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Phonics at Rowan Park School


“Synthetic Phonics offers the vast majority of young children the best and most direct route to becoming skilled readers and writings”

Rose Review of Reading 2006


At Rowan Park School, early reading is taught using synthetic phonics as the main approach to reading. Pupils are systematically taught the phonemes (sounds), how to blend the sounds all through the word for reading, and how to segment the sounds in order to write the words. They are taught to use their phonic skills and knowledge as their first approach to reading, but are also taught high frequency words which do not completely follow the phonic rules.


Our School use the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme to give children the best possible start with their literacy skills. RWI is a method of learning centred round letter sounds and phonics, and we use it to aid children in their reading and writing. For some pupils it is appropriate for we also use the government published programme “Letters and Sounds” which supports us in providing a multi-sensory approach to learning phonics. Both schemes complement each other and can be taught as a whole class, in small groups or as individual on 1:1.


Read Write Inc

When using RWI to read our pupils will:

  • learn that sounds are represented by written letters
  • learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts
  • learn how to blend sounds
  • learn to read words using Fred Talk (A frog puppet called Fred. Classes do have their own puppet and can name him/her something different)
  • read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out
  • show that they comprehend the stories by answering questions.


When using RWI to write our pupils will:

  • learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent 44 sounds.
  • learn to write words by saying the sounds in Fred Talk (or class puppet)
  • write simple sentences



Letters and Sounds

There are Seven aspects and Three strands withing Letter and Sounds:

Phase One activities are arranged under the following seven aspects.

■ Aspect 1: General sound discrimination – environmental sounds

■ Aspect 2: General sound discrimination – instrumental sounds

■ Aspect 3: General sound discrimination – body percussion

■ Aspect 4: Rhythm and rhyme

■ Aspect 5: Alliteration

■ Aspect 6: Voice sounds

■ Aspect 7: Oral blending and segmenting


While there is considerable overlap between these aspects, the overarching aim is for children to experience regular, planned opportunities to listen carefully and communicate extensively what they hear, see and do.


Each aspect is divided into three strands:

■ Tuning into sounds (auditory discrimination)

■ Listening and remembering sounds (auditory memory and sequencing)

■ Communicating about sounds (developing vocabulary and language comprehension).


Activities within the seven aspects are designed to help children:

1. listen attentively;

2. enlarge their vocabulary;

3. Communicate confidently to adults and other children;

4. discriminate phonemes;

5. reproduce audibly the phonemes they hear, in order, all through the word;

6. use sound-talk to segment words into phonemes