Birkbeck Primary School


Children who read regularly or are read to regularly have the opportunity to open the doors to so many different worlds! More importantly, reading will give your child the tools to become independent life-long learners.

We can achieve this together through:

  • Read Write Inc, a program to help to your child read at school
  • Encouraging children to develop a love of books by reading to them daily, at home and at school
  • Giving children access to a wide range of books at school and at home


At Birkbeck we use Read Write Inc Phonics (RWI) to give your child the best possible start with their literacy. 

What is Read Write Inc?

Read Write Inc (RWI) is a phonics complete literacy programme which helps all children learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling.  The programme is designed for children aged 4-7. However, at Birkbeck we will continue teaching RWI to children beyond the age of 7 if they still need support in their reading.

Read Write Inc. was developed by Ruth Miskin, who is one of the UK’s leading authorities on teaching children to read. More information on this can be found here

How will RWI be taught?

All children are assessed regularly by our RWI lead teacher so they work with children at the same level. This allows complete participation in lessons.

At the start of each new term children in Early Years, as well as in Year 1 and Year 2, are assessed to help identify whether a child has gaps (or children who are surging ahead) in their knowledge of phonics.  Reception, Year 1 and some Year 2 children are assigned to their own small group for regular reading sessions with a trained member of staff using Read Write Inc. methods.  These groups are organised according to their specific needs, and the specific sounds and letters are taught in fun and engaging ways.

Regular assessments help to identify children who are making consistent progress, who are then placed in a group where the books may be a bit more challenging.  Regular assessments also help identify children who may need extra help.  This is provided on a regular one to one basis.

A considerable amount of time and money has been invested in the training of teacher and teaching assistants alike.  The training is ongoing and led by Mrs Bilal, our English Leader and Mrs Lloyd, deputy head teacher.

Five key principles underpin the teaching in all Read Write Inc. sessions as taken from the Teacher Handbook:  

  1. Participation – As they are in small groups, children participate fully in every session. They are able to maintain high levels of concentration and they do not miss key elements of the teaching.
  2. Praise - Children work together as partners. They take turns to teach and praise each other. They are motivated by praise from their teachers and teaching assistants.
  3. Pace - Sessions never drag. The lively pace keeps every child fully engaged and on task.
  4. Purpose - Every instructor has been trained in Read Write Inc. methods. They know the purpose of each activity, and how it leads into the next.
  5. Passion - Instructors, too, become passionate about their teaching as they see the children enjoying the progress they are making.

During Reception, children take part in lots of phonic based activities through the day. In Key Stage 1, phonics is also revised and applied through handwriting and English. Children will learn sayings and actions with each sound. 

To learn how you can help at home, visit our RWI at home webpage

Phonics Screening Check 

What is the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check?  

At the end of Year 1, children will undertake a statutory phonics screening check. This short assessment is meant to show how well your child can use the phonics skills they’ve learned up to the end of Year 1, and to identify students who need extra phonics help. The Department for Education defines the checks as “short, light-touch assessments” that take about four to nine minutes to complete. There are 40 words in the screening check which children are asked to read on a one-to-one basis with their teacher. The check is made up of 'real words' (eg. 'mud') and 'non-words' (eg. 'splog') and children need to apply their phonic knowledge to read all words.

Preparation for the check takes place during the daily phonics session, but you can help your child at home by practising phonics on a regular basis. Here are some suggestions for activities:

  1. Fred Games are a fun way to practice the skill of oral blending throughout the day.
  2. Teach Your Monster to Read is a free website that supports learning to read at home.  The website requires registration, but is free to use.
  3. Phonics Play has some games that are free to play online.  Children have to sound out and blend words and decide whether they are alien words or real words.

For more information and suggestions on helping and supporting your child at home visit The School Run.

Past Papers:     2017     2018       2019