The story of Reading at Repton Manor Primary School

For an overview of how Reading is taught across the school at Repton Manor, please click here. 


"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go." Dr. Seuss. "Today a reader, tomorrow a leader." Margaret Fuller.

At Repton Manor Primary School, we believe that success in Reading has a direct impact upon progress in all other areas of the curriculum. We believe that it is crucial in developing children’s self-confidence and motivation and we believe that it is the key to independent learning. Therefore, Reading is given a high priority at Repton Manor Primary School. Our vision is for children to become confident, resilient, independent, enthusiastic readers who are reflective and who read with high levels of enjoyment, understanding and comprehension. We endeavour to promote an enjoyment of Reading and the understanding that Reading is a life-long skill which opens the door to a world of knowledge.

At Repton Manor Primary School, our children initially learn to read using the ‘Read Write Inc’ programme. They follow this programme from Year R and progress at their own rate through various groups, reading different levels of texts as they do so. Once they are confident, fluent readers, and are fluent with their phonic knowledge, they progress onto learning through Guided Reading lessons.

Working at greater depth in Reading

Children are assessed termly as working below, working at or working above the expectations for their year group. The following video demonstrates children in Year R, 1, 3 and 5 working above the expectations for their year group in Reading.

Read Write Inc

Reading is a complex skill with many components. At Repton Manor Primary School we have decided to teach Reading primarily through an exciting reading programme, called Read Write Inc, which has proven very successful in many schools around the country. The programme is a systematic, whole school approach which aims to develop children’s phonic knowledge and reading ability.

The main aim of Read Write Inc is to enable every child to become a confident and fluent reader by the time they leave primary school. In order to do this, children are grouped and taught at a level appropriate to their phonic ability. All of our teaching staff have been fully trained to deliver this programme and this means that we are able to teach every child in a smaller group for 45 minutes a day, at a level and speed which is just right for them. Because all children are learning with other children of a similar ability, they are able to access learning at a suitable pace and they are challenged appropriately. Subsequently, they become more confident and enthusiastic about their learning.

Below is a brief summary of the Read Write Inc programme (some is taken from to help you to further understand what it involves:

Who is Read Write Inc. for?

The Read Write Inc. programme is for primary school children who are learning to read. It is aimed to ensure that every child leaves primary school as a confident and fluent reader.
Using this method:

  • All children learn to read confidently and fluently.
  • All children are taught at a level and speed appropriate to them.
  • Older children with reading difficulties make fast progress.
  • Children with specific learning difficulties learn to read.
  • More able readers are challenged appropriately.

Why does it work?

Read Write Inc is a systematic and lively programme which is organised by the school for the benefit of our children. The children are grouped, according to their reading level, for 45 minutes each day and they are taught in small groups by the Teachers and Teaching Assistants in our school. Because of this grouping, children do not struggle because the work is too difficult and they do not get bored because the work is too easy. Any children who are struggling, or finding the work too easy, are quickly identified and regrouped if necessary, so that they receive extra support or challenge.

How and what do the children learn?


The children

  • Learn to read the 44 sounds and the corresponding letters / letter groups, using simple picture prompts.
  • Learn to read words using sound blending.
  • Read lively stories, which they can access because they feature words that they have already learned to sound out.
  • Discuss texts with adults and their peers.
  • Answer questions related to their story, to show their understanding.

Fred the Frog puppet plays an important role in our Read Write Inc lessons. Fred is only able to speak in sounds, not whole words. We call this Fred Talk. For example, Fred would say “m-a-t”, we would say “mat”. Fred talk helps children to read unfamiliar words by pronouncing each sound in the word one at a time. During lessons, children are taught to hear sounds and to blend them together in sequence to make a word. We start with blending oral sounds, then progress to reading the letter sounds and blending them together to read the word.

Order of teaching the sounds

In Year R, children are initially taught Set 1 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

Each sound is taught with a handwriting phrase to help the child learn how to form the letter.

