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Phonics, Reading and Spelling

Phonics Screening Year 1 

The phonics screening test for Year 1 children will take place on the week beginning 10th June 2024. 

For more information regarding the test, please follow the links below:

Year 1 Phonics Screening Letter

Further information 

If you would like to see an example of previous tests, or you would like to have a go at a previous test with your child, please see the links below. 

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Example 4

Example 5

Example 6

Our Reading Programme

At Castle Cary Primary School we use Read Write Inc Phonics (RWI) to give your child the best possible start with their literacy. We have put together a guide to how the RWI programme works together with some useful links.


Phonics – Tackley Church of England Primary School

Parent Reading Information

Handout 1

Handout 2

General Information 

What is Read Write Inc?

Read Write Inc (RWI) is a phonics complete literacy programme which helps all children learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling.  The programme is designed for children aged 4-7. However, we will continue teaching RWI to children beyond the age of 7 if they still need support in their reading.  RWI was developed by Ruth Miskin.  For more information, please follow the links below. 


Letter to parents about phonics




How will RWI be taught?

All children are assessed regularly by our RWI lead teacher so they work with children at the same level. This allows complete participation in lessons.


Reception Outline

In Reception all children will learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down.



The children:

  • learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts – see below
  • learn to read words using Fred talk and sound blending
  • read from a range of storybooks and non-fictions books matched to their phonic knowledge
  • work well with partners
  • develop comprehension skills in stories by answering 'Find It' and 'Prove It' discussion questions



The children:

  • learn to write and form the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds with the help of fun phrases
  • learn to write words by using Fred Talk
  • learn to build sentences by practising sentences out loud before they write 



The children work in pairs so that they:

  • answer every question
  • practise every activity with their partner
  • take turns in talking and reading to each other
  • develop ambitious vocabulary


Phonics leaflet Reception - Starfish

Year One & Year Two Outline

Children follow the same format as Reception but will work on complex sounds and read books appropriate to their reading level. Daily sessions of RWI phonics last for 45 minutes to one hour. 


Children who are fluent readers and complete the RWI phonics programme will then access the RWI spelling programme.

RWInc Spelling is an interactive programme which teaches spellings in a fun and engaging way. Each unit is introduced with a short video. It helps children to learn spellings with common patterns and uses rules in order to help them recall spellings as well as teaching exceptions to these rules. Children will then no longer bring home the RWI books as they will then be able to access and read a range of books using Accelerated Reader (Please follow: https://www.castlecaryschool.co.uk/Learning/Accelerated-Reader/ for further information. 


Phonics leaflet Years 1 and 2 - Sea Otter and Turtle

The steps we will follow to teach your child to read.


We use pure sounds (‘m’ not’ muh’,’s’ not ‘suh’, etc.) so that your child will be able to blend the sounds into words more easily.


At school we use a puppet called Fred who is an expert on sounding out words! we call it, ‘Fred Talk’. E.g. m-o-p, c-a-t, m-a-n, sh-o-p, b-l-a-ck.


The following video is an example of blending sounds with Fred. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEzfpod5w_Q


The children are taught the sounds in 3 sets.


Step 1:

Set 1 Sounds are taught in the following order together with rhymes to help children form the letters correctly and instantly recognise sounds ready for blending.

 Set 1




Up we go, Down Maisie then over the two mountains. Maisie, mountain, mountain.


Up we go, Round the apple, down the leaf.


Up we go, Slide around the snake


Up we go, Round the dinosaur's back, up his neck and down to his feet.


Up we go, Down the tower, across the tower,


Up we go, Down the insects body, dot for the head.


Up we go, Down Nobby and over the net.


Up we go, Down the plait, up and over the pirates face.


Up we go, Round the girls face, down her hair and give her a curl


Up we go, All around the orange


Up we go, Curl around the caterpillar


Up we go, Down the kangaroos body, tail and leg


Up we go, Down and under the umbrella, up to the top and down to the puddle


Up we go, Down the laces, over the toe and touch the heel


Up we go, Down the stem and draw the leaves


Up we go, Slice into the egg, go over the top, then under the egg


Up we go, Down the long leg


Up we go, Down the horse's head to the hooves and over his back


Up we go, Down the robot's back, then up and curl


Up we go, Down his body, curl and dot


Up we go, Down a wing, up a wing


Up we go, Down a horn, up a horn and under the yak's head.


