At Barn Croft, 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.

For children who need additional phonics teaching in Key Stage 2, we use the ‘RWI Fresh Start’ programme.

Fresh Start is a catch-up and intervention programme for KS2 who are struggling to learn how to read. Taught in small, targeted daily interventions, is a simple but powerful way to accelerate reading progress. The programme connects older learners with specially designed age-appropriate resources. It aims to enable them to become confident and fluent readers, and to enhance their ability to engage with the wider curriculum.


Phonics is taught daily in small groups and all adults have completed RWI training and development days. We monitor children’s progress regularly and adapt groupings as needed, reading leaders use rigorous RWI assessments half termly to monitor progress over time, identify and support those children who need additional phonetic support, through delivering interventions (1:1 and group). For children using Fresh Start they are also assessed half termly by reading leaders and next steps identified and implemented.

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 (coming Spring 2023), where you can find out about how we teach phonics at Barn Croft so that you are best placed to support your child’s reading journey
  • Visit the Parents section of the RWI website: RWI – 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 need further advice or help with how best to help, please contact the school office at or speak to your child’s class teacher.

Parent guide to Read Write Inc. Phonics – Oxford Owl(opens in a new tab)

Information for parents and carers about the Read Write Inc phonics programme used at Barn Croft, including guides, videos and additional activities for home. Children accessing the phonics programme will take two phonics books home per week to read with an adult. We actively encourage listening to your child reading at home, daily, as well as reading high quality stories for them to enjoy.

Please click the downloadable attachments below for more information on Read Write Inc Phonics and a guide for parents.