Letter Handwriting phrase
m Maisy, mountain, mountain
a Round the apple, down the leaf
s Slither down the snake
d Round his bottom, up his tall neck, down to his feet
t Down the tower, across the tower
i Down the body, dot for the head
n Down Nobby and over his net
p Down the plait and over the pirates face
g Round her face, down her hair and give her a curl
o All around the orange
c Curl around the caterpillar
k Down the kangaroo’s body, tail and leg
u Down and under, up to the top and draw the puddle
b Down the laces to the heel, round the toe
f Down the stem and draw the leaves
e Lift off the top and scoop out the egg
l Down the long leg
h Down the head to the hooves and over his back
sh Slither down the snake, down the head to the hooves and over his back
r Down his back, then curl over his arm
j Down his body, curl and dot
v Down a wing, up a wing
y Down a horn up a horn and under his head
w Down, up, down, up
th Down the tower, across the tower, then down the horses head to the hooves and over his back
z Zig-zag-zig
ch Curl round the caterpillar, then go down the horse’s head to the hooves and over his back
qu Round her head, up past her earrings and down her hair
x Down the arm and leg and repeat the other side

Once children are secure and fluent with Set 1 sounds, they will progress to learning Set 2 sounds. There are 12 Set 2 ‘speed sounds’ that are made up of two or three letters which represent just one sound.

Sound Set 2 Speed Sound Rhyme Green words with that sound in
ay ay: may I play day play say may tray today
ee ee: what can you see? seen need sleep feel three green
igh igh: fly high might light sight night fright
ow ow: blow the snow snow flow know show blow
oo oo: poo at the zoo mood fool pool stool moon spoon
oo oo: look at a book took shook cook foot
ar ar: start the car bar park smart sharp car spark
or or: shut the door sort short worn horse sport fork

Once secure and fluent with their Set 2 sounds, children will progress to learning their Set 3 speed sounds. They will be taught that there are more ways in which the same sounds are written, for example, ee as in tree and ea as in tea.

Sound Set 3 Speed Sound Rhyme Green words with that sound in
a-e a-e: make a cake shake name same save brave late
ea ea: cup of tea neat real clean please dream
i-e i-e: nice smile hide shine white nice wide like
o-e o-e: phone home hope home rose spoke note those
u-e u-e: huge brute tune rude use June excuse
aw aw: yawn at dawn saw raw law straw dawn crawl
are are: care and share bare bare spare scare flare square
ur ur: nurse with a purse burn turn hurl burp slurp lurk
ow ow: brown cow howl down brown drown gown
oi oi: spoil the boy join coin voice choice noise
ai ai: snail in the rain paint train rain plain strain
e e: he me she we he me she we he
oa oa: goat in a boat toad road oak loaf throat toast
ew ew: chew the stew new knew flew blew crew newt
er er: better letter over never weather hamster after
ire ire: fire fire spire bonfire inspire conspire hire
ear oar: hear with your ear fear dear gear spear year
ure ure: sure it’s pure picture mixture adventure pure

Nonsense words (Alien words)

We also teach our children to apply their decoding skills to any unfamiliar word, be it real or nonsense. Children will practice their decoding skills by sounding out the letters in ‘Alien words.’ This means that they need to use their letter-sound knowledge in order to read the word, rather than reply on their existing knowledge of real words or sight recognition. This is an important part of the Phonics Screening Test which children complete at the end of Year 1.

The following websites have enjoyable games for your child to play to practice their reading of alien words:

Writing and Spelling

The children:

  • Learn to write the letters / letter groups which represent the 44 sounds.
  • Learn to write words by sounding them out.
  • Learn to build sentences orally, using adventurous vocabulary.
  • Start to write simple sentences, but develop onto writing more complex sentences by the end of the programme.


The children are assessed regularly so that they work with children at the same level. This encourages all children to take an active role in every lesson. The children work in pairs so that they:

  • Answer every question.
  • Practise every activity with their partner.
  • Take turns in talking to each other.

If you wish to find out more about Read Write Inc, please use the following link to access the website:

Guided Reading

When our children are confident in their understanding of synthetic phonics, and when they are able to read confidently and fluently at a level above that of the Read Write Inc programme, they are taught Reading through Guided Reading lessons. The focus of these sessions moves away from the decoding of words, and to a fuller understanding of what they are reading. They will also be learning to read silently.

