How do we teach Phonics?

At Tackley we teach reading in many different ways, but our main focus is synthetic phonics. Phonics is an approach to teaching reading that enables a child to identify, blend and segment the individual phonemes or sounds that combine to form words.

The term synthetic phonics refers to the direct, systematic and swift teaching of the phonic code; blending for reading and segmenting for spelling. The materials and resources we use to do this are from the phonics programme Read, Write Inc. The children learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts and rhymes. These sounds enable children to initially blend the sounds together to read. They do this by reading lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out. After meaningful discussion led by an adult, children show that they comprehend the stories by answering questions. This is completed within daily phonics sessions.

Pure sounds

In Read, Write Inc. we use pure sounds (‘m’ not ‘muh’ and ‘s’ not ‘suh’) so that your child will be able to blend the sounds in words more easily. Please see the following video clips to support with pure sounds.

At school we use a character called Fred the Frog who can do this beautifully! When we say words in sounds we call it ‘Fred Talk’ eg d-o-g, c-a-t


Grouping for phonics

Children are grouped across Reception and Key Stage One into Read, Write Inc. groups of similar ability. They have a Read, Write Inc. session 4 days a week for up to 30 minutes, practising recall of sounds, learning new sounds and applying the learning to reading, spelling and writing.

Some useful resources to support your child can be found below:

Set 1 sounds

Set 2 sounds

Set 3 sounds

Ditty Books red words

Green book red and green words

Purple book red and green words

Handwriting phrases

Year One Phonics Check

In Year One children will complete a Phonics Check. This is a statutory test set by the government and delivered to all children across the United Kingdom in the same week. Children are given 20 words and 20 pseudo-words (nonsense words) made up of the 44 sounds children learn within Read, Write Inc. The results of these tests are published nationally and results are shared with parents at the end of the academic year.

Phonics and Reading

The reading scheme that has been developed at Tackley School contains a range of books, including Read, Write Inc. phonics books and Colour Banded Books inclusive of Oxford Reading Tree, Rigby Star and Rapid Readers. These books are closely matched to ensure that children’s reading progresses at a steady rate. Your child’s teacher will assess your child’s reading and match their reading books in accordance to this.

We ask all children across the school to read at home as often as possible. Your child is supplied with a reading diary to ensure home school links.

If you have any questions about your child’s phonics or reading please do not hesitate to speak your child’s class teacher.