Read Write Inc

Preston Tower Primary School

Overview of ‘Read Write Inc.’



Phonics is a highly effective way of teaching reading and spelling.  It is based on the link between sounds (phonemes) and the way we write them down (graphemes).

Although there are 26 letters in our alphabet, there are approximately 44 sounds (phonemes) that make up the English language.  To complicate matters further, there are over 100 different ways of representing those sounds in writing (graphemes). There can often be several ways of writing one particular sound.

For example:

Grapheme Example
‘a’ as in apron
‘ay’ as in day
‘a    e’


as in cave
‘ai’ as in rain
‘ei’ as in vein
‘ey’ as in obey
‘aigh’ as in straight
‘eigh’ as in sleigh

Graphemes can have 1, 2, 3, or 4 letters. Each word always contains the same number of sounds and graphemes…

i-n     contains 2 sounds and 2 graphemes

c-a-t    contains 3 sounds and 3 graphemes

ch-a-t    contains 3 sounds and 3 graphemes

l-igh-t    contains 3 sounds and 3 graphemes

c-r-a-sh    contains 4 sounds and 4 graphemes

s-t-r-ee-t    contains 5 sounds and 5 graphemes


Read Write Inc. Phonics

We have put together the following information to provide you with an overview of the phonics programme your child is using to improve their reading and writing skills.

The programme has three main elements:

  1. Speed Sounds Sets 1, 2 and 3


  • learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups
  • learn to read words using sound blending
  • learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds
  • learn to write words by saying the sounds and writing the letter/letter groups, that represent that sound


  1. Storybooks – The sounds required to read each Storybook are taught before the story is read.


  • read stories featuring words they have learned to sound out
  • show that they understand the stories by answering ‘Find It’ and ‘Prove It’ discussion questions


  1. Get Writing! books

The Get Writing! books help children use their phonic knowledge to:

  • write simple sentences
  • compose stories based on picture strips
  • compose a range of texts using discussion prompts


Read Write Inc. Speed Sounds
Set 1 m  a  s  d  t  i  n  p  g  o  c

k  u  b  f  e  l  h  sh  r  j  v  y

w  th  z  ch  q  x  ng  nk

Set 2 ay  ee  igh  ow  oo  ar

or  air  ir  ou  oy

Set 3 ee  ea  oy  oi  ay  a-e  igh  i-e  ow  o-e  oo  u-e

or  aw  air  are  ir  ur  er  ou  ow  ai  oa  ew

ire  ear  ure

tion  cious  tious

Letter names and sounds

When using the Read Write Inc. programme we make a very clear distinction between a letter’s name ie, ‘ay’ for ‘a’, ‘bee’ for ‘b’ etc (as you would use when singing the Alphabet Song), and the sound the letter makes; ‘a’ as in sad, ‘b’ as in bat.

We talk about ‘pure sounds’ with the children, encouraging them not to say ‘i’ after the sounds; ‘f’ not ‘fi’, ‘l’ not ‘li’, ‘m’ not ‘mi’, ‘n’ not ‘ni’ etc.

So, children should be able to sound-blend; ‘m’ ‘a’ ‘n’ = man  (not ‘mi’ ‘a’ ‘ni’)

Supporting your child

When supporting your child at home, it is important to encourage them to use their knowledge of sounds to spell and not to use the letter names.

For example:

sprain = s-p-r-ai-n    and not   ‘es’-‘pee’-‘ar’-‘ay’-‘eye’-‘en’

joy = j-oy    and not    ‘jay’-‘oh’-‘wy’


Other ideas for home:

  • I spy
  • Hangman
  • Spot the phoneme
  • Read books on a daily basis
  • Odd one out
  • Explore for top tips to help your child with their reading, phonic pronunciation help and fun activities to do with your child

We hope you find this information useful.  Please don’t hesitate to contact the Additional Support Needs team, via the school office, if you would like any further information.

Lorraine Sevestre and Mary Beattie.


Information taken from: Read Write Inc. Phonics, Speed Sounds Lesson Plans, Oxford University Press.

Read, Write, Inc Speed Sounds

Examples in words

Set 1

m       a        s        d        t         i         n        p        g        o          c

k        u        b        f         e        l         h        r         j         v          y

w       z        q        x

sh – (shop)      th – (this)         ch – (chip)     ng – (sing)        nk – (sink)


Set 2

ay      –         (play)                    ee      –        (seem)

igh     –         (high)                    ow     –        (blow)

oo     –         (look)                    ar      –         (park)

or      –         (fork)                    air      –         (hair)

ir        –         (girl)                      ou     –         (loud)

oy      –         (boy)


Set 3

ee      –         (green)                 ea      –         (clean)

oy      –         (enjoy)                  oi       –         (coin)

ay      –         (spray)                  a – e  –         (make)

igh     –         (night)                  i – e    –         (like)

ow     –         (snow)                  o – e  –         (home)

oo     –         (spoon)                u – e  –         (tune)

or      –         (short)                  aw     –         (saw)

air      –         (stair)                    are    –         (share)

ir        –         (bird)                    ur      –         (burn)

er      –         (after)

ou     –         (mouth)               ow     –         (brown)

ai       –         (train)

oa      –         (coat)

ew     –         (new)

ire     –         (fire)

ear    –         (hear)

ure    –         (pure)

tion   –         (attention)

cious –         (delicious)

tious –         (scrumptious)