Here at St. George's, we teach synthetic phonics following the scheme Read Write Inc. (also known as RWI). This is a scheme developed by Ruth Miskin who is one of the UK's leading authorities on teaching children to read. 


What is synthetic phonics?

Synthetic phonics is a way of teaching reading. Children are taught to read letters, or groups of letters, by saying the sound they represent. For example, the letter 'M' makes an 'mmm' sound. Synthetic phonics teaches children to synthesise the sounds together to form a word. We refer to this as blending. 


Synthetic phonics teaches children:

  • That words are composed of sounds (phonemes).
  • How sounds are represented by letters (graphemes).
  • To blend sounds in a word when reading.
  • To listen for sounds when spelling.
  • All of the different ways a sound can be represented, e.g. the /a/ in 'major' can also be spelled: 'ay' like in play, 'ai' like in paid, 'a' like in apron, 'eigh' like in eight and so on. 


When do we start teaching RWI?

Throughout nursery, your child will be exposed to letter sounds through stories on a daily basis. When they reach the summer term, they will be taught Set 1 speed sounds. 


As children progress through Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, they will have a daily phonics lesson where they will be taught speed sounds and be given an opportunity to embed their learning through spelling practise and the reading of a stage related book. 


Some children will complete RWI by Year 2, from here, children are exposed to daily reading and comprehension to ensure that they have understood what they have decoded when reading. If a child has not completed RWI by Year 2, they will continue to have a daily phonics lesson in an appropriate group. Should children require further support with learning to read, the phonics lead will ensure they have appropriate intervention in place. 



Pure sounds

When teaching your child to read, we use the pure sounds for each letter, or group of letters. For an example of the pure sounds, please follow this link:

Parent video: How to say the sounds - YouTube 


Letter formation

When your child is taught to write letters, RWI uses mnemonics to help the children remember how to form them correctly. You can find these in the documents section below. 


How can I help at home?

In their book bags, your child will have a phonics book and a sharing book. The phonics book level matches the sounds that your child knows meaning that they can read this to you independently. Please encourage your child to read this at home everyday. The sharing book is a book for you to share, perhaps you could read this book to your child and enjoy the story together. For our 'ten top tips' on reading at home, please see the documents section below.