Our school day is 8:45am - 3:15pm (3:20pm for Years 5 and 6). School clubs finish at 4:20pm Wrap around care is available from 7:30am - 5:30pm Monday to Thursday and until 4:20pm Friday , please contact Henshaw Nursery for further information. Year 3 and 4 swimming lessons start in Summer 1

Early Reading at Henshaw Primary School

Reading and Phonics

Read Write Inc - Learning to read: Reception, Year 1 and Year 2

At Henshaw Church of England Primary School, we use a synthetic phonics programme called Read, Write, Inc. produced by Ruth Miskin.  Read, Write, Inc. is a method of learning centred around letter sounds and phonics, blending sounds together to read and spell words and applying these skills across the curriculum. Using Read, Write, Inc.  the  children learn to  read  fluently so  that  they can  put  all  their  energy into comprehending what they read. It also allows them to spell effortlessly so that they can focus on composing what they write.

The children are assessed and grouped according to their ability and they work with a teacher or teaching assistant on the Read Write Inc programme. The children are continuously assessed by the Read, Write, Inc. Leader, to ensure that they move through the programme at a good pace. Every 6-8 weeks, all children are assessed and are regrouped according to their phonic knowledge and fluency when reading.

Read, Write, Inc. lessons include reading and writing activities, allowing the children to apply their phonic skills to both.


The children will:

  •         Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts.
  •         Learn to read words using sound blending (Fred talk).
  •         Read lively stories featuring words they have learnt to sound out.
  •         Show that they comprehend the stories by answering ‘Find It’ and ‘Prove It’ discussion questions.



The children will:

  •         Learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds.
  •         Learn to write words by saying the sounds and graphemes (Fred fingers).
  •         Learn to say and write simple then more complex sentences.
  •         Compose stories based on picture strips.
  •         Compose a range of texts using discussion prompts.


Speaking and Listening- Partner work

Children are assessed so they work with children at the same level, in small groups. This ensures that all children are given the opportunity to participate in lessons.

The children work in pairs to:

  •         Answer every question.
  •         Practise reading with a partner.
  •         Take turns in talking to each other.
  •         Give positive praise.


Phonics Screening Check

In Key Stage 1, the children are assessed at the end of Year 1 using a Government Statutory Assessment Tool known as the Phonics Screening Check. This screening check confirms whether the child has learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard and will identify sounds needing further consolidation in Year 2.  The children are assessed one to one by the reading leader, who is a familiar adult to the children.


Parent Workshops

Throughout the school year, we hold meetings and workshops to support parents/carers with phonics and reading at home.   These sessions will be both informative and practical, with some creative sessions including the children, making resources that can be used at home.

We had some great feedback from our most recent phonics and reading workshop for the parents/carers of our Year 1 and 2 children.  Thank you to all parents/carers that attended, we hope you found it really useful in supporting your children at home.

Read, Write, Inc. Lessons


We begin by teaching the children set 1 sounds.  Children can start blending sounds into words as soon as they know a small group of letters well. Once the children have been taught the first 5 sounds (m, a, s, d, t), they are then taught assisted blending using the sounds that they know.  During lessons children are taught to hear sounds and blend them together in sequence to make a word.  We start with blending oral sounds, then progress to reading the letters and blending them together to read the word.

Order of teaching sounds

In Read Write Inc phonics the individual sounds are called ‘speed sounds’ –  because we want your child to read them effortlessly.  Set 1 sounds are the single letter sounds and set 1 special friend sounds. They are taught in the following order;

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, qu, x, ng, nk.

There are 12 Set 2 ‘speed sounds’ that are made up of two or three letters which represent just one sound, e.g.  ay as in play, ee as in tree and igh as in high.  These are ‘special friend’ sounds.

When children are taught Set 2 sounds they will learn:

  • a simple picture prompt linked to the sound
  • a short phrase to say e.g. may I play
  • the letters that represent a sound (special friends) e.g. ay

Each sound has a list of green words linked to it, so that the children have the opportunity to sound out and blend words containing the new sound they have been taught, for example, s-p-r-ay = spray.

When learning Set 3 speed sounds the children will be taught alternative sounds/graphemes, e.g. ee as in tree and ea as in tea.

 Nonsense words (Alien words) 

As children build up their knowledge of sounds they are able to apply their decoding skills to any unfamiliar word, whether it be real or nonsense.  During lessons each day children will practice their decoding skills by sounding out nonsense words.  Children are unable to rely on existing knowledge of real words, and instead have to use their letter-sound knowledge. This is an important part of the Phonics Screening Check that the children complete at the end of year 1.

Learning to blend and Ditty Books

As soon as children have been taught a few initial letter sounds they begin to learn to blend the sounds together to read real words in a Word Time session.  Each word time session involves oral blending of known sounds before they are shown the words written down on green cards.  Children practice Fred talking the words until they become able to read them on sight.  Ditty lessons follow on from this where children who are becoming excellent at reading single words are introduced to reading short sentences.  Once children are confident reading the short sentences they are challenged to use their developing phonic knowledge to write a sentence.

Storybook Lessons 

After ditty books, the next stage is storybooks. These books are closely matched to their developing phonic knowledge.  The storybooks consist of green words linked to the sounds that they have been learning, red words and challenge words to extend the children’s vocabulary.  After children have practiced these words individually they are prepared to see them in context in the story.

Comprehension activities, partner discussion and writing activities based on the book, follow on from reading.

Reading into writing

Each story book follows a three or five day plan.

Writing activities include;

  • ‘Hold a sentence’ which encourages the children to remember a whole sentence while focusing on spelling and punctuation
  • ‘Build a sentence’ which gives the children the opportunity to create their own sentence to that shows the meaning of a word
  • ‘Edit a sentence’ which allows the children to critique a sentence using their knowledge of spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Children then complete a longer piece of independent writing, which gives them the opportunity to show off their creativity and to practice their spelling, grammar and punctuation.

At Henshaw CE Primary School, we use ‘Read, Write, Inc.’ scheme as a basis for our Phonics teaching. Details of these, as well as useful resources to support pupils’ phonics learning, can be found here: