly to practice different elements of the program so that we can ensure that our practice in the teaching of reading is the best that it can be.  As a staff body we want to ensure that every child leaves KS1 being able to read.  No child should be left behind. 



Reading Expectations


Every child in school is heard read daily as part of the RWI lesson.  Children are also taught to work in pairs and they teach each other to read sounds, green words, and red words.


Children who are beginning their journey towards reading words and sentences are expected to practice recalling the Set 1 sounds with speed.


Children who are reading at ditty page level will take home the sheet that they have read with their reading leader and they are expected to read this with an adult at home.


Children who are reading at Red through to Grey level will take home two books per week.  They will receive a seen text that they will have read that week and an unseen linked text.  The expectation is that children read each text several times to build confidence and fluency in reading.  


In addition to receiving their reading books, all children are encouraged to choose a book to share with parents.

Reading with your child

Reading is probably the most important skill that your child will learn in primary school. It opens up a whole new world of learning and imagination. The more you help your child at home, the easier they will find it to develop this vital skill.

Here some pointers on the best ways to support and encourage your child as they learn to read. 


  • Reading bedtime stories and enjoying books together.
  • Point out words as you are out and about, road signs, shop fronts, posters, price labels and packaging.
  • Share a book. Re-read your favourite book night after night.
  • Let your child see you reading a book, magazines and newspapers.
  • Choose a time when you are both relaxed somewhere quiet.


Look at the cover together and talk about the book. What do you think this book is about? Have you read one like this before? Find clues in the pictures as to the meaning of the words.
You could give them the first sound to help them or read the word for them if that helps the flow! Let your child guess if they are nearly right or it makes sense let them go on with the story!
Ask your child to tell you about the book they have just read. What do you think is going to happen next? Draw a picture about your favourite part of the book. Is it the setting or the character?
Is your book fiction or non-fiction? What have you learnt? Make a model about your book. Have you read another book by this author? Why?


Make time for reading!

Make it fun!

Time together!

Praise your child for getting it right!

National Phonics Screen Check


In the Summer term of Year 1 all children are assessed using the Governments national screening program.  'The Phonics Screen Check'.   Children are assessed on their ability to read 40 words. Most of these words are real but some are pesudo-words. 


The Year 1 phonics screening check is not a formal test, but a way for teachers to ensure that children are making sufficient progress with their phonics skills to read words and that they are on track to become fluent readers who can enjoy reading for pleasure and for learning.