Plaistow Hill Primary and Nursery School

Plaistow Hill Infant and Primary School

Everyday my daughter is very eager to tell me what she has learnt and is always excited to be going to school

Year 2 Parent

  • "Staff are kind, calm and encouraging - Ofsted, April 2022"
  • "Children flourish in an environment of genuine warmth and care - Ofsted, April 2022"
  • "Pupils in Key Stage 1 are confident, listen to each other, share and take turns - Ofsted, April 2022"
  • "Parents and carers praise the work of the school - Ofsted, April 2022"
  • "One parent expressed the view of many with the comment 'the atmosphere and attitude of all the staff is incredible' - Ofsted, April 2022"
  • "The outdoor learning environment is used effectively to help children co-operate with each other and practise their number knowledge and skills - Ofsted, April 2022"
  • "Pupils are happy at Plaistow Hill Infant and Nursery School - Ofsted, April 2022"
Life at Plaistow Hill Primary and Nursery School Life at Plaistow Hill Primary and Nursery School Life at Plaistow Hill Primary and Nursery School Life at Plaistow Hill Primary and Nursery School Life at Plaistow Hill Primary and Nursery School


At Plaistow Hill, we use the validated systematic phonics scheme called Read Write Inc. 


At Plaistow Hill, we are passionate about reading and the teaching of reading begins with RWI in Nursery and continues into Reception, Year 1 and Year 2.


The children learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and how to sound and blend these sounds for reading (decoding). They also develop their letter formation, spelling skills (encoding) and knowledge of ‘tricky’ red words (words you cannot sound).


RWI sessions happen daily for all children requiring phonics. Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 use the RWI programme as their core approach to the teaching of reading.


The programme ensures the children experience success from the very beginning. Lively phonic books are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words and, as children re-read the stories, their fluency increases. Along with a thought-provoking introduction, prompts for thinking out loud and discussion, children are helped to read with a storyteller’s voice.


Children are assessed and grouped every 6 weeks and this ensures they are reading books that match their phonics ability. Children will work in small groups with a Teacher or Teaching Assistant. All staff delivering RWI have been fully trained in the effective teaching of Read Write Inc.


Your child’s reading journey with RWInc.

The teaching of phonics is broken into sets of sounds. There are three sets of sounds.


Set 1 Sounds

Below are the Set 1 sounds, they are taught in the following order:

m  a  s  d  t  i  n  p  g  o  c  k  u  b  f  e  l  h   r  j  v  y  w  z x sh th ch  qu  ng  nk


Speed Sounds

When teaching your child phonics, we will use the term 'speed sounds', these are the pure sounds for each letter. This will begin in Foundation and continue into Year 1. By the end of Foundation, the children should be able to read all the Set 1 speed sounds quickly and confidently.


Your child will learn a new speed sound, called a phoneme, every day. 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. Read Write Inc teaches pure sounds and removes the 'uh' sound from phonemes, i.e. when sounding 'n' the children will stretch the pure sound nnnnn, rather than saying 'n uh'


Each phoneme in Set 1 is accompanied by a handwriting rhyme which helps them to remember how to form the letter shape when writing it. 


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. 


As your child learns each sound (phoneme), they are taught how to blend the sounds together to read real words, called ‘green words’ as well as nonsense words.

Green words are words that can be sounded out and blended like ‘dog’, ‘cat’.  


Nonsense words are words that are not real but help to assess whether your child has  secured their identification of the sounds in words as well as their ability to blend them.


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 or say the sounds and blend them together in sequence to make a word.


Ditties and RWInc. Story books

As your child gains confidence in sounding and blending they will apply their phonic knowledge to reading Ditties, short sentences, moving into reading Red, Green and Purple story books as they progress.


Red Words
Having gained confidence sounding and blending green words, your child will be taught about ‘red' words.  These words are tricky words that contain spelling patterns that do not follow the phonetic rules and so the word cannot be fully sounded out, for example, words like 'said' and ‘was’. They will learn why these words are tricky and identify the 'tricky letters'  

As your child progresses through Foundation and KS1 (Year 1 and Year 2), they will learn a wide variety of 'red' words and be encouraged to read these speedily as they become more confident. 


Set 2 Speed Sounds

Below are the Set 2 sounds, they are taught in the following order:

ay   ee   igh   ow   oo   oo   ar   or   air   ir   ou   oy


Once your child has secured the Set 1 Sounds, they will begin learning the Set 2 Sounds. Set 2 speed sounds are either digraphs or trigraphs.


Digraphs are 2 letters that make 1 sound – like ‘ay’ in play.

Trigraphs are 3 letters that make 1 sound – like ‘igh’ in light.


These types of sounds are called ‘special friends’ and the children are taught to spot the special friends in the words they read to help them sound and blend them accurately.   



Set 2 Sounds are taught alongside a spelling element to develop their ability to segment and write words. They use their ‘Fred Fingers’ to help them to do this.


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' using the following steps:

  • 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.


RWInc. Story books

Your child will continue reading RWI story books in their daily sessions to apply their growing phonics knowledge. These books are progressive and match their phonics ability.


Set 3 Speed Sounds

Below are the Set 3 sounds, they are taught in the following order:

ea    oi   a-e    i-e    o-e    u-e    aw   are    ur    er   ow    ai    oa    ew    ire   ear   ure


Set 3 sounds are taught in the same way as Set 2 sounds. However, there is a new type of sound introduced – a split digraph.


split digraph is two letters (vowels), split by another letter (consonant), that makes one sound, e.g. ‘a-e’ as in make or i-e in pipe. 


It is expected that by the end of Year 1 your child will have secured their Set 2 sounds and have begun to secure their Set 3 sounds. In Year 2, your child will continue their RWI sessions until they have secured all the sounds and are able to read them fluently.


RWInc. in Key Stage 2

In some instances, children in KS2 will still be accessing phonics. In Year 3, this will be taught using the RWI programme as outlined above. 


Reading at Home – RWInc. Phonics Book Bag Books

All children accessing RWI across the school will bring home a RWI phonics book matched to their current phonics ability. Reading these books regularly, as well as re-reading the books will support their reading immeasurably. The books are fully decodable and support their Read Write Inc. Phonics learning in the classroom.