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St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School

We live, learn and grow in the light of Christ

Phonics (Early Reading)

In the Early years children will begin to develop their awareness of sounds around them in the environment including animals, vehicles, bells, phones etc.


It is after this that children will be exposed to early phonics.


At St Joseph's children in Nursery are taught using Letters and Sounds phases alongside interactive fun games and activities. They are also exposed to the scheme implemented thoroughly in Reception called Read, Write Inc. where they will begin to learn sounds in a systematic way through short daily phonics sessions and apply their skills to reading and writing. 

Teaching Phonics at St Joseph's


Read Write Inc. Phonics teaches children to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension with the help of a friendly frog named Fred. 


Children begin to learn single letter sounds and then move on to learning digraphs and trigraphs (sounds made up of two or three letters such as 'oo' and 'igh'). We call these trickier sounds 'special friends'. Children learn to read and write words containing the sounds they are learning and all previous sounds. They will access books with words that are decodable. Children will always be given a book that they can read but sometimes they may be given a book for you to read to them that is of a higher level than they can access themselves. These books will be identified with a clearly visible sticker on the front.


It is important that children read regularly at home, particularly when school is closed, so that they can continue to implement their reading and comprehension skills.


With regards to writing, children learn to form each letter correctly using the handwriting rhymes below. They will learn how to spell correctly using a strategy called Fred fingers and they will begin to write for a purpose, composing their ideas step-by-step.



Use the handwriting phrases below to teach your child the correct formation for each letter

Read, Write Inc. introduces sounds to children in a particular and systemmatic way. There are three sets of sounds that children will begin to learn in the Early Years and throughout Key Stage 1.


As children move through the sets of sounds, they will access different coloured books within their phonics groups that allow them to apply their new and prior learning.



Each set of sounds can be found below on this page.

Set 1 Set 2 and Set 3 sounds mats

Red words

Children will learn to read 'red words' alongside learning to read. These are words that cannot be sounded out like the green words.


It is important that children learn to read red words and high-frequency words at home as this will increase fluency within their reading.


Alien words

Children love to learn alien words. We show these at the end of the teaching of a new sound and use them to assess whether children can read any word using the new sounds rather than simply remembering or recalling words from each session. In our phonics sessions alien words are identified using purple card and usually an image of a slimy creature! It is not important for you to teach alien words unless you want to play a fun game- it is simple an ongoing assessment tool for phonics teachers and is used within the phonics screening test in Key Stage 1. 


Children are regularly assessed and grouped for their phonics sessions according to the sets of words they can read or how fluent their reading is as they progress with their reading. 1:1 or small group interventions are planned to be delivered frequently for those individuals who need some support learning to read or applying new skills. If your child is receiving phonics intervention your child's class teacher will discuss this with you. 


Phonics and learning to read can be tricky.  The Parents Guide below will help you with everything you need to know to support your child with their phonics

You can find some useful videos on the Read, Write, Inc. YouTube channel.


Click on the link below for a short parent introductory video clip that shows how Read, Write, Inc. is taught. 



The Ruth Miskin Read, Write, Inc. website has lots of useful resources for parents and children and books or activity sheets can be purchased also.



If you have any questions about how you can help your child to learn to read at home, please contact Mrs Cooney.


Happy reading!