Water Leys

Primary School






At Water Leys Primary School we use the Read Write Inc Phonics Programme to give our children the best possible start in their reading journey.  The phonics programme enables all children to learn to read whilst also developing a wide range of vocabulary and encouraging a love of stories.  Your child starts the Scheme as soon as they begin school focusing first on learning Set 1 sounds.  They start by learning one way to read the 40+ sounds and blend these sounds into words. Once this is secure, they learn to read the same sounds with alternative graphemes.


Set 1 Speed Sounds

Most of the Set 1 sounds are made up of just a single letter making a sound.  The sounds 'sh', 'th', 'ch', 'qu' 'nk' and 'ng' are made up of 2 letters to represent just one sound.  When 2 or more letters make up a sound we call these 'special friends'. 

The chart below shows the Set 1 sounds:  


The children learn to say 'pure sounds'.   Accurate articulation of pure sounds is vital.  The video below demonstrates how to say these sounds.  

How to Pronounce Pure Sounds

Learn how to pronounce all 44 phonics sounds used in the English language with these helpful examples.

As soon as the children begin to learn sounds, they start to practice the skills of blending.  To maximise their skills and application of their knowledge, children will read both real and ‘alien’ words.  Alien words are often also called nonsense words or pseudo words, for example words like 'plimp' or 'thill'.  They are a very efficient way to check if a pupil knows the sounds within the words and how to blend those sounds into words beyond those that they might store in their memory bank.


The video explains how letter sounds can be blended to read words, and gives tips on how to practise phonics with your child.

Set 2 Speed Sounds

Once your child has secured the Set 1 Sounds will then move on to learning Set 2 Speed Sounds.  There are 12 Set 2 'Speed Sounds' that are made up of two or three letters which represent just one sound ('Special Friends').  Eg 'ay' as in play, 'ee' as in tree and 'igh' as in high.  It is important that your child does not pronounce these as 2 or 3 separate sounds.  Set 2 sounds are below:      



Set 3 Speed Sounds

There are 20 Set 3 Speed Sounds that are made up of two or three letters which represent just one sound ('Special Friends') eg 'ea' as in tea, 'ow' as in cow and 'are' as in care.  As before, it is important that your child does not pronounce these as 2 or 3 separate sounds.  

Some of these are new sounds (eg 'ire' as in fire, whilst others are a different way of writing sounds they have already learnt eg 'ur' and 'er' from Set 3 are an alternative way of writing 'ir' that was taught in Set 2).  

Some of the sounds are presented as 'Special Split Friends' eg 'a-e' as in cake, 'i-e' as in nice and 'o-e' as in phone as the letters work together to make one sound but they are separated by another letter.  


Below shows the sounds which make up Set 3: 


Parent video: How to say the sounds

Parental Support 

Reading with your child is one of the key ways you can support your child at home.  Each week your child will bring home reading books to share with you.  Please encourage them to read and re-read these books over the course of the week.  On each read, your child should become more fluent with their reading. 


If you need any help with reading with your child, please speak to your child's class teacher, who will be happy to offer support.