The children are taught using an age appropriate text which has specific interest to the children. If possible, it is related to their current Topic. The children are often, but not always, grouped according to their ability and they are directed, by their class teacher, through specifically planned Reading activities based around the book. During the sessions, which may run as a carousel of activities, but may run as a whole class lesson, the children take part in a number of Reading activities, including;

  • Group reading sessions, with discussion based around the text.
  • Group and independent comprehension activities.
  • Group and independent reading tasks related to the text, e.g. finding information using information books, independent reading, cloze procedure, book reviews etc.

SPAG (spelling, punctuation and grammar) activities when supporting children’s reading (such as learning word classes, prefixes and suffixes) may also be integrated into Guided Reading Sessions.

In this way, the children are supported in the development of their vocabulary, and also the breadth of the books they read as it is important to introduce children to a range of text types they may not encounter by themselves.

Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

All children in Year 1, throughout the country, take part in a Phonics Screening Check during the same week in June. The Phonics Screening Check was introduced in 2012 to ensure that all children have the skills to decode and to read fluently by the end of Year 1. The check contains 40 words. Each child will sit one-to-one and read each word aloud to an adult. Children are able to complete the check at their own pace. The list of words that the children read is a combination of 20 real words and 20 pseudo words (nonsense/alien words). They will be asked to ‘sound out’ a word and blend the sounds together. The check is very similar to tasks that the children already complete during our Read Write Inc lessons.

You will be informed of your child’s Phonics Screening Check score towards the end of the summer term when the threshold mark is released. It is important to remember that all children are individuals and develop at different stages. The screening check will identify children who have phonic decoding skills below the level expected for the end of year 1 and who therefore need further support with decoding. Teachers will then be able to put effective support into place to ensure that these children are able to develop their decoding skills.

Home Reading Books

Our children are set the expectation, and given encouragement, to read each night at home, this does not have to be a whole book it can just be a few pages. We believe that this helps to build confidence, stamina and fluency, as well as to develop their experience of a range of books and authors.

We provide access to a wide range of books, including fiction and non-fiction texts, via the school Library, Read Write Inc books, class libraries and a progressive, structured book banded reading scheme.

All children are given a reading record to take home. They are also sent home with two books – one which is a reading book from an appropriate book band level and one which is a library book of their choice. Every class has a library slot each week when children can spend time engaging with the variety of books that our library has to offer and are given time to choose their new library book to take home and share with their families. In addition to this, the library is open to children on a daily basis at lunchtime.

Children’s individual reading is monitored by staff. To encourage regular reading at home, in Key Stage 1each day the children read they receive a sticker on their bookmark and in Key Stage 2 if children read every day for a week at home they are given a sticker on their reading bookmark. When children fill up a reading bookmark, they are able to claim a reading prize and this is celebrated in our weekly Star of the Week assembly.

Class Readers

As part of our schools Storytelling approach, our Literacy lessons often start with a story through which all of our lessons are linked. Often, this will be a verbal story. Our Teachers of all age groups regularly read aloud to their class throughout the school day in addition to this. This builds enthusiasm and enjoyment for a range of text types. It influences independent reading and tunes children in to book language, helping to enrich their language too.

Reading areas

As well as having access to the School library, children also have access to reading areas in their classrooms. Teachers work hard to ensure that these reading areas are linked to their current topic to make them an engaging and inviting area to read!

How can you support your child’s Reading?

To help your child further with their Reading, we ask parents to read every night at home with their child and to record this in their home-school contact book. We ask parents to encourage their child to read as many different types of text as possible (for example; traditional tales, stories from other cultures, poetry, newspapers, magazines, their favourite stories) and to discuss the stories with their child, explaining the meaning of new words where appropriate. We also want children to become confident storytellers, so parents should enjoy spending time with their children making up their own stories. We believe that it is fundamental that children understand the value of Reading in real-life contexts, so want parents to encourage children to read when out and about (for example; reading menus when visiting restaurants, reading signs, reading shop names). Most importantly, though, we ask parents to share with their child the fun that can be gained from reading and listening to stories.

If you would like more information about Reading at Repton Manor Primary School or you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Reading leaders, Emma Doody and Tom Hathaway-Batt.