Learning to Read

When our children join us at St Merryn School, we give them immediate access to the phonics system through systematic teaching that will enable them to develop quickly into confident, accurate and fluent readers. We use the Read Write Inc (RWI) Phonics Programme to give our children the best possible start in their reading journey.


What is RWI?

RWI is a phonics programme developed by Ruth Miskin to enable all children to learn to read whilst also developing a wide range of vocabulary and encouraging a love of stories.

Children experience success from the very beginning. 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. It is essential that the children learn to read pure sounds (follow the link below for additional information about supporting your child at home).


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, for example words like 'plimp' or 'thill'. They are a very efficient way to check if a pupil knows the sounds that the letters spell and how to blend those sounds into words.


Children begin their RWI journey on entry to Reception and follow a system whereby they are regularly assessed and grouped according to their progress until they have completed the programme. Within our RWI lessons, children read a wide range of lively phonic books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words. Along with a thought-provoking introduction, prompts for thinking out loud and discussion, children are helped to read with a storyteller’s voice.