Phonics in Reception and Year 1


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Read Write Inc Phonics

At Barrow CE Primary School, children learn Read Write Inc Phonics. In Reception, the children start learning Set 1 speed sounds as soon as they start school in September. We call them speed sounds because we are aiming for the children to recognise the sounds quickly and effortlessly.  Discrete Phonics sessions are timetabled daily in Reception and Year 1 but also children have the opportunity to practise using their sounds throughout the day. Blending is taught as soon as the children have learnt the first few sounds. 

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Our froggy friend, Fred speaks in 'Fred Talk'. He segments the sounds in words e.g. r-u-n and the children are encouraged to listen carefully and blend the sounds to say the word e.g. 'run'. We use Fred Talk throughout the day. A phonics table is set up in the Reception and Year 1 areas with resources for the children to access throughout the day.

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Click on the link below for more information about our Phonics programme:

What is Read Write Inc Phonics?

Green Words

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We teach the children to segment and blend green words (these are words that are decodable). The aim is for reading to become automatic.

Word Time

Word time is part of the phonics sessions. We ask the children to use magnetic letters to make words or write words containing the sounds they know.

Speed and Fluency

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As part of our Phonics session and throughout the day, we ask the children to speed read words containing the sounds they have learnt. We teach the children to read words and nonsence or alien words, quickly. 

Tricky Words

Tricky words or common exception words are the words that the children need to lean, by sight because they can't be decoded. The children learn to read tricky words in their Phonics sessions but we also teach the children different stategies when they are leaning to spell them, before we send any home to learn.

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Set 2 Speed Sounds

Once the chlidren have learnt Set 1 sounds and can blend to read words contaning these sounds, they will be taught Set 2 sounds. These are called vowel digraphs. If more than one letter (grapheme) represents a sound, we call these 'special friends' and encourage the children to look for them when reading e.g. 'oo' in 'food'. A sound is taught alongside a rhyme e.g. "ow, blow the snow". Once the children have learnt all set 2 sounds, they will have one way of spelling the long vowels. 

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In the Phonics sessions, the children will be encouraged to read and spell words containing the sounds they have learnt. We teach the children to count the sounds in a word they are being asked to spell e.g. 'cook has three sounds c-oo-k'. This helps with spelling.

Set 3 Speed Sounds

Set 3 looks at alternative spellings of the same sound. For example the long vowel sound 'a' can be spelt /ay/ as in play, /ai/ as in 'train' and /a-e/ as in 'make'. There is an expectation by the end of Year 1 that all set 3 sounds will be known and children can read words containing these sounds. Children will stay on the Read Write Inc programme until they can read and spell with confidence.

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Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

All Year 1 pupils take the statutory Phonics Screening check in June. The check assesses the children's ability to read (decode) 40 real and nonsense words. The check contains all the sounds the children have learnt in Reception and Year 1. In Year 1, the children carry out a practice test each half term to enable us to track their progress. Any child who need extra support will receive regulalr 1:1 and small group interventions to help them reach the expected standard. We will inform you of any practice screening checks your child carries out in school and let you know how they are getting on. 


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For further information about the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1, click below:

Year 1 Phonics Screening Check


How to help with Phonics at home

Please support your child to learn any sounds or word lists sent home. Regular practise, little and often really helps. We often add information to your child's reading dairy so checking this regularly is really important. Our annual parents meeting for Phonics and Reading takes place every Autumn term. We explain in furher detail how you can support your child and how we teach Phonics in school. We run Phonic and Reading worksops for you and your child during the year to help any children who may need a little extra support.

If you do have any questions about Phonics please contact Mrs Strickland or Mrs Appelbe. We are more than happy to help.