Phonics at Skyswood


Reading is the key that unlocks the whole curriculum so the ability to efficiently decode is essential. At Skyswood Primary School, we use the Read Write Inc. (RWI) synthetic phonics programme to teach our children the core skills of segmenting and blending and to start them on their ‘reading journey’.

RWI is an inclusive phonics programme for all children learning to read. Children learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and how to blend them to read and spell. The use of pictures and memorable phrases is used to aid children’s retention and recall of phonemes. 

RWI  is delivered on a daily basis, as the continuity and pace of the programme is key to accelerating the progress of children’s reading development. In addition, these strategies are embedded in all Literacy-based subjects and are part of the culture of the classroom.

Aims and Objectives
The programme teaches the children to:

  • apply the skill of blending phonemes in order to read words

  • segment words into their constituent phonemes in order to spell words

  • learn that blending and segmenting words are reversible processes

  • read high frequency words that do not conform to regular phonic patterns

  • read texts and words that are within their phonic capabilities as early as possible

  • decode texts easily so all their effort can be used to comprehend what they read



In Nursery, Phase One of ‘Letters and Sounds’ and RWI is followed to help children:

  • Listen attentively.

  • Increase their vocabulary.

  • Speak confidently to adults and children.

  • Discriminate phonemes and reproduce them when heard.

  • Use sound talk to segment words into phonemes.

Phonics sessions and Story Time are held in small Key Worker groups providing the opportunity for all children to speak and participate.

As a school, we use the RWI Programme to build phonic knowledge. Although we use Letters & Sounds prior to beginning this scheme in Reception, the Nursery follow the order of RWI and use the rhymes associated with each letter when they first introduce them during their ‘Sound of the Week’. The sound of the week focuses on hearing initial sounds and sharing items beginning with that sound – they are also shown the corresponding grapheme. 

Each day starts with 20 minutes of Fine Motor planned activities (Busy Fingers) to develop early skills in preparation for formal writing.


Reception and Key Stage 1

As pupils enter Reception, they begin formal RWI sessions which are held on a daily basis. Pupils work within ability groups which are defined by their performance on RWI phonic assessments. Children are continually assessed and the groups are reorganised accordingly.

We ensure that all sounds are articulated correctly to ensure ease with blending. Each lesson, children will practise blending words that include their focused sounds and past sounds.

Delivery of Phonics

  • Initial sounds are taught in a specific order

  • Sounds taught should be ‘pure’ i.e. ‘b’, not ‘buh’ as this is central to phonic teaching and ability to recognise sounds in words

  • Children are taught that the number of graphemes in a word always corresponds to the number of phonemes. This greatly aids spelling.

  • Set 2 sounds are to be taught after Set 1 (initial sounds)

Assessment and Recording

Children are assessed throughout every lesson. Every time partner work is used the teacher assesses the progress of the children. The teacher assesses how children:

  • read the grapheme chart

  • read the green and red word lists

  • decode the ditty/story

  • comprehend the story

  • perform in weekly spellings that reflect focus phoneme(s)

Monitoring and Review

The RWI Lead:

  • organises the assessment of all pupils accessing phonics and designates pupils to the correct groups

  • assigns leaders to groups

  • where necessary models lessons

  • liaises with the head teacher, English Subject Leaders and SLT regarding groupings, teaching spaces and other relevant matters

  • is responsible for reporting to the governors along with the subject leaders about the quality of the implementation of RWI and the impact on standards.

Please click here to access the Parental Information Document for Reading in Early Years & Key Stage 1


Key stage 2

Most children complete the RWI Scheme by the end of KS1. Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Test by the end of Year 2 continue to receive phonics input as they enter Year 3. This programme is delivered as an intervention by teaching assistants and incorporates RWI strategies with alternative methods encouraged by the SPLD Learning Base. This continues throughout KS2 as appropriate, with pupils identified through termly Pupil Progress Meetings. 

Our Spell to Excel Spelling Scheme supports the delivery of the national curriculum for spelling throughout the course of Key Stage 2. The scheme uses spelling in the context of developing a wider range of literacy skills, including the development of vocabulary and the consolidation of grammar and punctuation. The scheme places emphasis on children taking greater ownership of their own learning and helps develop a wider range of thinking skills. We also have an innovative approach to the teaching of grammar, introducing a wide range of grammar games in Key Stage 2 to support and enrich the children’s learning.



Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1. The impact of the teaching and learning of phonics is measured through pupil voice, formative and summative assessments, learning walks, book looks and lesson observations. 

Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. 


Inclusion in Reading 

All children at Skyswood have the opportunity to make progress in their reading whether they are working towards, achieving, working above the expected standard or have a Special Educational Need (SEN). 

To ensure that all children can achieve their full potential, children requiring additional support are identified during pupil progress meetings. We differentiate for all pupils, use a range of strategies and provide opportunities including those outlined below:  

  • Focused Guided Reading Sessions

  • 1:1 reading sessions with Teacher, Teaching Assistant or Volunteer adult

  • Streamed RWI sessions  

  • Class book read to the class by the Teacher or Teaching Assistant to model fluency and provide opportunities for comprehension

  • Opportunities given to act through drama and performances 

  • ERIC time to build reading stamina (Everyone Reading in Class)

  • Buddy Reading in differentiated pairs 

  • Whole school reading strategies for example, Echo, Choral, whisper, paired and silent reading

  • Opportunities to read for pleasure

  • Opportunities to read for information

  • Exposure to a range of texts

For children with a SEN who are significantly below age related, we break down reading even further and assess them using the phased CAPPs goals from Collett School.

English Reading Curriculum Overview