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"Leaders make sure that reading is a high priority. The teaching of phonics is effective and begins from the moment children start school. It is well organised and builds on what pupils already know. Teachers accurately identify pupils who begin to fall behind. They provide extra help so that these pupils catch up quickly. High-quality texts are a ‘stand out’ feature of the school’s reading curriculum. Reading for enjoyment is well promoted. Pupils spoke enthusiastically about choosing their ‘reading for pleasure’ books, naming Tom Gates as one of their favourite authors. Teachers read with pupils and make sure books are well-suited to their ability. There are opportunities for pupils to talk about what they have read."

Inspection of Renhold VC Primary School

February 2020

Teaching Early Reading

At Renhold, we strive to teach children to read effectively and quickly using the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme (RWI) which includes teaching synthetic phonics, sight vocabulary, decoding and encoding words as well as spelling and accurate letter formation.

We passionately believe that teaching children to read and write independently, as quickly as possible, is one of the core purposes of a primary school. These fundamental skills not only hold the keys to the rest of the curriculum but also have a huge impact on children’s self-esteem and future life chances. Using the RWI phonics program we teach children to:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences

In practice, children learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and are taught how to blend these sounds to decode (read) words. We start by teaching children to read and blend the first thirty Set 1 sounds. Once they have conquered this skill, they start reading stories and texts that have words made up of the sounds they know. This means that they can embed and apply their phonic knowledge and start to build their reading fluency. Once secure, children learn Set 2 and Set 3 sounds and then read texts with increasingly more complex sounds and graphemes. Throughout this process there is a focus on comprehension, reading with expression and reading for enjoyment.

Children are taught in small groups which reflect their phonic knowledge and reading fluency. We regularly assess children so that they are taught in a RWI group which matches their phonic knowledge. We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ability to read ‘tricky words’; so they experience early reading success and gain confidence that they are readers.

How you can help at home!

  • Read to them and always discuss the story you are reading to try to build your child’s comprehension skills, inference and understanding.
  • Practice the sounds they know at home. These are the sounds in the Speed Sound Chart at the start of the storybooks.
  • Listen to your child read, both their RWI storybook and other storybooks, every day. Make sure that your child brings their RWI Storybook into school every day!
  • Talk to them! The most important thing you can do is to talk to your child and listen to them when they are talking to you. Try to extend their vocabulary range and their skill at talking in increasingly more complex sentences. For example, try to teach them alternative words for ideas, or nouns they already know.
  • Look out for our RWI Workshops, where you can find out about how we teach phonics at Renhold so that you are best placed to support your child’s reading journey
  • Make sure that they attend school every day, and that they are on time, as this will help your child to make the most progress.
  • Visit the Parents section of the RWI website: Parents’ Portal for more tips, techniques and helpful hints
  • Visit the Oxford Owl Reading at home pages: Oxford Owl Reading at home for super additional information.

If you have any further questions about reading, please talk to your child's class teacher. 



Click on the year group link to see the top 50 recommended texts for your child's year group.

Does your child prefer one particular author? Do you want them to try out different authors but still engage them in reading? 

Looking for book recommendations for children who have been hooked in by a particular series or author and are ready to branch out?


Take a look at this website which includes Branching Out booklists and free, printable display posters.

Bug Club Online Reading

Useful Links 


Read Write Inc


Phonics songs and sounds!


Phonics Games