QBS Curriculum

Early Reading and Phonics

Curriculum Statement

At Queen Berengaria, we passionately believe that teaching children to read and write independently, as quickly as possible, is one of the core purposes of a primary 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. Therefore, to achieve this we have adopted the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme (RWI) which includes teaching synthetic phonics, sight vocabulary, decoding and encoding words as well as spelling and accurate letter formation. Moreover, the RWI programme highlights aspects within the 2014 National Curriculum for English that are applicable to the early stages of the teaching of reading, which aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, 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


Here at Queen Berengaria, we aim to develop a love of reading, to provide a systematic phonics teaching programme that enables children to read rapidly and to give children opportunities to apply what they have learned across the curriculum.  We strive to teach children to read effectively and quickly using the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme (RWI) to enable our children to learn the letter sounds, decode and then read and write from Early Years up to Year 2. 

When using RWI to read the children 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
  • 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 the children will:

  • Learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent 44 sounds
  • Learn to write words by saying the sounds in Fred Talk to write simple sentences


Read, Write, Inc. Phonics is an inclusive literacy programme for all children learning to read. It is aimed at children reading within EYFS/KS1 and teaches synthetic phonics. Children learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and how to blend them to read and spell. The scheme includes both a reading and a writing focus. Reading is the key that unlocks the whole curriculum so the ability to efficiently decode is essential. The RWI sessions are expected to occur each day with no exceptions, as the continuity and pace of the programme is key to accelerating the progress of children’s reading development.

Delivery of Phonics

  • Initial sounds are to be taught in a specific order.
  • Sounds taught should be ‘pure’ i.e. ‘b’, not ‘buh’ as this is central to phonic teaching and ability to recognise sounds in words.
  • Blends are to be de-clustered. e.g. bl is two specific sounds.
  • Children are to be taught that the number of graphemes in a word always corresponds to the number of phonemes. This greatly aids spelling.
  • Set 2 sounds are to be taught after Set 1 (initial sounds)
  • Letter names are to be introduced with Set 3.


RWI lessons start immediately after the FS2 teachers have completed their Baseline Assessment. Children are organised into RWI Groups based on their phonic knowledge, ability to orally blend taught phonemes and read simple CVC words. This ensures the correct level of support, challenge and progression in the teaching of reading in FS2. Daily RWI lessons are taught every day and each lesson lasts for 30 minutes (08:10-08:40).

Key Stage One:

Daily KS1 RWI lessons commence at the start of the academic year; children are grouped by their phonic knowledge as well as their reading accuracy, fluency and comprehension. RWI is taught daily and each lesson lasts for 30 minutes (08:10-08:40).  

Key Stage Two:

RWI sessions will take the form of an interventions during the day, delivered by a dedicated RWI LSA, each child must access an intervention daily to ensure progress and consistency. 

RWI Lesson Structure

Both the Reception and KS1 RWI lessons start with a 10 minute phonics input session, where new sounds are taught, or previously taught sounds are reviewed. Pupils learn how to apply their grapheme/phoneme knowledge to read real simple words – initially sounding out these words and then progressing onto speedy reading of words – and also alien (pseudo) words. They also learn how to read irregular words and multisyllabic words. Following on from this, during the main part of the lesson, pupils are taught to read the regular and irregular words that are found in the RWI storybook that they are reading, and then they apply this knowledge to read RWI storybooks at their phonic level. Followed by an assessment of pupil’s phonics knowledge acquisition where they read alien/ pseudo words. The final part of the teaching sequence encourages pupils to write confidently, with a strong focus on vocabulary and grammar, spelling quickly and easily by segmenting the sounds in words and acquiring good handwriting.

Home Reading

To reinforce children’s classroom learning with reading at home, the children will take home the RWI Ditty book that they are working on in class.  This will allow the children to practise and consolidate their phonics and reading learning.  These Ditty books will be issued every Monday and will need to be returned every Friday.  Alongside this, they will take home one weekly supporting individual RWI Book Bag Book (class teachers will inform you which day they will be changed).  This ensures that the home reading books match the exact phonics phase that the children are working within.  To continue to help children develop their love of literature and reading for enjoyment they will also take home a library book of choice each week.

Ensuring reading for pleasure

‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)

We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.

  • We read to children throughout the day in both designated story time sessions and in subject specific lessons. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at our school our, local community and educational purposes as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.
  • Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books.
  • In FS2, children have access to the reading corner every day in their free flow time and the books are continually refreshed to reflect the children’s interest and passions.
  • All children have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school.
  • As the children progress through the school, they are encouraged to write their own comments and keep a list of the books/authors that they have read.
  • The school library is made available for classes to use. Children across the school have regular opportunities to engage with a wide range of Reading for Pleasure events (author visits and workshops, national events etc).


Assessment and Recording

Daily formative assessment is built into every RWI session to see how the children:

  • read the grapheme chart
  • read the green and red word lists
  • decode the ditty story book
  • comprehend the story

Choral response group work, partner work, the small class size allows teachers to evaluate pupils’ phonic knowledge and reading ability to modify the pace and focus of their lessons. 

Formal RWI assessments (summative assessment) are carried out every half term, or more frequently for those making speedier progress, using RWI Assessment materials. The assessment is conducted by class teachers to assess a pupils’ sound to grapheme correspondence, ability to apply phonic knowledge to decode regular words and to read common exception words. Pupils reading fluency is also evaluated. The Phonics and Early Reading Leader will carry out RWI assessment moderation to ensure that teachers are making consistent judgments. Pupils’ progress is tracked, to record their phonic knowledge and decoding skills, and this information is used to reorganise groups, RWI Storybook level and the focus of the phonics input of the lesson. Following the analysis of assessment data, there may be occasions where a pupil will need to revisit a phase of phonics to embed and further develop fluency and high-quality application at this stage.  In such cases, this will mean that there is a repetition of the school/home ditty books.  However, this is necessary as re-visiting prior learning enhances and builds the improved fluency required for further progression.  Should a pupil continue to remain on the same level for two assessment cycles, a pupil review would take place to consider any additional requirements.

Statutory assessment – Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.

Here at Queen Berengaria, we also us the PM to accurately track and assess pupils’ reading progress to ensure consistent and accurate levelling in reading.

By focussing on the teaching of reading in the Early Years and KS1, using a synthetic phonics scheme, children learn to read unfamiliar printed words by blending (decoding) and speedily recognise familiar printed words by sight. We want all children to enjoy and experience early success in learning to read. We are committed to developing children’s love of reading and to help them to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. 

Parent Booklet 1

Parent Booklet 2