Drake Primary School and Little Pirates Child Care

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Phonics At Drake Primary School


At Drake  Primary School we believe that reading is the key that unlocks the whole curriculum. To this end, we make sure that all children are given daily acces to quality phonics teaching from Reception onwards using the Read Write Inc scheme (RWI). We believe that RWI Phonics is an inclusive literacy programme for all children learning to read. By delivering energetic, enthusiastic and passionate lessons, children enjoy learning and will achieve well in the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1 so that all children will become confident and fluent readers. We expect that the RWI programme is completed by the end of year 2. However, specific support and instruction can continue beyond this for children as required.



Aims and objectives

To teach children to:

  • Recognise 40+ sounds and to read them effortlessly.
  • 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 phonics patterns.
  • Read texts and words that are within their phonic capabilities as early as possible.
  • Decode texts effortlessly so all their resources can be used to comprehend what they read.
  • Spell effortlessly so that all their resources can be directed towards composing their writing.
  • Think out loud and discuss texts
  • Read books with storyteller's voice and appropriate intonation.


RWI across the school

Foundation Stage

RWI is fully implemented in Reception. At the beginning of education year Reception children have daily whole class RWI sessions. Children learn set 1 sounds -  the individual sounds that are called 'speed sounds'. We want children to read them effortlessly. Every speed sound has a list of green words linked to it, so children are taught to 'sound out' and 'sound blend' words. Children can start blending sounds into words as soon as they know a small group of sounds well. During lessons, children are taught to hear sounds and blend them together in sequence to make a word. We start with blending oral sounds, then progress to reading the letters and blending them together to read words.

Children also have handwriting sessions to learn to write the sound forming letters correctly. Once all set 1 sounds have been taught, children are assessed unsing the RWI  assessment and are grouped by their abilities.


Key Stage One

A RWI assessment is carried out every half term and children are grouped by their phonics ability skills. The RWI sessions occur daily for 30 minutes. Each session starts with speed sound session - children learning set 2 or set 3 sounds  (one new sound per day). As children build up their knowledge of sounds, they are able to apply their decoding skills to read any unfamiliar word, we use both real words and 'nonsense words' to ensure that children can use their phonics knowledge accurately.  Decoding nonsense words is an important part of the Phonics Screening Test that children complete at the end of Year 1.


During RWI sessions, children build their reading skills and read ditties (story books) in line with their phonics capability.  Each story book has green words linked to the sounds they have been learning, red words (words that are not decodable) and challenge words that extend children's vocabulary. After children have practised these words individually, they are prepared to see them in context of the story.


Activities such as comprehension questions, partner discussion and writing activities based on the book  follow.  Once children are confident reading their story book. Children take home a RWI Book Bag Book, which matches their phonics skill level and their RWI lesson. Additional reading is still promoted and children may take home books from other reading schemes to broaden their experiences of texts.


Key Stage Two

To support children in phonics, in Key Stage 2 at Drake we use RWI Fresh Start. It is a phonics intervention programme for pupils in years 5, 6 and 7 working below NC level 3. The programme gives older children who not yet cracked the 'code of reading'  the chance to catch up and become confident, fluent readers. 


Fresh Start Modules and Anthologies provide specially written age appropriate stories and non-fiction texts which the children are able to read using their phonic knowledge in order to build confidence, fluency and comprehension. For any children in Year 3 or 4  who haven't completed the RWI programme, additional intervention and RWI support is provided in their classes if necessary.