“Teach a child to read and keep that child reading and we will change everything. And I mean everything.” – Jean Winterson

This quote epitomises the intent of the Read Write Inc. programme, which we use to teach phonics at Girnhill Infant School. The Read, Write Inc. programme is a systematic, synthetic phonics programme that explicitly teaches children to read fluently and accurately. All of the staff at Girnhill are trained to deliver the Read, Write Inc phonics programme in school.

At Girnhill Infant School, we value reading as a key life skill and one that lays the foundations for lifelong learning. We want every child to learn to decode quickly and accurately so that reading becomes effortless. This enables children to develop their comprehension so that they can then begin to read for pleasure.

Our aim is that all children will be able to:

  • apply a knowledge of structured synthetic phonics in order to decode unfamiliar words with increasing accuracy and speed;
  • read accurately, fluently and with understanding
  • be able to read with expression, clarity and confidence
  • develop a good linguistic knowledge of vocabulary and grammar
  • read and respond to a wide range of different types of texts
  • read widely and often for pleasure and information
  • engage in discussion to in order to learn to elaborate and explain clearly understanding and ideas
  • become enthusiastic and motivated readers and gain a life-long enjoyment of reading and books.

Read, Write, Inc. is a method of learning centred on letter sounds and phonics, blending them together to read and write words and using these learnt sounds in their reading and writing. Using Read, Write, Inc. the children learn to read effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into comprehending what they read. It also allows them to spell effortlessly so that they can focus on composing what they write.

The children are assessed and grouped according to their ability and they work with a teacher or teaching assistant in a small group.  The Reading Leader, to ensure that they move through the programme at a good pace, continuously assesses the children.  At the end of each half term all children are assessed and then put into new groups according to their phonic knowledge and fluency when reading.


At Girnhill, we value reading as a key life skill and one that lays the foundations for long-life learning. We want every child to decode quickly and accurately so that reading becomes effortless, as well as, develop a love for reading and books. We ensure opportunities are provided every single day for children to read with adults in school and at home. We believe our entire school is a library and aim to inspire children to read for pleasure. Reading is taught through the ambitious National Curriculum, the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework and the Read, Write, Inc. programme that explicitly teaches children to read fluently and accurately. This ensures that staff are supported to teach small progressive steps in a specific coherent teaching sequence, ensuring that children continue to learn new grapheme-phoneme correspondences and revise and consolidate those learnt earlier. We are ambitious in our expectations of all pupils, ensuring cross curricular links are made to develop children holistically. We map the National Curriculum and Early Years Foundation Stage Framework for reading into a coherent and sequential progression model that outlines the substantive knowledge, disciplinary knowledge, vocabulary and sentence stems needed at each stage that will build cumulatively towards learners being able to use and apply their knowledge, skills and understanding across a range of reading concepts, whilst making purposeful links.  At Girnhill Infant School, we believe that oracy is a powerful tool for learning; by teaching children to become more effective speakers and listeners we empower them to better understand themselves, each other and the world around them. Vocabulary is purposeful and progressive to allow children to develop their expressive language and leave school being able to articulate their understanding of text using the four strands of good talk. Technical tiered vocabulary is modelled through flashcards and teacher talk using ‘my turn, your turn’. Sentence stems are used to provide children with a model of how to use book talk and scaffold their talk effectively. Questions are carefully planned in advance to target pre-empted misconceptions, address gaps in learning and enable children to develop their explanations and comprehension of books and text.

Reading is delivered by teachers and teaching assistants that are trained and coached by the reading leader in order to remain skilled phonic group leaders. Reading tutors deliver daily 1:1 Read, Write, Inc. tutoring sessions to ensure that children ‘keep-up not catch-up’. Through these means, children are taught daily to read accurately, fluently and with understanding. A love of reading and books is inspired through our school’s reading environments and daily story-times. Teachers use the ‘Talk-through Story’ units from Read, Write, Inc. to deliver purposeful story-times that develop oracy and book talk through the explicit teaching of tier-two vocabulary and comprehension. Teacher’s also deliver an additional story-time daily, where children listen to their favourite stories, stories they have voted for and books that reinforce prior-learning and cross-curricular links. Oracy is woven throughout reading as detailed in the progression grid. The progression grid outlines the oracy expectations of each year group within the four strands of good talk. It also includes the tiered technical vocabulary all learners need to acquire and use in order to talk like a reader. This will be modelled using ‘my turn your turn’ and opportunities are made for children to practice using the vocabulary throughout lessons and story time in both guided and independent practice. Suggested sentence stems are provided and used in order to scaffold responses. Opportunities for children to practise the skill of presentational talk will be further developed in reading through the use of mode B learning such as freeze frames in character, hot seating a character, book reviews and retelling a story using drama.

All explicit reading lessons begin with the introduction of a new grapheme and the review of previously taught grapheme-phoneme correspondences through flashcards. Children then apply these sounds to decode new words using the skills of segmenting and blending. Children then review words containing previously taught graphemes using segmenting and blending and then at speed for fluency. High-quality modelling of these skills and language is offered to our children and scaffolds are provided for difficult tasks. All reading lessons have a strong, purposeful emphasis on reading and comprehending books that are tailored to individual child’s reading abilities.

Assessments and data show that many children are making progress each half-term. Progress trackers show that most children are making at-least one step of progress each half-term and are retaining more grapheme-phoneme correspondences. Where children are not making at least one step of progress each half-term, interventions are put in place. This is in the form of individual progress records for 1:1 tutoring in order for children to keep-up not catch-up. For some of our pupils who are on the SMTL/EHCP plans, learning has been adapted so that they also access physical active phonics activities as part of their reading/phonics sessions that still remain in line with the Read, Write, Inc. programme. Some of these children also require an additional adult to support them in accessing their discrete phonics groups.

Floor books and pupils voice evidence the use of tier-two vocabulary that is modelled by teachers in the ‘talk-through’ story sessions.