Phonics at Brenzett School
What is phonics? Click here for more information
How we teach your children to read and write
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.
We use a teaching programme called Read Write Inc. Phonics to teach our children to read and write from the moment they start school in Year R. Some children complete the programme in Year 1 and others in Year 2. Children in Years 3-6 may also still be following this programme, and if they are, they will be receiving extra sessions to ensure they finish it quickly.
During this time, we group children by their reading progress for 15 minutes a day and re-assess children every half-term so we can place them in the group where they’ll make the most progress. We provide extra daily group or one-to-one sessions for children who need a bit of a boost to keep up.
Find out what's special about Read Write Inc Phonics here
How do we get children to remember what we teach them?
It’s much easier teaching one child – we can get them to repeat what they have understood in their own words, step by step. Then, if they haven’t understood, we can try different words and explanations. So, in order to replicate this back and forth dialogue with a group or class, we use partner work. Children answer every question with a partner, the teacher checks what they know and only moves on when they understand. It means that all children stay focused throughout the lesson. Partner talk is fundamental to the success of our school. We use, ‘Turn to your partner’ in every lesson throughout the day.
How do we make phonics easy for children to learn?
Read Write Inc. Phonics depends upon children learning to read and write sounds effortlessly, so we make it simple and fun.
The phonic knowledge is split into two parts.
First we teach them one way to read and write the 40+ sounds in English. We use pictures to help, for example we make ‘a’ into the shape of an apple, ‘f’ into the shape of a flower. These pictures help all children, especially slower-starters, to read the sounds easily.
Children learn to read words by sound-blending using a frog called Fred. Fred says the sounds and children help him blend the sounds to read each word.
Then we teach children the different spellings of the same sounds, for example, they learn that the sound ‘ay’ is written ay, a-e and ai; the sound ‘ee’ is written ee, e and ea. We use phrases to help them remember each sound for example, ay, may I play, a-e – make a cake?
How do we teach children to spell confidently?
We use just two simple activities: Fred Fingers to spell regular words and Red Rhythms for tricky words.
We teach children to spell using ‘Fred Fingers’: we say a word and then children pinch the sounds onto their fingers and write the word, sound by sound.
We teach tricky words with Red Rhythms. We say the tricky letters in a puzzled or annoyed voice and build the letter names up into a rhythm, for example, s-ai-d.
Children learn to spell new words and review past words every week, they practise spelling them with a partner and – when they’re ready – we give them a test to celebrate their spelling success.
How do we make writing simple for children to learn?
We teach handwriting, spelling and composition separately, gradually bringing each skill together step-by-step.
We teach children to form letters with the correct pencil grip and in the correct sitting position from the very beginning.
How can I help at home?
The simplest thing you can do to help at home is to read stories to your child, every day if possible. This video shows how enjoyable reading the same book over and over again can be!
While you're reading, ask questions, and share your opinions.
Talk to your child as much as possible and ‘feed’ them new and ambitious vocabulary.
“Let’s eat our lunch now.”
“Let’s munch our lunch now.”
“Let’s scoff our lunch now.”
“Let’s devour our lunch now!”
If you have a bit more time, take a look at some of the other videos on
so that you can support how your child is learning to read and spell.