“If a child memorises ten words, the child can read only ten words, but if the child learns the sounds of ten letters, the child will be able to read 350 three-sound words, 4,320 four-sound words, and 21,650 five-sound words.” Martin Kozloff


Our Vision for Phonics at Headcorn Primary School...

At Headcorn School our aim is to inspire children’s love of reading and writing through a range of engaging texts and activities. In order for children to ignite this passion, they need the skills to decode words and spell accurately, leading to the fluency in these areas of learning which will shape their futures. Phonic and Spelling are important skills that help our pupils to understand the process of reading diverse genres, comprehend what they have read and to then be able to express their own opinions on the content.

Our English curriculum will equip the children to think critically and develop the perception and judgment to ask their own questions. Through high-quality Read, Write, Inc. lessons we aim to encourage pupils to develop their phonic skills and promote paired reading. Opportunities will be created to promote spelling and phonic learning across the curriculum, for children to apply the new skills they have learnt in other subject areas.

At Headcorn Primary School we endeavour to bring Reading and Writing alive in stimulating ways, ensuring all children have the necessary skills to participate thoroughly and reach their full potential.

Read, Write Inc

Headcorn Primary School has taken the very important decision to adopt the ” Read, Write Inc.” Phonics programme written by Ruth Miskin. We are dedicated to ensuring that each and every one of our children learns to read with accuracy and confidence. We believe that the Read, Write Inc. programme will allow us to do this, as well as allowing us to support you in fostering a love of reading in your child that will last a lifetime!

At the core of the programme is the lively and rigorous teaching of synthetic phonics. Although many children are able to sight read a large number of common words, they tend to become unstuck and later frustrated when they meet unfamiliar words. The use of phonics enables children to decode unfamiliar words without relying on context, pictures or the help of an adult. To achieve this, children learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and how to sound-blend words for reading (decoding) at the same time as developing handwriting skills and spelling (encoding). As their confidence in decoding develops they are taught to comprehend and compose ideas for their own writing. The children are able to practise sounds they have just learnt by reading storybooks perfectly matched to their phonological understanding – therefore achieving early success in reading but also developing a skill that will benefit them throughout their education

At Headcorn Primary School, we are now using the Read Write Inc. (RWI) programme to get children off to a flying start with their literacy. RWI is a method of learning based upon letter sounds and phonics, and we use it to aid children in their reading and writing.

Reading opens the door to learning. A child who reads a lot will become a good reader. A good reader will be able to read more challenging material. A child who reads challenging material is a child who will learn. The more a child learns, the more he or she will want to find out.

Using RWI, 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 put all their energy into composing what they write.

When using RWI to read the children will:

•Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts.

For example, the letters a & y together are pronounced ay (two letters one sound) and the letters
i & g & h together are pronounced igh (three letters one sound). Each sound has a rhyme to help
the children remember e.g. ay – May I play?

• Learn to read words using Fred Talk

For example, the children read each word by splitting it into sounds - s - igh - t = sight.

• Read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out.

Although the reading books appear to be fairly simple in content, each book incorporates a range of reading, comprehension and writing activities. This enables the children’s learning to be systematically reinforced and extended.

•Be able to show that they comprehend the stories by answering questions.

When using RWI to write the children will:

  • learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent 44 sounds
  • learn to write words by saying the sounds in Fred Talk

  • write simple sentences
  • compose stories based on picture strips

    compose a range of stories based on writing frames

The website below provides a video clip which shows the RWI programme in action and explains everything, especially ‘Fred talk’!


Reading - Helping at Home

The RWI information sheet on the OUP website gives you further information on how you can support your child at home and most importantly a useful guide on how to pronounce each sound!

If you would like to purchase your own RWI Sound cards, sets 1, 2 and 3 (including tricky words) can be obtained from Amazon as shown. The green pack includes set 1 sounds, and the yellow pack sets 2 and 3. Using the cards to enable your child to practise the sounds he or she has already learnt will be most beneficial, rather than introducing them to new ones at this stage.

Your child will be able to tell you the sounds they are currently learning, and you will be able to see which sounds they need to

If purchasing the green pack of set 1 sounds, please note that we only teach the sound in this way, not the letter formation which we have adapted to allow for cursive script.

Price For All Three: approx. £14 or individually below

· Read Write Inc. Phonics: Home More Phonics Flashcards by Ruth Miskin Cards (approx. £5)
· Read Write Inc. Home: Phonics Flashcards (Read Write Inc Phonics) by Ruth Miskin Cards (approx. £5)
· Read Write Inc. Phonics: Parent Handbook-Help your child read with phonics by Ruth Miskin Hardcover (approx. £4)

There is also an excellent website with plenty of ideas and games to help your child to enjoy reading at


And finally… we are finding the systematic use of phonics to be very useful in supporting the children to read. However, it is not the whole story and we urge you at every opportunity to read other stories to your children. Listening to stories helps children develop a wider vocabulary and makes a vast difference to their quality of writing.