Reading & Phonics

At Southwold School we teach reading in many different ways, but our main focus is synthetic phonics. Phonics is an approach to teaching reading and spelling 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 usually swift teaching of the phonic code; blending for reading and segmenting for spelling. The materials and resources that 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 guided reading sessions.


In Read, Write Inc. we use pure sounds (‘m’ not’ muh’,’s’ not ‘suh’, etc.) so that your child will be able to blend the sounds into 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’, e.g. d-o-g, c-a-t.


Children are grouped across Reception and Key Stage One into Read, Write Inc. groups of similar ability. They have a Read, Write Inc. sessions every day for up to 30 minutes (20 minutes in Nursery and Reception and 30 minutes in KS1), practicing recall of sounds, learning new sounds and applying this learning to reading and spelling. Sounds and their matching rhymes can be found here:


Set 1


Set 2 & 3


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


The reading scheme that has been developed at Southwold School contains a range of books, including Read, Write Inc. phonics books and Colour Banded Books inclusive of Oxford Reading Tree, Rigby Star and Collins Pathway. 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 reading please do not hesitate to speak.


Please see the table below which evidences the impact of Read Write Inc Phonics over the last three years at Southwold School:


13% passed the Year 1 Phonics Screening(Read Write Inc not in place)


58% passed the Year 1 Phonics Screening


78% passed the Year 1 Phonics Screening

Useful Links to ICT Games to promote Phonics


Southwold Primary & Nursery School
Holm Way
OX26 3UU

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