Birchills Church of England Community Academy

Year 1


Year 1 Newsletters

Important Information


Our pupils learn to read and write effectively and quickly using the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme.

 We teach pupils to:

  • decode letter-sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly, using their phonic knowledge and skills
  • read ‘tricky’ words on sight
  • understand what they read
  • read aloud with fluency and expression
  • write confidently, with a strong focus on vocabulary and grammar
  • spell quickly and easily by segmenting the sounds in words
  • acquire good handwriting

In addition, we teach pupils to work effectively with a partner to explain and consolidate what they are learning. This provides the teacher with opportunities to assess learning and to pick up on difficulties, such as pupils’ poor articulation, or problems with blending or alphabetic code knowledge.

We group pupils homogeneously, according to their progress in reading rather than their writing. This is because it is known that pupils’ progress in writing will lag behind progress in reading, especially for those whose motor skills are less well developed.

In Year R we emphasise the alphabetic code. The pupils rapidly learn sounds and the letter or groups of letters they need to represent them. Simple mnemonics help them to grasp this quickly. This is especially useful for pupils at risk of making slower progress. This learning is consolidated daily. Pupils have frequent practice in reading high frequency words with irregular spellings – ‘tricky words’.

We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and the ‘tricky words’. This is so that, early on, they experience success and gain confidence that they are readers. Re-reading and discussing these books with the teacher supports their increasingly fluent decoding.

Embedding the alphabetic code early on means that pupils quickly learn to write simple words and sentences. We encourage them to compose each sentence aloud until they are confident to write independently. We make sure they write every day.

Pupils write at the level of their spelling knowledge, that is, they use their knowledge of the alphabetic code and the tricky words they have learnt. They can soon spell more complex words confidently and accurately. The quality of the vocabulary they use in their writing reflects the language they have heard in the books the teacher has read to them; they have also discussed what the words mean.

Our aim is for pupils to complete the phonics programme as quickly as possible. The sooner they complete it, the sooner they will be able to choose books to read at their own interest and comprehension level.

Children are assessed half termly and groups are adjusted accordingly.

Sounds are taught in 3 phases.

Set 1 : initial sounds – sounds are taught in groups.

Set 2 : sounds where 2/3 letters make 1 sound. 

Set 3 : children discover new ways to read and spell the set 2 sounds.

Children are introduced to a character called “Fred”.

Fred knows that there are 44 sounds in our language and that these sounds must be pure in order to blend them into words.

For example:


c-a-t       cat             b-l-a-ck      black


l-oo-k     look            d-r-ea-m    dream

When children are reading RWI books in school, they will bring home paper versions to read at home.

When children learn a new sound, they are sent practise sheets to bring home and work together with parents to help consolidate their knowledge.  

 Towards the end of Year 1, children will sit the Phonic Screening Check test. Children must be able to de-code real and nonsense words containing all 44 sounds, the words are randomly generated to test children on their phonic knowledge.


Parents can generate their own copies of screening checks on

Children will receive a practise Phonics Check sheet for homework each week from Spring term onwards.

For any further information on RWI, please go to :


 RWI information.pdfDownload
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