Up we go, Down, up, down, up the worm.


Up we go, Zig-zag-zig, down the zip.


Up we go, Cross down the arm and leg and cross the other way


Up we go, Slither down the snake, then down the horse's head to the hooves and over his back


Up we go, Down the tower, across the tower, then down the horse’s head to the hooves and over his back


Up we go, Curl around the caterpillar, , then down the horse's head to the hooves and over his back


Up we go, Round the queen’s head, up to her crown, down her hair and curl


A thing on a string


I think I stink

Please do not use letter names at this early stage.

Children will also use pictures for each sound to help recognise the sound and then form the shape of the sound


Step 2:

The children are then taught Set 2 Sounds - the long vowels. When they are very confident with all of set 1 and 2 they are taught Set 3 Sounds.

Long  vowel sound

Set 2 Speed Sounds

Set 3 Speed Sounds


ay: may I play

a-e: make a cake

ai: snail in the rain


ee: what can you see

ea: cup of tea

e: he me we she be


igh: fly high

i-e: nice smile


ow: blow the snow

o-e: phone home

ao: goat in a boat


oo: poo at the zoo

u-e: huge brute

ew: chew the stew


oo: look at a book




ar: start the car




or: shut the door

aw: yawn at dawn



air: that’s not fair

are: share and care



ir: whirl and twirl

ur: nurse for a purse

er: a better letter


ou: shout it out

ow: brown cow



oy: toy for a boy

oi: spoil the boy




ire: fire fire!




ear: hear with your ear




ure: sure it’s pure?



Nonsense words (Alien words)          

As well as learning to read and blend real words children will have plenty of opportunities to apply their sound recognition skills on reading ‘Nonsense words’. These words will also feature heavily in the Year One Phonics Screening check in the summer term. 


Step 3:

Children will be introduced to ‘Ditty books’ when they successfully begin to read single words. The short vowels should be kept short and sharp:

Children use sound-blending (Fred Talk) to read short ditties. They will bring these home once they have read and discussed the book in class.

Within all the books children will have red and green words to learn to help them to become speedy readers. Red words are words that are not easily decodable and challenge words to extend children’s vocabulary. Green words are linked to the sounds they have been learning and are easily decodable.


Helping at home

Children will take home RWI phonics book bag books to practise the phonics skills they are learning at school, alongside a storybook that they have read in their guided reading session. Phonics books aid application, speed and fluency- developing speedy reading! At Castle Cary Primary School, we send home one guided reading book that the children will be familiar with as they would have read it three times with us during the week. We will also send home one book bag book which they are not familiar with but will match their phonological knowledge and we will also send home a sharing book which is for the parent to enjoy reading to the child. Children are expected to read these books at least three times a week to build on their fluency and speedy reading.

Activities for supporting your child at home


Phonics Screening Check Year One


What is the Year 1 phonics screening check?

The Year 1 phonics screening check is a short, light-touch assessment to confirm whether individual pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard.

It will identify the children who need extra help so they are given support by their school to improve their reading skills. They will then be able to retake the check so that schools can track pupils until they are able to decode.


Guided Reading

Every child is a reader | Reading quotes, Book quotes, Books

Once children have progressed through the Read, Write, Inc. they are ready to read independently and develop higher order reading skills. They will progress onto Accelerated Reader and they will take part in teacher led guided reading sessions.  These take place at least 4 times a week with an emphasis on the key skills - literal, deductive, inference and evaluative. We use a mixture of home readers plus our library to support a love of independent reading. For further information on Acelerated Reader please follow this link: https://www.castlecaryschool.co.uk/Learning/Accelerated-Reader/



Read Write Inc. Spelling is for children in Years 2 to 6 who can read accurately, with increasing speed. Spelling is taught discretely for around 15 minutes a day.

The RWI spelling programme develops children’s knowledge of word families, how suffixes impact upon root words, and provides mnemonics to remember the trickiest spellings.  The teaching revolves around instruction (with the help of online alien characters), partner and group practice, and competitive group challenges that help children commit new words to memory.

Spelling Lists