Tickhill St Mary'sCofE Primary and Nursery School

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Phonics at St Mary's


Phonics at St Mary’s


Here at Tickhill St Mary’s we recognise the importance of developing children’s early reading and writing skills. We use the Read Write Inc phonics scheme to help us achieve this. The children are taught in small, similar ability groups and are regularly assessed by the Phonics leader, Miss Belnavis, to ensure that we are best meeting their needs.

The Read Write Inc scheme promotes a uniform approach to the teaching of phonics and children are keen to carry out the daily 20 minute lessons. We follow the 6 principles set out in the Read Write Inc scheme:

  • Participation – 100% of the time and fully engaged
  • Praise – praise phrases and rewards are built into the scheme
  • Purpose – there are lots of activities within the week but they all build up to an ‘end product’ by Friday of each week
  • Pace – the children should always be engaged and teachers need to be consistent with their teaching signals
  • Passion (+ attainment directly links)
  • Perseverance (until every child can read)


We aim to make the lessons fun for the children and the children enjoy receiving lots of praise. Many different fun praise actions are used to motivate:

  • Round of a claws
  • Fan-tastic
  • Lorry driver’s horn
  • Marshmallow clap
  • Ketchup clap
  • Whoosh!
  • Firework


The Read Write Inc scheme ensures that children are taught:


  • All 44 sounds in the English language
  • Over 150 graphemes that correspond to the sounds
  • That sounds can be either bouncy or stretchy


It is important that sounds need to be taught in the purest form and they must be encouraged not to say the ‘schwa’ on the end of each sound. The correct way of saying the sounds can be seen on the link:

(this will give a You Tube link to the sound clip – Articulation of Phonemes)

Key Features of a Read Write Inc lesson:

  • Step 1: Hear it and Say it (introduce the sound – encouraging the children to hear and say the sound)
  • Step 2: Read it (show the children the sound on the sound cards and say the sounds)
  • Step 3: Speed Sounds review (Look at previously taught sound and recognise all of the sounds)
  • Step 4: Write it (use the handwriting phrases to correct letter formation)
  • Step 5: Speed write (practise writing all of the known sounds in one minute)
  • Fred oral talk (use word cards and sound out to read and write)
Key Vocabulary
  • Phoneme – Phonemes are the smallest unit of speech-sounds which make up a word. If you change a phoneme in a word, you would change its meaning. For example, there are three phonemes in the word sit /s/-/i/-/t/. If you change the phoneme /s/ for /f/, you have a new word, fit. If you change the phoneme /t/ in fit for a /sh/, you have a new word, fish - /f/-/i/-/sh/
  • Grapheme – One letter or one group of letters used to write one sound eg. The sound ‘f’ can be written with the grapheme f (fun), ff (huff)

The sound ‘igh’ can be written with the grapheme igh (night) or i (knife) or ie (tie)

  • Digraph – two letters making one sound, e.g. sh, ch, th, ph.
  • Split digraph – two letters, split, making one sound, e.g. a-e as in make or i-e in site
  • Fred talk – Fred is the puppet who says, reads and spells words in pure sounds; he never says the whole word so the children do this for him.
  • Green words – Words made up of graphemes that children have been taught. Children use ‘Fred talk’ to read and ‘Fred fingers’ to spell these words.
  • Red words – Common words with an uncommon spelling eg. said, would, bought.


Useful Websites: