Gilmour Primary School

Read Write Inc Phonics

How often will my child be taught phonics?

Your child will work in their phonics group five days a week for one hour each day. This session will be in place of the class English lesson. They may also receive an additional, one to one, afternoon session (10 minutes), if this proves necessary in order for them to keep up.

Will this phonics programme be too easy for my child?

No. Your child has been identified as having some gaps in their phonic knowledge and needing reinforcement of strategies to use sounds to read and spell words. They will start at a level that is appropriate to them and will therefore only be taught the sounds and patterns they do not already know. The programme includes many challenging words eg. straighten, extreme. Phonics is far more than just cat and mat.

How long will my child work on the Read Write Inc programme?

This is impossible to answer as it will be different for every child. However, because this is an intervention, we will always aim for your child to work in this group for the shortest time possible. Read Write Inc. phonics is not forever and your child will return to normal class lessons as soon as their phonic gaps have been filled. They will be assessed every half term and should make good progress on this programme. 

This glossary will explain some of the terms associated with the phonics programme.


‘Best Friends’

Best friends are a combination of two or three letters representing one sound, e.g. ck, ay, igh, oa.

Sound Talk 

To help children read, the teacher says the sounds and then children say the word.

For example, the teacher says c-a-t, children say cat, Fred says l-igh-t, children say light.

Teachers are encouraged to use Sound Talk often, so children learn to blend sounds. You could use sound talk too.

For example:

Play Simon Says: Put your hands on your h-ea-d/ f-oo-t/ kn-ee.

Put on your c-oa-t/ h-a-t/ s-c-ar-f.

Set the table with a b-ow-l/ f-or-k/ s-p-oo-n.

‘Sounds in your head’

Once children can sound out a word, we teach them to say the sounds silently in their heads.

We show them how to do this by:

1. whispering the sounds and then saying the whole word;

2. mouthing the sounds silently and then saying the whole word;

3. saying the whole word straight away.

Perfect pencil grip

Children sit at a table to write.

They hold up a pencil in a tripod pencil grip with the non-writing hand flat holding their paper.

How can I support my child’s reading and writing?

Here are the top four things you can do.

See the other FAQs for further detail.

  1. Use Sound Talk to help your child read and spell words 
  2. Listen to your child read their Read Write Inc. Storybook every day 
  3. Practise reading Green and Red Words in the Storybook speedily
  4. Read stories to your child every day.

What will my child bring home to read?

  • ‘Last and past’ Storybooks: contain sounds and words the children know. This is the Storybook they have just read at school and maybe some they have read before, for extra practice. Please don’t worry that books are too easy. Children enjoy re-reading stories they know well. Their speed and understanding improves on every read. 
  • Book Bag Books: matched to the Storybooks children read in school and used for extra practice. They include many of the same reading activities that we use in class and include parent guidance.
  • More Storybooks and Non-fiction books: matched to the sounds and words your child knows well. 
  • Books to share with you: read these stories to children, take it in turns to read or encourage them to retell the story. They are not expected to read the whole story themselves.

How can I support my child to learn Set 2 or 3 sounds?

How do I listen to my child read?

Your child has a Storybook matched to the sounds and words they know – a decodable book – so they should be able to read all the words.

Please avoid saying, “This book is too easy for you!” but instead say “I love how well you can read this book!”

‘Best Friends’, ‘Sound Talk’, read the word 

Remind your child to read words using Best Friends, Sound Talk, read the word’ 

For example ‘ship’: spot the ‘sh’, then Fred Talk and blend to read the word e.g. sh, sh-i-p, ship. 

Red Words

Red Words are also known as common exception or tricky words. They occur in stories regularly (said, what, where) but have unusual letter combinations (‘ai’ in the word ‘said’ makes the sound ‘e’).

Remind your child not to use Sound Talk to read Red Words but instead to ‘stop and think’. 

Tell them the word if you need to.

Read the same book again and again 

Children love reading the same book again and again. Their reading becomes speedier and they understand what they are reading.

  • Encourage your child to read words using ‘Sounds in your head’ 
  • Show your child how to read the story in a storyteller voice
  • Share your enjoyment of the story when they read it again and again.

What do I do with the books my child has chosen to read with me? 

One of the most important things you can do as a parent at home is read to your child. 

Loving stories is important because children who love stories want to read stories for themselves. Children who read a lot become better readers.

Here are some top tips for story time:

  1. Make it a treat – introduce each new book with excitement
  2. Make it a special quiet time – cuddle up!
  3. Show curiosity in what you’re going to read
  4. Read the story once without stopping so they can enjoy the whole story. If you think your child might not understand something say something like ‘Oh I think what’s happening here is that…”
  5. Chat about the story e.g. I wonder why he did that? Oh no, I hope she’s not going to…
  6. Avoid asking questions to check what they remember
  7. Link to other stories and experiences you have shared e.g. this reminds me of…
  8. Read favourite stories over and over again – encourage your child to join with the bits they know. Avoid saying ‘not that story again!’
  9. Use different voices – be enthusiastic!
  10. Love the book – read with enjoyment

How can I help my child to spell words?

  • Encourage your child to use Sound Fingers to spell words
  • Ask your child to say the sounds in the word as they press the sounds onto their fingers
  • Ask your child to then write the letters – if they get stuck, say the sounds again
  • Praise your child for spelling using the sounds they know, even if their handwriting is not perfect.

How else can I develop my child’s language? 

Children will have a large vocabulary if they are part of a ‘talk-a-lot’ family:

  • Use every opportunity to talk with your child throughout the day – meal times, playing together, bath time
  • Use new and ambitious vocabulary e.g. miserable instead of sad, stroll instead of walk
  • Speak to your child in complete sentences
  • Make up stories together – there’s no need to write it down.

Where else can I find information?

Watch video tutorials on to help you to understand more about Read Write Inc. Phonics and how to help your child read and write at home.

Other useful websites:

Ruth Miskin Facebook:

Free e-books for home reading: