St Michael And All Angels Catholic Primary School

Home Page

St Michael And All Angels Catholic Primary School

Phonics and Early Reading

Phonics and Early Reading

- St Michael and All Angels -


"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free"

Frederick Douglass



At St Michael’s and All Angels, we aim to foster a joy of reading in each of our children. To do this, we use the Read Write Inc Phonics Programme, along with other resources, as a basis to teach children how to read and write sounds in a fun and interactive way.

How is Phonics Taught?


Phonics is taught daily in school. We begin with Phase 1 Initial Letter Sounds from the Sounds Phonics Programme, before moving onto the Read Write Inc system. This allows our pupils to confidently listen to, make, explore and talk about sounds.



Reading Strategies within Phonics


Pure Sounds

Pupils learn to speak using Pure Sounds. These are the sounds individual letters make. The use of Pure Sounds is key for pupils to begin to blend sounds in order to read a word.


The following link gives examples of how to speak using Pure Sounds from the RWI Programme:

Speed Sounds

As pupils begin to learn Pure Sounds, they also begin to learn Speed Sounds. Speed Sounds are divided into Sets, starting with simple sounds in Set 1, before moving onto complex speed sounds in Sets 2 and 3.

Fred Talk


When we use Pure Sounds we call it ‘Fred Talk’. In school, we have an expert called Fred the Frog who shows the children how to segment the speed sounds in words.


We can then use our Fred Talk to help us to blend sounds into words. The following link shows examples of how to blend:

Sight Reading – Red Words


Pupils also learn to read words by sight, such as: come, would and said. These words are called Red Words because they cannot be read by blending the sounds together. Pupils must memorise these words instead.


Alien Words

As children build up their knowledge of sounds, they apply their decoding skills to read any unfamiliar words, whether they be real or ‘nonsense’ words. These Alien Nonsense Words are a great way to ensure that pupils are implementing the reading strategies that are being taught.


Home Reading Books


Pupils are given books that are phonetically matched to their progress. It is recommended that children read to an adult at home at least 3 times a week for up to 15 minutes. Doing this with your child will help them practice the skills they have learnt in school.


Do not be afraid to re-read the same book with your child. In the early stages it often takes up more than 3 reads to become fluent and fully understand what it is they are reading.


Alongside side this, pupils will often bring a second book, either a real or online book, which is to be shared to them by an adult.

One family, growing together in love and faith, flourishing in an ever-changing world. We love, we believe, we shine, we achieve.