Phonics and Pre phonics


The school’s vision is that every pupil learns to read quickly and continues to read – widely and often.  We will provide support for children with visual, auditory and communication needs to ensure that where there are barriers to learning to read, we aim to reduce or remove as many barriers as we can.

Our pupils learn to read and write using the Read Write Inc. Phonics Programme. 

The Read Write Inc. Phonics programme is for all primary students and for those in KS3 who are continuing to develop their phonological skills.

Older students, who are continuing to develop their phonological knowledge and skills, will follow the Read Write Inc Fresh Start programme.

We teach pupils to:

  • Decode letter-sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly, using their phonic knowledge and skills
  • Read ‘tricky’ words on sight
  • Understand what they read
  • Read aloud with fluency and expression
  • Write confidently, with a strong focus on vocabulary and grammar
  • Spell quickly and easily by segmenting the sounds in words 
  • Acquire good handwriting 

In addition, we teach pupils to work effectively with a partner to explain and consolidate what they are learning.  This provides the teacher with opportunities to assess learning and to pick up on difficulties, such as pupils’ poor articulation, or problems with blending or alphabetic code knowledge. 

During early development, we emphasise the alphabetic code.  The pupils rapidly learn sounds and the letter or groups of letters they need to represent them.  This is especially useful for pupils at risk of making slower progress.  This learning is consolidated daily.  Pupils have frequent practice in reading high frequency words with irregular spellings – ‘tricky words’ (common exception words). 

We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and common exception words.  This is so that, early on, they experience success and gain confidence that they are readers.  Re-reading and discussing these books with the teacher support their increasingly fluent decoding. 

Embedding the alphabetic code early on means that pupils quickly learn to write simple words and sentences.  We encourage them to compose each sentence aloud until they are confident to write independently.  We make sure they write every day. 

Pupils write at the level of their spelling knowledge, that is, they use their knowledge of the alphabetic code and the tricky words they have learned.  They can soon spell more complex words confidently and accurately.  The quality of the vocabulary they use in their writing reflects the language they have heard in the books the teacher has read them; they also discussed what the words mean.


For those children who need a progressive pre-phonics pathway, we have aligned RWInc with the Engagement model

Pre-Phonics Curriculum

Entry: Engagement Model Pupils

Exit: First 5 phonemes from Set 1 embedded and seen 3 times in different sessions.

Setting aside specific times each day is regarded as being inappropriate for PMLD pupils as they invariably have great difficulties maintaining concentration and attention. More realistically and effectively they should be immersed in on-going, multi-sensory experiences to foster emergent literacy skills and awareness through all aspects of their daily routines and work. Guided by an application of early childhood development plus an understanding of how their learning is affected by their disabilities we can offer the experiences which are the foundation of early learning for all developmentally young pupils.

All pupils must experience and retain a series of pre-requisites to learning in order to move on to develop recognised skills in literacy. These pre-requisites include self-awareness, a sense of rhythm, pattern and order and communication skills.

For most of our PMLD pupils gaining these requisites will be a continuous process throughout their time at school. In terms of progression we recognise that the usual hierarchical model is not realistic for PMLD pupils – a more appropriate one is horizontal. These pupils move on in very small steps – some of which are imperceptible to those who do not know them well and once achieved these steps are easily lost without continuous reinforcement. As most of these pupils will not move beyond this requisite stage we must be skilled at presenting the same learning goal in different ways. We also recognise that some pupils may regress and lose skills or need to redevelop skills previously learned.




Intro to RWI

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