Early Reading & Phonics

Phonics at Tattenhall Park 


Every child deserves success right from the start. We know that the sooner children learn to read, the greater their success at school. This is why we put reading at the heart of what we do. At Tattenhall, we provide a rich reading environment which is underpinned by quality first teaching of phonics; our children learn to listen, speak and discriminate between sounds and our carefully sequenced approach allows children to become confident in segmenting, blending, and decoding words throughout each phonics phase. By doing so, we aim to develop confident, fluent and passionate readers and writers from an early stage.


Tattenhall Park uses Read Write Inc by Oxford University Press to teach early phonics and reading. All children in Nursey, Reception, Year 1 and 2 take part in high quality, daily phonics lessons. Children in KS2, who need extra support, follow this programme too.

These fun sessions involve lots of speaking, listening and games where they emphasise on the children's participation. They learn to use their phonic knowledge for reading and writing. They develop an understanding that spoken words are made up of different sounds (phonemes) and they learn to match these phonemes to letters (graphemes).

Once children begin learning sounds they use this knowledge to read and spell words. Children can then see the purpose of learning sounds. For this reason, the first initial sounds that are taught following Read Write Inc are ‘m, a, s, d, t, i, n’. These can immediately be blended for reading to make simple CVC words (consonant, vowel, consonant) e.g. mat, sat, tin. Children then develop segmenting for writing skills; breaking the word into sounds to spell it out. 

Children are taught to segment and blend. 

Blending – Children blend phonemes together to make a word e.g. r-u-n run

Segmenting – Children split the word into sounds to help write it cat c-a-t. 

What are speed sounds? In Read Write Inc phonics the individual sounds are called ‘speed sounds’ – because we want your son/daughter to read them effortlessly.

Fred Talk

We use pure sounds (‘m’ not’ muh’,’s’ not ‘suh’, etc.) so that your child will be able to blend the sounds into words more easily. 


At school we use a puppet called Fred who is an expert on sounding out words! We call it, ‘Fred Talk’. E.g. m-o-p, c-a-t, m-a-n, sh-o-p, b-l-a-ck.

The following video is an example of blending sounds with Fred. 


The children are taught the sounds in 3 sets.

Step 1:

Set 1 Sounds are taught in the following order together with rhymes to help children form the letters correctly and instantly recognise sounds ready for blending.

Set 1




Maisie, mountain mountain 


Round the apple, down the leaf


Slither down the snake


Round his bottom, up his tall neck, and down to his feet 


Down the tower, across the tower


Down the body, dot for the head


Down Nobby and over his net


Down the plait and over the pirate's face


Round her face, down her hair and give her a curl


All around the orange


Curl around the caterpillar


Down the kangaroo's body, tail and leg


Down and under the umbrella, up to the top and down to the puddle


Down the laces, over the toe and touch the heel


Down the stem and draw the leaves


Lift off the top and scoop out the egg


Down the long leg


Down the head to the hooves and over his back


Shhhh says the horse to the hissing snake

Slither down the snake. Down the head to the hooves and over his back


Down his back, then curl over his arm


Down his body, curl and dot


Down a wing, up a wing


Down a horn, up a horn and under the yak's head.


Down, up, down, up


The princess in the tower is rescued by the horse

Down the tower, across the tower. Down the head to the hooves and over his back




The horse sneezes when the caterpillar's hairs get up his nose

Curl around the caterpillar. Down the head to the hooves and over his back


Round her head, up past her earrings and down her hair


Down the arm and leg and repeat on the other side


A thing on a string


I think I stink

Please do not use letter names at this early stage.

Children will also use pictures for each sound to help recognise the sound and then form the shape of the sound.

Step 2:

The children are then taught Set 2 Sounds - the long vowels. When they are very confident with all of set 1 and 2 they are taught Set 3 Sounds.

Long  vowel sound

Set 2 Speed Sound cards

Teach these first

Set 3 Speed Sound cards


ay: may I play

a-e: make a cake

ai: snail in the rain


ee: what can you see

ea: cup of tea

e: he me we she be


igh: fly high

i-e: nice smile


ow: blow the snow

o-e: phone home

ao: goat in a boat


oo: poo at the zoo

u-e: huge brute

ew: chew the stew


oo: look at a book


ar: start the car


or: shut the door

aw: yawn at dawn


air: that’s not fair

are: share and care


ir: whirl and twirl

ur: nurse for a purse

er: a better letter


ou: shout it out

ow: brown cow


oy: toy for a boy

oi: spoil the boy


ire: fire fire!


ear: hear with your ear


ure: sure it’s pure?

Nonsense words (Alien words)

As well as learning to read and blend real words children will have plenty of opportunities to apply their sound recognition skills on reading ‘Nonsense words’. These words will also feature heavily in the Year One Phonics Screening check in the summer term. 

Step 3:

Children will be introduced to ‘Ditty books’ when they successfully begin to read single words. The short vowels should be kept short and sharp:

Children use sound-blending (Fred Talk) to read short ditties. Children will then be challenged to use their developing phonic knowledge to write short sentences.

Within all the books children will have red and green words to learn to help them to become speedy readers. Red words are words that are not easily decodable and challenge words to extend children’s vocabulary. Green words are linked to the sounds they have been learning and are easily decodable.

Dots and dashes represent the sound each letter makes. Dots represent a single phoneme and a dash represents a digraph (two letters that make one sound) / trigraph (three letters that make one sound).

As the children progress through the sound sets, they will read books that consolidate and embed their ongoing phonological knowledge. The RWInc story books will be read during a phonics lesson or during guided reading. Each child will be sent home with a reading book that also matches their current phonological knowledge. 

Once the children have completed the phonics programme, they will continue to have daily reading lessons. We will follow 'Steps to Read', which builds reading fluency and works on developing comprehension skills. In Reception and KS1 children have daily Storytime. High quality texts are chosen to ensure that children a wide reading diet and a range of diverse themes are discussed. The sessions use the 'Talk Through Stories' structure suggested by Read Write Inc and early comprehension skills are developed through these carefully planned Storytime sessions. Please see 'Our Favourite Five' booklists attached below. 


For children to make the best possible progress, they will read Storybooks closely matched to their reading level, every day. This means we group children by their word reading and fluency – not by their progress in comprehension or writing, or by their age. Every half-term, we assess all children who are on the phonics programme. The Reading Leader carries out all the online assessments to ensure children are placed in the correct group. We track each child’s individual progress on the online assessment tracker. We use this to identify children who need more support through one-to-one tutoring.

We have high expectations for our children to meet the expected standard in the Phonic Screening Check and help all children to be accurate and fluent readers by the time they enter Key Stage 2.

Useful Websites

Phonics Play - https://www.phonicsplay.co.uk

Phonics Bloom - https://www.phonicsbloom.com

RWI - https://home.oxfordowl.co.uk/reading/reading-schemes-oxford-levels/read-write-inc-phonics-guide/

Cbeebies / Alphablocks - https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/shows/alphablocks

Teach your monster to read - https://www.teachyourmonstertoread.com

Oxford Owl - https://home.oxfordowl.co.uk

Scholastic - https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html

ICT games Literacy - https://www.ictgames.com/mobilePage/literacy.html

BBC Bitesize - https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/subjects/zgkw2hv

Online eBooks Library 


Oxford Owl have released their online reading scheme to support children at home. Phonic reading schemes are available here: 

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