Phonics and Reading Schemes

Early Reading at Brodetsky Primary School

Your child will begin the Read Write Inc Phonics programme when they start at Brodetsky Primary School in Nursery and Reception.

What is Read Write Inc?

When teaching your child to read, we never use letter names at this early stage.  Many schools use different phonics schemes to teach children to read, at Brodetsky, we believe Read Write Inc Phonics is the best scheme to support your child in learning to read.  Your child will be assessed and grouped according to their phonics ability, working in small groups with a teacher or teaching assistant.  Read Write Inc uses pure sounds, it removes the ‘uh’ sounds from words.

Speed Sounds

When teaching your child phonics, we will use the term ‘speed sounds’,  these are individual sounds which your child will learn how to read quickly and effortlessly as they progress through Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. Your child will be regularly assessed to ensure they are reaching their full potential and will receive additional booster sessions if appropriate.


Your child will learn a new sound every day accompanied by a handwriting rhyme which helps them to remember how to form the letter shape when writing it.  If your child is in Nursery, they may learn a sound a week or over several days as it is important that your child learns how to distinguish sounds. A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in speech, this may be one letter, or a group of two or three letters which make one sound.   For example, if your child was learning the phoneme (sound) ‘a’, they would also learn the rhyme ’round the apple and down the leaf’ when they start to write their letter.  In set 1, your child will learn 44 phonemes.

Video: Single sounds – Coming soon…


As your child learns each sound (phoneme), they are taught how to blend the sounds together to make two and three letters words (CVC words, consonant, vowel, consonant such as the word dog). Your child will learn how to read real and nonsense words.

Green Words

Alongside this, your child will start to read ‘green’ words.  ‘Green’ words are words which can be sounded out and blended like ‘dog’, ‘cat’.

Red Words

Having gained confidence sounding out green words, your child will be taught about ‘red’ words.  These words are tricky words, words which can’t be sounded out phonetically like ‘to’ and ‘go’.  Your child will start to learn the ‘red’ words I, the and my. They will also learn why these words are tricky and cannot be sounded out. I says it’s name as in the alphabet song whilst with the word ‘the’, we don’t say the ‘e’ and with ‘my’, the ‘y’ is pretending to be an I.  As your child progresses through Reception and KS1 (Year 1 and Year 2), they will learn these ‘red’ words by sight.

Digraphs and Trigraphs

When the children have learnt the single sounds they begin to move on to two and three letter sounds these are called digraphs (2 letters making 1 sound like ‘ea’  in the word tea) and trigraphs (3 letters making 1 sound like ‘igh’ in the word light). Set 1 sounds include the digraphs ‘ch’, ‘sh’, ‘th’, ‘ng, ‘nk, and ‘qu’.

Video: Digraphs/trigraphs – Coming soon…

Fred Talk

At school we use a puppet called Fred who can only speak in sounds, not whole words. We call this Fred Talk. For example, Fred would say d-o-g, we would say dog. Your child is taught to hear sounds and blend them together in sequence to make a word.

Fred Fingers

Fred Fingers are used for spelling. Your child is taught to sound out the word they are spelling and put up the correct number of fingers for the sounds they can hear in that word. For example: m-ee-t = 3 sounds = 3 fingers. When your child starts to write words, they will be taught to use their ‘Fred Fingers’:

Say the word.
Hold up correct number of Fred Fingers.
Palm facing you.
Say the word again.
Pinch the sounds. (Gently pinch each finger as you say the sound)
Write the sounds.
Add sound buttons/dashes.

Sound Buttons and Dashes

Sound buttons are circles or spots that can be written underneath a sound to support reading.  Your child will be taught to say the sound aloud as they touch the sound button.   If reading a diagraph (two letters making one sound) or trigraph (three letters making one sound), your child will know that this sound is represented by a dash underneath the letters which make the sound. See above in the word play, ‘ay’ is a diagraph, so has the dash underneath.

Fred in your head

Your child’s teacher will hold up a green word (close to their chest), giving your child time to mime the sounds, and will then push the word forward as a signal for your child to say the whole word (as opposed to blending individual sounds).  This will be repeated over a period of time, until your child can say the word straight away. Your child will start off initially mouthing the sounds silently and then saying the whole word to saying the whole word straight away.

Video to come

Your child will start to learn set 1 sounds in Nursery and Reception, some children will be ready to move onto set 2 sounds in Reception.  It is important to remember that each child is individual and maybe ready to progress before other children. In Year 1 and 2, your child will continue to progress through set 1,2 and 3 as appropriate before moving onto Grammar lessons. If appropriate, phonics lessons and interventions will also continue into Key Stage 2.

Set 1 and Set 2 sounds

Images to come

Red Ditties

As your child gains confidence reading individual words, they will move onto reading sentences, then onto ‘ditties’. The Red Ditty books provide a bridge between your child reading simple words/sentences and reading short stories.  Watch the video below on how to support your child with their reading book.

Phonics Screening Check

Tips for Children to Read at home

Useful Websites

Useful Terminology