At Westlands Primary School we use the Read, Write, Inc (RWI) programme to get children off to a flying start with Reading. This leaflet is designed to offer information about how you can help with your child’s reading development at home.

RWI is a phonic based approach to teaching reading. It involves children learning to read sounds and how to blend them together to read words.

RWI is a successful reading programme that enables children to become fluent readers. It aims to teach all children to read at a pace that they are comfortable with.

The children learn 44 sounds (speed sounds). These are the letter sounds and not the letter names. The speed sounds are divided into small groups. Once your child has learnt all of the sounds in one group, they can move on to sounds blending the letters that group to read words.

For example, once your child has learnt to read the first 5 sounds: m a s d t they can then start to read words that include these sounds such as mat, sat, sad, mad, at etc.

Your child will then learn the next five sounds and be able to read words with a combination of the ten sounds.


How can I use RWI at home?

1. Help your child to learn the speed sounds

(Please avoid using letter names with early readers)

2. Help your child learn to read words by sound blending (we call this Fred Talk in school)

3. Help your child read short sentences

4. Read their story books with them at home


Alien Words

As part of the programme children will be introduced to ‘alien words’ . These are nonsense words. The children have to use their phonic knowledge to sound out the words and then blend the sounds together to read. It is important that the children say the word they hear rather than try to turn it into a real word.


Types of sounds

Pure sounds

When teaching the speed sounds it is very important that you do not add an intrusive ‘uh’ to the end of the consonant sound. Try to pronounce them as pure sounds ‘mmmmmm’ not ‘muh, ‘fffff’ not ‘fuh’ and ‘llllllll’ not ‘fuh’.

This can be quite difficult to begin with but by ensuring the pure sounds are pronounced, your child will find it much easier to blend the sounds to make words.

There is a video that demonstrates this on youtube: search for Read Write In Pronunciation.

Bouncy and Stretchy sounds

To help your child remember his or her sounds we say that some make a stretchy sound and some make a bouncy sound.

Stretchy sounds are said in one continuous sound, e.g. mmmmmmmm as in mountain

Bouncy sounds are said with a short sharp gap in between e.g d-d-d-d dinosaur

Sound blends

Your child is ready to sound blend once they have learnt the first set of sounds and can say these in and out of order. In school we call this Fred Talk.

Fred talk involved reading the sounds within a word for example c-a-t and then blending them together to read the word.


Red and Green Words

Green Words

Green words are words that your child will be able to sound out and then blend the sounds together, using the speed sounds they have learnt.

Your child will be able to read a book more easily if they practise reading these words first.

Red Words

Red words are those words which contain spelling patterns that cannot be sounded out . Some of the most frequently used words in the English language have an uncommon spelling pattern and don’t sound like they look, for example, said sounds like ‘sed’.

Red words have to be learnt by sight. These words are printed in red in the story books. Learning to read the red words is a very important part of reading and one which you can help your child with at home.

There is a list of red words in this leaflet for you to practise with your child. A good way to do this is to put them onto small pieces of paper and  use them as flash cards. When you hold up the word your child should be able to say the word. Please remember you cannot sound out all of the sounds in these words.


Red Words

Remember these words cannot be completely sounded out—they must be learnt by sight! If you have any questions about this information please contact your class teacher.