At St John Vianney we strive to teach children to read effectively and quickly using the Read Write Inc. Phonics (RWI) programme from when our children start with us in EYFS. This includes teaching synthetic phonics, sight vocabulary, decoding and encoding words as well as spelling and accurate letter formation.

We passionately believe that teaching children to read and write independently are the core purposes of our school. These fundamental skills not only hold the keys to the rest of the curriculum, but also have a huge impact on children’s self-esteem and future life chances. With reading at the heart of our curriculum, we believe that we are providing our children with the tools to develop a love of reading and ultimately be independent and inquisitive learners.

Using the RWI phonics program we teach children to:

  • Read accurately, fluently and with good understanding
  • Develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • Write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences

Children learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and are taught how to blend these sounds to decode (read) words. We start by teaching children to read and blend the first thirty Set 1 sounds. Once they have conquered this skill, they start reading stories and texts that have words made up of the sounds they know. This means that they can embed and apply their phonic knowledge and start to build their reading fluency. Once secure, children learn Set 2 and Set 3 sounds and then read texts with increasingly more complex sounds and graphemes. Throughout this process there is a focus on comprehension, reading with expression and reading for enjoyment.

Children are taught in small groups which reflect their phonic knowledge and reading fluency. We regularly assess children so that they are taught in a RWI group which matches their phonic knowledge. We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ability to read ‘tricky words’; so they experience early reading success and gain confidence that they are readers.


The use of a synthetic phonics programme gives children a flying start with their reading, writing and spelling. It is an effective tool to ensure children ‘keep-up’ rather than ‘catch-up.’ The development of children’s phonic knowledge is embedded to also support a child’s writing skills. With regular assessments, we ensure we meet the needs of all pupils. The progress of each child is closely monitored and tracked and parents/carers are regularly updated in regards to their child’s learning. This results in a high percentage of children meeting or exceeding the Early Learning Goal for Reading at the end of Reception and the Phonic Screening Check in Year One. We are proud to say that every child at St John Vianney can read.

How can you help at home?
  • Read to them and always discuss the story you are reading to try to build your child’s comprehension skills, inference and understanding.
  • Practice the sounds they know at home. These are the sounds in the Speed Sound Chart at the start of the storybooks.
  • Listen to your child read, both their RWI storybook and other storybooks, every day. Make sure that your child brings their RWI Storybook into school every day!
  • Talk to them! The most important thing you can do is to talk to your child and listen to them when they are talking to you. Try to extend their vocabulary range and their skill at talking in increasingly more complex sentences. For example, try to teach them alternative words for ideas, or nouns they already know.
  • Look out for our RWI Workshops, where you can find out about how we teach phonics at St John Vianney so that you are best placed to support your child’s reading journey
  • Make sure that they attend school every day, and that they are on time, as this will help your child to make the most progress.
  • Visit the Parents section of the RWI website: RWI – Parents’ Portal for more tips, techniques, videos and helpful hints
  • Visit the Oxford Owl Reading at home pages: Oxford Owl Reading at home for additional information.
Where can I find out more about RWI?

The official Read Write Inc. website provides all the information you need to support your child through the programme.

The Oxford Owl website provides guides for parents.

Mrs Willingham - Set 1 Speed Sounds Lesson for Nursery
Nursery – Continuous Provision Activities & Application of Sounds
Mrs Dickinson - Set 1 Speed Sounds Lesson
Miss Bridge - Set 2 Speed Sounds Lesson
Miss Bridge - Story Green Words

Parent Information Video

Click Here
Set 1 Words
Set 2 Words
Set 3 Words
Speedy Green Words
Red Words
RWI Letter Formation
How you can support your child at home